This film, that reminds strongly of a Disney-film because of the style of drawing and the style of music, is really anything but a Disney-film. Despite the fact it even has two little helpers, just like Disney usually has.
The story is about Anastasia, who is born and raised in the rich aristocracy of Russia, where, during a party, Rasputin has invited himself, cursing all of the Romanov family. He wants them all to die. The family which Anastasia is part of. This happens shortly after Anastasia was given a small music box by her grandmother.
Because of the curse of Rasputin, the family is forced to flee the scene instantly, as Rasputin wants to kill everyone, setting the house on fire. During the flight, grandmother and Anastasia loose each other. Grandmother is on the train and loses grip on Anastasia’s hand, causing her to fall down.
Years later, it appears that Anja (her name by now) has no recollection of the life she led before her 8th birthday, the moment the party was. She is, by now, grown up, leaving the orphanage she’s been living in, to start her own life as a cleaning lady. At least, that’s what she’s supposed to do, according to the head mistress. But Anja has a will of her own. The road goes in two opposite directions. Which ones shall she take?
The film was made by Fox film corporation, and this is noticeable. There’s far more elements of it being a drawn musical at times than in Disney films. The drama is heavier, it’s far less suitable for small children with a strong imagination, who might get nightmares from such dark images. Especially Rasputin being depicted as being in a darker world, can be too much for a happy mind. You should watch along, or fast forward. Though it’s very possible that the fact there’s no blood visible, makes it funny for those who aren’t that weak in the stomach, or just care less.
There’s a scene, however, in Paris, where one of the statues (of a horse, with wings) becomes evil by the touch of magic. I wouldn’t call that very suitable for small children either.
Then again, the fact that in Disney films usually a prince or any male type person has to rescue the girl in her bloody expensive dress from any evil beings, is nicely compensated here. The girl does it all by herself, telling the bastard in his face he can go take a hike. Of course, she has help, but she’s the one who stands there with her dress being torn apart, kicking and giving a big mouth. Good stuff.
All in all, I’d say this is a nice film, but I wouldn’t recommend your kid watching it on her/his own that first time. At least hang in there for the music, it’s truly lovely.