The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I became interested in this book when seeing that Netflix had made a film version and it had got some really good reviews. I watched the advert to see what the big deal was about and instantly knew that I would watch the whole film. And that’s what I ended up doing. Twice.

Before I go on, I have to admit that I did commit the crime of not reading the book first, but hey, I’m only human and the film looked so good!

Originally written in French in 1945, this is the story of a man who met The Little Prince, a child from Asteroid B-612, when he crash landed in the desert. This man, the Aviator, from the start discusses the difference between children and ‘grown-ups’. This theme runs

little-prince-sheep
Sheep drawn by the Aviator.

through the whole book and the comparison that the author is trying to accentuate, I believe, is that grown-ups see the world in a different way to children. Grown-ups often dismiss things as being silly if they have no real consequence, if something is just for fun or if it isn’t really ‘real’. I think that this idea is shown really well in the bit where the Aviator tries to draw a sheep for the prince. The Little Prince complains that the first three drawings are not like the sheep he has imagined. The Aviator then draws a box with the sheep ‘in’ it and the prince declares that it is exactly the way he wanted it. Now, a grown-up might say that that is silly and that is clearly isn’t a picture of a sheep, that the man has fobbed him off with a simple drawing. But the prince sees the drawing as more than just lines on a page – his imagination has made it real. I will explain a bit more about this theme in the next section on the film with reference to what grown-ups think is important in life. The rest of the story is about the journey that they both make to get home and previous adventures that they have been on.

The film is put in a different context, although the artwork and most of the story is true to the original book. It follows a little girl whose mother is desperate for her to get into a school called Werth Academy. She makes a whole ‘life plan’ for her, scheduling every minute of the day to ensure that she maximises her time allocated for study. Inevitably she becomes a bit lost in all of the rigid timetabling and begins to withdraw herself into the world and stories of the Aviator – the man next door who she originally thought to be just a batty old man. They become friends and he tells her all about his life and that of the prince as well. The stories about the prince show some of the things that adults get a bit preoccupied with, such as money, control/power, vanity and so on. In showing us this and hearing the princes’ innocent frankness, you can’t help but reevaluate what you think is important in life. When you grow up, some times you forget what is essential. This word essential runs through the whole film – see how many times you can spot it and consider what the film makers are wanting you to think is essential.

My favourite quote:

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Watch the advert below. It’s kind of got a feeling of ‘Up’ about it don’t you think?

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