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Film / Ice Princess

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Ice Princess is a 2005 Disney teen dramedy film directed by Tim Fywell, with the screenplay by Hadley Davis, and story by Davis and Meg Cabot.

17-year-old physics whiz Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is urged by her physics teacher (Steve Ross) to work on a physics project over the summer for presentation to Harvard. As a skater, Casey decides on a project that shows the elements of physics applied in competitive figure skating. To start, she visits a skating club run by former professional skater Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall). Casey eventually finds that in order to better understand the principles she's using, she will have to become her own test subject, and joins the skating school. The more she gets involved, the more she falls in love with figure skating....and must ultimately make a choice; will it be Harvard, which her mother and Casey have both dreamed of, or will it be pursuing her new dream of being a competitive figure skater?

The film also stars Joan Cusack as Joan Carlyle, Hayden Panettiere as Gennifer "Gen" Harwood, Jocelyn Lai as Tiffany Lai, Kirsten Olson as Nikki Fletcher and Trevor Blumas as Teddy Harwood.

Not to be confused with Winter Royal Lady, the book by Camilla Lackberg, the the other skating movie released under the Disney umbrella in 2005, or the film series featuring Disney's other (more literal) ice princess.

Ice Princess provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: When Casey first goes to the skating rink, she's mistaken for a spy, referencing Michelle Trachtenberg's previous role as the titular character from Harriet the Spy.
  • Alliterative Name: Casey Carlyle, the protagonist.
  • And Starring: The pre-title cast roll ends with "and Michelle Trachtenberg", although she's actually billed above the title.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Gen confronts her mother, she tells her that she's quitting ice skating because she's sick of being constantly pushed to do skating when she doesn't want to anymore and the fact that it's making her fall behind in her grades at school. Tina tries to placate her, saying that she understands that she's been going overboard a bit, but when Gen brings up her sabotaging of Casey, she's struck speechless.
    Tina: Alright, alright, I can see that maybe we've overdone it...
    Gen: "Overdone it"? Just a little. Casey's skates, Mom?
  • Artistic License: The many inconsistencies in this movie (being able to pass two levels in one go, reaching Nationals after a year of skating, etc.) make many a skater wince.
    • Although Casey passing two levels in one go was met with disbelief by her fellow skaters.
    • Probably the worst offender is Tina's Kick the Dog moment with the new skates. Any figure skater who's wore better-than-recreational new boots knows Casey should have noticed instantly how impossible skating in them would be. They feel like wearing casts and she would have been unable to warm up, let alone compete.
    • While senior nationals are often broadcast with former skaters commentating, the movie shows Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano commentating at junior sectionals, which would never happen in reality, as the caliber of junior sectionals are much lower. Also, competitions are never done with spotlights, only exhibitions are. Finally, the use of lyrics was not allowed for singles skaters at the time this movie came out.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Casey is a math and physics nerd who applied her skills to become a figure skater. She soon becomes a competitor in the U.S. Nationals.
  • Back-to-Back Poster: The poster has the heroine's physics nerd persona back to back with the champion figure skater she later blossoms into.
  • Beautiful All Along: Casey at the party that Gen takes her to, and later when Gen puts makeup on her for Regionals.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Gen calls out Tina for pushing her to be an ice skater when she would rather enjoy her adolescence, and for sabotaging Casey.
  • The Cameo: Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano show up as commentators at sectionals.
  • Cassandra Truth: Casey doesn't believe Gen and Teddy when they say that they weren't a part of their mother sabotaging her. It's only until overhearing Gen confront Tina later, telling her that she's quitting ice skating, that Casey finally believes it.
  • Color Motif: Nikki wears shades of red and pink throughout the movie. She even has a red tracksuit that matches her mother's.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Almost crossing over into No Celebrities Were Harmed, Tina Harwood is an ex-professional competitive skater who was banned from competing after an incident which involved injuring another skater.
  • Education Mama: Joan, to a lesser extent. She pushes her daughter to study and do well, and is upset that she chooses ice skating over Harvard. She eventually reconciles with Casey by the end of the film.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Nikki the Jumping Shrimp. Subverted in that she is the only person who doesn't seem to think it's embarrassing.
