Confession time: I don’t like this movie all that much. Yes, I know it’s not supposed to be historically accurate, but it’s one thing to fudge details or create a work of speculative fiction (I don’t need to tell anyone that Grand Duchess Anastasia was never actually proven to have escaped from the massacre of her family, right? Good.) and another to present the Russian Revolution as a consequence of peasants being magically bewitched into wanting to overthrow those awesome Romanovs.
Maybe it’s a combination of me not having seen this movie until fairly recently (I know, I know, my poor childhood) and me being a history major, but that seriously bugged me, though not as much as the fact that movie-Anastasia (or Anya) seems completely unaffected by the fact that her entire immediate family, whom she couldn’t remember but dreamed of one day finding, were all violently murdered. I mean, it’s great that you have a grandmother now, but most people would kinda broken up if they recovered from amnesia only to discover that their parents and siblings aren’t really around to welcome them back into the fold.
But regardless of the historical tomfoolery and plot issues (Why did you think the pair of forgers were taking you, Anya, the maybe-Anastasia, to Paris if not for reward money? And aren’t you even a little concerned that a malevolent supernatural force is clearly trying to off you?), it’s hard for me to be too mad at this movie, because the title character’s just so freaking awesome. She’s more realistic than most other kid’s movie princesses combined. She slouches. She sasses Dimitri and saves his life a few times. She doesn’t let herself be pushed around or shoved to the side when there’s danger afoot. And she may whine when tasked with something boring like memorizing the Romanov family tree—though I think most everyone, teenage girl or no, would do the same—she ultimately buckles down and does what needs to be done... while singing a chipper song, no less!
So yeah, while ostensibly based on a historical figure, Anastasia’s about as fictional as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel or Belle—but I’d much rather hang out with her than any of those milquetoast princesses.