Review: Princess Cyd

Jessie Pinnick in Princess Cyd

 Princess Cyd is a lovely film full of heart and kindness. It’s about the two week visit of a teenager named Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) to her semi-famous aunt who lives in Chicago.

Rebecca Spence plays Miranda Ruth, an essayist and novelist. Her niece Cyd needs a break from her depressed dad in South Carolina and he sends her to Miranda in Chicago for a couple of weeks.

Cyd’s backstory is that her mother died when she was 8. We hear the 9-1-1 call about her death at the beginning of the film, but we don’t learn the full story until the film is almost over.

Miranda Ruth is a prolific writer. She writes novels about strong women and about spirit. We see her doing interviews where she is frequently asked questions about religion and spirituality as well as about herself as a writer. I avoid films that carry a religious agenda, but this film isn’t like that. It isn’t preaching.

Cyd is a soccer player. She doesn’t read. She doesn’t go to church. She has a sort-of boyfriend in South Carolina, but develops an interest in Katie (Malic White) her first day in Chicago.

Rebecca Spence and Jessie Pinnick in Princess Cyd

Cyd and her aunt seem mismatched at first. Actually, they are good for each other. They challenge each other’s world views. They develop a strong bond of love in their time together. Rebecca Spence and Jessie Pinnick work beautifully together. They imbue their silences with as much meaning as their words.

Cyd is physical, outward. She runs and plays soccer. Cyd wants to explore her sexuality. Miranda is inward. She’s about beautiful words and deep thoughts. Miranda wants to read Emerson. They bring each other permission to explore other ways of being.

Miranda has a friend Anthony (James Vincent Meredith) that she might have a romantic interest in. Cyd tells her aunt’s friends she’s attracted to everything. Cyd tries making out with Miranda’s neighbor Ridley (Matthew Quattrocki) but it doesn’t go very far. When she has a chance to be with Katie there are fireworks.

Katie finds a young adult book on the bookshelf in Cyd’s room – her mother’s childhood bedroom – called Princess Cyd. It was written by her aunt. Katie remembers reading it in middle school. Cyd remembers her mother reading it to her, but didn’t realize that it was written by her aunt.

At the end of two weeks, it’s as if Cyd and her aunt have spent a lifetime together. They gain so much from each other.

Princess Cyd is available on Amazon Video, Netflix and several other sources. It’s full of so much warmth and character, it’s definitely worth seeing.

P.S. I want to go to a soirée where an old woman can read Emily Dickinson aloud and be listened to with interest.

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