The Little Prince. 2015. France/Canada. Directed by Mark Osborne. 108 min.
Shown at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival but mysteriously denied a theatrical release in the US, this animated adaptation of the beloved 1943 children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery covers a range of complex emotions seldom found in contemporary family fare. Director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) employs different styles of animation for each of the film’s three levels—a framing story involving a lonely little girl and her overbearing mother; the Saint-Exupery story itself, as related by the girl’s neighbor, an elderly ex-aviator; and a climactic dream sequence that unites and transcends the two main plotlines. Though ultimately uplifting, the film traverses much of the same traumatic territory that gives the great Disney films their lasting resonance. Paul Rudd, Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, and Rachel McAdams are among the actors who lend their voices to this English-language version. Courtesy of Netflix.