    • Possibly a Shout-Out to Tara Lipinski, who was once (unflatteringly) tagged "the Robotic Shrimp" by sports media.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Gen is horrified when learns that her mother sabotaged Casey by buying her new skates right before a skating competition. It's the final straw that pushes her to quit ice skating altogether.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Everyone admires Gen Harwood because she shines on the rink and at school.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Joan and Tina are both single with kids and are fairly attractive and well off.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Part of the reason Tina pushes Gen so hard is that she missed out on her own prime years as a skater thanks to being banned due to an incident where she ended up injuring another skater. It's clear she thinks she could have been the greatest but she was too old to get back in by the time her ban on skating competitively was up.
  • Informed Flaw:
    • When she quits skating, Gen says that she's not good enough to keep up with the others anyway. This isn't supported by Gen's actual skating performance, where she comes across as being of about the same skill level as Nikki and Zoey and noticeably better than Tiffany.
    • Zoey is repeatedly referred to as an untrustworthy skate thief but is never shown stealing anything.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Sort of. The Protagonist is the same age, sex, and ethnicity as the other young figure skaters she wants to compete with, yet is hassled for this ambition — even by her own mom — because she's a latecomer to skating and a science geek.
  • Jerkass: Zoe Block, although she is the one to clue Casey in about the trick Tina pulled on her
  • Kick the Dog: Tina purposely buys Casey a new pair of skates (Casey, being a novice, doesn't know she needed to break into the new skates first) during a skating competition so that Casey would fall and injure her feet.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Gen comes off as an inconsiderate party girl at first, but later turns out to be a good friend and guide to Casey. Notably, Gen seems quite disgusted by Tina's Kick the Dog moment, even though Tina was doing it for her.
  • Mama Bear: Casey's mom Joan, while not approving of her daughter's decision to skate, angrily calls out Tina for the above Kick the Dog moment.
  • Mutual Envy: Gen and Casey openly and good-naturedly acknowledge jealousy toward each other. Casey wishes that she had the time and gear to be a professional figure skater like Gen is training to be. Gen thinks it would be great to have more time to really learn the subjects in their classes and spend time with her boyfriend instead of practicing all the time. She also wouldn't mind saying goodbye to the low calorie diet her skating career requires.
  • My Beloved Smother: Both Joan and Tina are forcing their own ambitions and dreams to their daughters.
  • My Nayme Is: Gen's name is spelled with a G, instead of the more common spelling of "Jen".
  • Nice Girl: Surprisingly, Gen can be very kind and considerate.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Casey is understandably frightened when Tina catches her filming her skaters.
    • Casey, Joan and Gen when they realize that Tina's skates sabotaged Casey's performance.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Casey, Gen, and most of the other characters who aren't parents or teachers.
  • Serious Business: Ice skating, for the skaters themselves (particularly Nikki) and doubly so for their parents. See Kick the Dog above.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: Gen takes Casey to a party without telling her where they were going. Gen tells her that it's okay that she's not dressed for a party as long as she shakes it (her hair).
  • Shout-Out: When Disney's promotional department created the theater poster for the film — the one showing two different images of Casey standing back-to-back — did it never actually send up any red flags to anyone that it might get recognized as being uncomfortably similar to the poster for this obscure 80's movie, titled "Angel"? note 
  • Stage Mom: Good Lord, Tina. The woman has no morals and will do absolutely anything to win. Scarily enough, some ice skaters upon seeing the movie said they actually toned down the way real ice-skating mothers sometimes behave.
  • Straw Feminist: Casey's mom. Part of her excuse to be dismissive of figure skaters is because she sees them as nothing more than beauty queens in pretty outfits who won't do anything more productive.
  • Talent Double: While Kirsten Olson (Nikki) and Jocelyn Lai (Tiffany) are genuine skaters, they both have a skating double for some scenes (as does Hayden Panettiere, although she does most of her own skating). Michelle Trachtenberg, however, has four.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Gen and Casey. Gen eventually quits because she doesn't have the same passion as her mom, she sacrificed her personal life and neglected her schoolwork to focus on technique. Casey, by contrast, loves skating.
  • Truth in Television: Casey creates a programme to analyse figure skaters postures, and correct tiny errors in order to improve their performances. In real life, world-class skaters and coaches actually do consult physicists and kineticists, often to perfect difficult jumps.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Casey gives Tina a well-earned dose of this when she learns that Tina bought her the new skates immediately before her long program specifically to sabotage her. Tina's own daughter Gen joins in with an aghast "You bought her new skates?" Then Joan lays into her in the parking lot. Tina tries to defend herself with I Did What I Had to Do, but it falls flat with Joan's reply:
    Joan: My daughter is brilliant. And she will succeed at whatever she decides to do. But she will do it the right way.