Tuesday, 30 December 2014

[Let's Watch] Anastasia

Once upon a December, well, actually it was more like March by the time Anastasia hit UK cinemas way back in 1998, I think... I don't actually remember the dates, so we're going with the Wikipedia dates here. I do however, clearly remember a little me wandering into the old Odeon building with my mum. I'd have been six years old, and remember the amazement that despite being the only two people for that particular showing, the show still went on. We sat smack bang in the middle of the room with the giant screen looming over us, and it was glorious. So today, i'm going to share with you a film that I love, still to this day. A whopping sixteen years later!

Let's Watch

I watch Anastasia at least once every Winter, and I think tonight might just be the night I snuggle up in my PJ's and pop it in the DVD player. This is the film that made me, as a little girl, fall in love with cinema, film and the idea of one day visiting Russia. Anastasia is often confused as being a Disney film, but it's actually Fox animation. The story comes from that of a historical Russian princess, The Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. In reality*, Anastasia and her family were executed during the Russian Revolution. However, there were rumours that the Grand Duchess survived, and it inspired several films.


Fox's adaptation of the story is presented in a far less grizzly way, centered around the concept of exiled 'Holy Man' Rasputin placing a curse upon the entire family, of which only Anastasia and her Grandmother escaped alive, but not together. The Dowager Empress returned home to Paris, while the lost Duchess Anastasia, remained in a Russian orphanage with no memories, and nothing of her former life bar a necklace with the inscription 'Together in Paris', that had been her grandmothers last gift before the tragedy. 


When she leaves the orphanage aged 18, 'Anya' as she has been known, meets two conmen searching for an Anastasia look-a-like, in order to claim a very handsome reward offered by the Dowager Empress hoping to re-unite with her lost grand daughter. They offer to take Anya to Paris, so she accepts their offer as Paris is the only clue she has to her former life. Little do any of them know, they really are embarking upon a journey to re-unite the Dowager Empress, with the Grand Duchess Anastasia. A few mishaps and a few catchy songs later, it is slowly becoming clear to the conmen that they have genuinely found Anastasia, as she begins to recall moments from her life at the palace. But it's no longer quite as simple as re-uniting the lost family members anymore, as rumours of the conmen searching for a suitable imposter have reached Paris and the Empress has given up finding her grand daughter. Add to the mix that curse we mentioned earlier? Things begin to get a bit sticky.

Fox's Anastasia received it's fair share of negative reviews. Mainly from historians in regards to the many historical inaccuracies. As far as I know, they had no problems with the idea of curses and talking bats. Anastasia is a fictional film, a film with roots in real Russian history, and i'm pretty sure it's a childrens film, and the real story of Anastasia is something I don't really think parents would want younger children to see. 

The character of Anastasia herself is a firey, sassy, strong and independent woman, yet at the same time humble and feminine. Which for little six year old me seeing this for the first time, I like to think that's where I learnt my sass from. Now if only I could find a Dmitri somewhere, hmm? 

Sure the animation isn't as shiny as its Disney counterparts, but the soundtrack is absolute perfection. Once Upon A December, and Journey to the Past received nominations for awards, but for me A Rumour In St Petersburg, Learn To Do It, In The Dark of the Night and Paris Holds The Key to Her Heart are equally good. Yes, i'm aware I just listed half the soundtrack. Told you it was perfection, didn't I?

If it was a Disney film, Anastasia would hands down be my favourite princess. Well, she's a Grand Duchess... But from what I understand of the Imperial Russian monarchy... Anastasia is the equivalent of a princess. To this day I long for a music box of my own, like the one the Dowager Empress gave to Anastasia. If you need more proof that this movie is amazing, you should read this buzzfeed article, 25 Reasons 'Anastasia' is the best animated film ever. If you need more convincing, it's time for you to grab the popcorn and the internet and watch Anastasia with me tonight. :) 

What's your favourite childhood movie? I'd love to know.

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* Reality - My basic understanding of the history. May be slightly inaccurate.


  1. I love this film! Lovely post! x


    1. Thank you! I think it'll always be my favourite film!

      Ray xo <3