Why we're crushing hard on Anastasia
We love love love the movie Anastasia here at HelloGiggles. This 1997 Don Bluth classic is about an 18-year-old orphan who, throughout the events of the movie, finds out who she really is – and, in the process, learns a few valuable and humbling lessons about what’s really important.
And historical inaccuracies aside, the movie also provides an extremely admirable role model for young women in the protagonist Anya, whom we know turns out to actually be the Romanov princess Anastasia – the princess her grandmother, the Dowager Empress Marie, has been fruitlessly searching for over the course of the past 10 years.
Here are the reasons Anya/Anastasia is our #WCW this week, and will always be the #WCW of both our childhood (and adult!) hearts.
She understood the value of family
From the very beginning of the movie, when we see Anastasia as a young girl, we see that she has a really special bond with her family members – particularly her father, Tsar Nicholas II, and her grandmother/Nicholas’ mother, the Dowager Empress Marie. And while, as she grows up, the orphaned Anya has to find solace in others around her, she never forgets that there are people out there who are waiting for her to come back to them. It’s so easy nowadays to get caught up in new relationships, which is a great thing, but Anya taught us to remember and value where we came from enough to fight for it as hard as we physically can.
She didn’t let a man dictate her life choices
Oh, Dimitri: the animated dude every ‘90s girl had a crush on and only some of us would now admit to as an adult (ahem). I mean, you can get much hotter in an animated sense than John Cusack-voiced, smooth, tousled-haired Dimitri. And I’m getting ahead of myself.
The point is, Anya wasn’t distracted by this guy’s hotness and charm. She met him and was immediately suspicious of his motives, like any self-respecting woman would be when some guy just shows up and asks her to pretend to be a princess and come to Paris on a train with him and his sidekick. Eventually, Anya and Dimitri fall in love and they elope and it’s fantastic, but Anya does this on her own terms and refuses to let anyone else pave her life path.
She knew how to grow and learn without sacrificing her values
There are certain values Anya refuses to compromise, like the importance of family, hard work, and standing up for what she believes in in general. But she is also vulnerable, which might be the trait that makes her the most relatable. She goes outside her comfort zone to learn skills that make her more princess-like (e.g., riding a horse, conducting herself with royal-level grace), explores new friendships, allows herself to feel romantic love, and even fights Rasputin by herself to save herself, her family’s name, and the man she loves. Heroines who stand by their convictions while also allowing themselves to change and grow are always the best kind.
She had magical hair
We’ve been over this recently but seriously, what kind of powers that be allowed this girl’s hair to change so beautifully at will? From a cute, chopped look when she left the orphanage, to a luscious mane when she was on board the ship, to a sleek look at the opera devoid of any random tufts of hair, we’re baffled. But also super impressed.
Also, can we talk about all Anya’s outfits? I could cosplay a version of her every week and never get bored. Brb while I go rework my budget to justify buying every outfit she wears in the movie. I’m sure someone on Etsy specializes in Anastasia cosplay, right?
Her voice talent = the best of the best
It’s pretty widely known that the adult Anya/Anastasia was voiced by Meg Ryan and the young Anastasia was voiced by Kirsten Dunst. But did you know Lacey Chabert – AKA Gretchen Wieners – did young Anastasia’s singing voice? I didn’t find this out until way after the movie came out, and was really surprised. Also, you might not recognize the name Liz Callaway – she did adult Anya’s singing voice – but she is a Broadway singer whose credits include Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, as well as Follies, Cats, and Evita. She also did Kiara’s singing voice in The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and Princess Jasmine’s singing voice in the Aladdin sequels, The Return of Jafar (which is super underrated) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
Thanks for still being awesome almost 20 years after your movie, Anastasia. We can’t wait to see you in action live on stage, and are patiently awaiting more news on when we’ll be able to.