For those who don’t have a tweenage daughter in the house, Hannah Montana – which began life in 2006 on Disney TV – is the story of an average schoolgirl named Miley Stewart (Cyrus) who leads a double life. She’s brown-haired ordinary gal by day, but teenage superstar Hannah Montana by night, with only close friends and family aware that she’s secretly a blonde pop-singing megastar. The show ran for four years (and became a mega-earner thanks to merchandise aimed at young girls such as backpacks, pencil cases and clothes) and at its height, this spin-off movie was made by British director Peter Chelsom (The Mighty, Hear My Song).
In the movie, young Miley is struggling with the popularity of her alter-ego Hannah, which culminates in her falling out with pal Lilly and having a fight with model Tyra Banks over a pair of shoes. Realising his daughter’s fame is going to her head, Miley’s dad Robby (played by Miley Cyrus’s real-life dad, singer Billy Ray) whisks her away from the bright lights and takes his daughter back to the small town of Crowley Corners, Tennessee, the family’s hometown, in time to celebrate grandmother Ruby’s birthday. Complications soon arise, of course, as Miley falls for a local boy who doesn’t know she’s also Hannah, and a journalist arrives hoping to uncover a secret about Hannah Montana.
With the central moral being that celebrity looks easy but is actually hard, and that if you try hard enough you can be anything you want to be, Hannah Montana is wholesome fare for young girls that is often cute, and fluffy as candy floss. Tweens will be thrilled by Miley Cyrus’s songs (including The Climb, now a staple on TV talent shows) and her peppy performance, and while grown-ups will find it all a bit twee, they can rest assured there is nothing in this passable pop confection that will set parental alarm bells ringing.
Is Hannah Montana: The Movie suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...