Film Review: Princess Cyd

Stephen Cone’s Princess Cyd is an alluring character study. The film offers something richer than a standard coming of age tale.

Teenager Cyd is sent to stay with her with her aunt Miranda in Chicago for a few weeks in the summer. Miranda is a successful author, and has not seen her niece in years. Cyd brings a boost of energy to Miranda’s quiet life…

Writer-director Stephen Cone has crafted a charming film with Princess Cyd. What could have been a derivative teenage drama turns into something much more textured and rewarding. The two central characters are skilfully developed, and their relationship is conveyed in natural manner.

The film initially sets up Cyd and Miranda as opposites; from their first meeting, it is clear that they have distinct personalities. Nevertheless, the film offer something more nuanced than the chalk-and-cheese premise. Cyd and Miranda’s relationship carefully, as to be realistic. The talk that Miranda gives Cyd after the party speaks as much about Miranda herself as it does serve as advice to Cyd. Although Cyd is the main character, the relationship with her aunt takes centre stage.

Princess Cyd focuses on a pivotal time in the life of its title character. By coming to a new city, Cyd is able to meet new people and experiment. Cyd’s relationship with Katie serves well to illustrate this. The best thing about Cone’s film is that the change from Cyd’s stay is subtle. Both Cyd and Miranda benefit from their time together, but the changes are much more naturalistic than often seen in this kind of drama. Rebecca Spence is very believable as Miranda. Jessie Pinnick is bright and engaging as Cyd, but smartly reigns in energy to deliver a subtle performance.

Cone has written convincing, sympathetic characters and relationships in Princess Cyd. It will be interesting to see what the filmmaker does next.

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