While they aren’t always dynamic in their production quality, one thing you can always be assured of in a Lifetime TV film is either drama and of course, romance (sometimes both!). The Princess and the Marine is a dramatization of a story that captured the world in the 90s.
The Princess and the Marine (2001) Lifetime TV Film Review
Stifled and imprisoned is how Meriam (Marisol Nichols) starts to feel. She may be a royal living in a beautiful house in Arabia with more freedom than her country usually allows women, but learning on the eve of her sister’s wedding that she too is to be promised triggers her. Frantic and not knowing what to do, she calls random numbers until she gets one that answers her call.
The following day she meets a trio of Marines, one of whom took her call, at the mall. Sneaking away from her friends, she spends the afternoon with them, where she begins to get to know Jason Johnson (Mark Paul-Gosselaar). Earnest and kind, Jason takes his role as a Marine seriously as he does his Mormon beliefs. He treat Meriam with respect, and despite the odds, the two spend more and more time together… all leading to a fate that may not be kind.
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To jump right in and look at this critically, this isn’t a great film. It has flaws in the production and doesn’t always have great powers of “showing” what’s going on in a explanatory fashion. Additionally, the script is way more juvenile (sometimes) than I anticipate, and some will see moral flaws(what movie doesn’t?) here too. Perhaps the former is to help reinforce the immaturity of the characters or their confusion, but either way, it’s not grown up. Still, there’s some pretty moments and some of the scenery looks nice.
The cast is pretty good here. Marisol Nichols obviously is much more nuanced in her roles now, but she plays the confused teen fine. Mark is also good as a young marine who falls head over heels. Some will be bothered by the presumed age difference. Although I don’t think year wise it’s drastic, it’s just that Meriam would, by American standards, still be underage. One thing this has is all the romantic drama. It’s full of flowery things and “sweet” declarations and certainly has that Romeo and Juliet thing going for it. It’s a fine film to watch if you’re looking for something new, just not dynamic. I do appreciate how the story ends. While the overlay text informs on the real-life story (at the time), we could have done without that since the imagined end of Meriam’s realization is stronger on its own two feet.
You can find The Princess and the Marine digitally on Amazon Video; at publication, you can find it with Prime.
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Content: There is some minor innuendo about getting someone a girl and his comments of waiting for the right one. There’s one scene between a couple where she says she doesn’t know what to do. They lay down on the bed and kiss before the shot cuts away. The film is TV-PG.