Based upon a true story, this is a charming film with wonderful performances by a stellar cast. It tells the tale of a mysterious young woman (Phoebe Cates) in nineteenth century England, who is found wandering the countryside dressed in outlandish clothing and supposedly speaking no English. She is taken in by a kindly aristocratic family, and she gulls them into believing that she is some sort of exotic, foreign royal, Princess Caraboo.
Princess Caraboo charms all who meet her. Everyone is intrigued by her. Just who is she and where is she from? The Greek butler (Kevin Kline) thinks that she is an imposter. The aristocratic couple ( Jim Broadbent and Wendy Hughes), who virtually adopt her, believe her to be the real deal. The skeptical academic (John Lithgow), who specializes in Southeastern Asian languages and dialects and was brought in to try and determine her origin, is not immune to the charm of Princess Caraboo. Even the intrepid reporter, Mr. Gutch (Stephen Rea), who is onto something that may reveal the mystery of Princess Caraboo, falls under her spell.
Phoebe Cates outdid herself, giving a wonderful performance in an inherently difficult role that calls for speaking very little, and when she does speak it is, for the most part, to utter what sounds like gibberish. She is very expressive and totally charms the viewer. Jim Broadbent and Wendy Hughes are terrific as the aristocratic couple. Kevin Kline gives an over the top performance as the wily Greek butler. John Lithgow is outstanding as the academic and drolly funny. Stephen Rea is wonderful as the conflicted reporter, giving a well nuanced and sensitive performance. All in all, this is a perfectly delightful film, which is suitable for the entire family.
The DVD itself offers high quality visuals and audio, but offers no special features or bonus extras.