Unless you've just landed on planet Earth, you know who Hannah Montana is. The Disney TV character is a charismatic 16-year-old who leads a double life as Miley Stewart - an average teen brunette - by day, and as Hannah Montana - a blonde pop sensation - by night.
Miley turns into Hannah by donning a blonde wig, wearing makeup and putting on cool, trendy clothes. She does it to have "the best of both worlds": a quiet family life away from the paparazzi as Miley and a glamorous lifestyle as Hannah. The TV show, a kids' favorite worldwide, has now spawned a movie called - what else? - Hannah Montana: The Movie. Like the TV show, the film is already a box office hit.
In Hannah Montana: The Movie, Hannah Montana's celebrity persona is eclipsing Miley. With millions of adoring fans, Hannah basks in the spotlight. Eventually, celebrity gets into her head.
At a shoe store in Beverly Hills, Hannah spies a pair of black and white high heels. At the same store, TV diva Tyra Banks has seen the same shoes and wants them. It's the last pair, and the two celebrities are not willing to give it up. So, to the tabloids' glee, they get into a fight.
As in the TV show, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus plays Miley Stewart's dad. He is also the actress's real-life dad. Miley Stewart, aka Hannah Montana, is played by Miley Cyrus.
Billy Ray realizes his on-screen daughter has too much of a good thing. He decides that Miley should take a break from her blonde alter ego and the big life. So he hijacks her to their hometown in rural Tennessee.
The film unfolds like a typical teenage romantic comedy. Miley sheds Hannah - literally. The wig gets tucked away in a box. She turns into a sweet country girl surrounded by family, chickens and a bucolic landscape. It doesn't hurt that she meets Travis, a handsome young cowboy.
In love and searching for her true self, Miley realizes she may have to choose one world over the other.
Actress and singer Miley Cyrus does not have to choose between her acting career and her future as a singer. She is growing in both directions. In the film, she shows her Tennessee roots with her new country song "The Climb."
On its weekend premiere in the United States, the film grossed more than $34 million, becoming an instant blockbuster. And that's not counting the millions of kids worldwide who are waiting for the movie to open in their hometowns. Miley Cyrus has been a role model for many because of her talent, energy and, mainly, her down-to-earth personality.
"It's super important to stay true to yourself, your family," she says. "To always stay in touch with who you are and to bring yourself back when you see yourself falling away."
Critics have been lukewarm about the film. "Not enough good acting," they say. "Too contrived," they write. Don't listen. It's wicked fun.
Miley Cyrus's energy is contagious and her acting comes straight from the heart. The romantic scenes are fresh and clean. The father-daughter relationship is as genuine as it is in real life. This is a sweet movie - jam-packed with great music, peaceful scenery and happy colors.
The dancing numbers are catchy. Miley Cyrus's "hoedown throwdown" has already started a new dance craze.