I reviewed the original A Christmas Prince two years ago and found it passable. The sequel, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, was so bad I didn’t feel it was worth my time or yours to write a review. The plot was nonsensical, the character choices made no sense, and Prince Richard is still unable to act.
So I started the third movie, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, with some hesitation. And…I was pleasantly surprised. Here are my impressions of the film, and why it’s the best installment of the series, both plotwise and for feminist themes.
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt
Nope! The movie does a good job not reducing the female characters to tropes.
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts
Amber returns, now as a pregnant queen, as well as the dowager Queen Helena and Princess Emily. Amber’s friend Melissa also returns for a slightly expanded role, and Queen Ming is the newest addition to a rather well-rounded group of women. There is a woman, Lynn, advisor to the royals, who plays the role of light competition for Simon with Melissa, but she doesn’t fall into the catty trope often seen in romance.
Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
I watched the movie very carefully for this, and it turns out it passes for gender, racial, and LGBT representation! I was shocked! Not many Hallmark movies can say the same, preferring to relegate such characters to the sidelines as best friend characters with few lines (the first two movies were guilty of this.) How did the movie accomplish this? By centering the plot around the arrival of two visiting royals, Queen Ming and King Tai, of the Chinese-ish country of Penglia. Hey, it took three movies but you did it, Netflix!
The romance you need on Christmas Eve: Check out these Four Fantastical Christmas Romances.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
The A Christmas Prince movies have a mixed track record with plot. The mystery in the first movie was full of plot holes, and the second convoluted and stupid, and the third…really pulled it off! I wasn’t dedicated enough to go back and figure out where the second movie messed up, but the third mystery fixed whatever mistakes had been made. I did not guess the plot twist even though the clues were sprinkled throughout the movie.
The jokes also worked a lot better for me this time. Maybe after three films, Amber and Richard have finally developed some chemistry? Their scenes lightly mocked millennial pregnancy culture while actually bonding the characters/showing they were on the same page as each other entering parenthood.
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
In terms of representation, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby is easily a cut above your standard Hallmark, but it also surpasses many wide-release films. When the king and queen of Penglia arrive to renew the treaty between the kingdoms, modern Amber wants the queens to add their names to the treaty as well. Queen Ming is labeled as a traditionalist, and she doesn’t agree with Amber’s suggestion.
However, what could’ve been a straw feminist plot between generations of women is actually a story about Queen Ming not wanting to overstep and take to much credit for what she does for Penglia. When the treaty is stolen and a snowstorm keeps the royals in Aldovia, Queen Ming sees how well-received Amber is with her people and eventually changes her mind about signing the treaty. She and Amber also bond over motherhood.
Other things I liked were women’s involvement in solving the mystery of the missing treaty. Amber investigates while Richard creates a distraction, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a pregnant woman snoop! She also solves the mystery.
Queen Helena and Princess Emily face their fears in the dungeon, and get themselves out of trouble in a cute scene showing the bond between mother and daughter. And Princess Emily, a character with spina bifida, continues to be well-rounded, and escapes the plot points from the first movie that put the focus on her disability.
All in all: 15/15 on the Scale!
You can watch A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby on Netflix, but if that’s not your thing I recommend Jenny Nicholson’s “The Grim Dystopia of A Christmas Prince,” which always makes me laugh.
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