Loosely based on an actual incident, this family-friendly British comedy is also a sly satire of class consciousness. Phoebe Cates stars as a woman who appears in the English countryside of 1817 wearing exotic garb and speaking gibberish. Delivered to a nearby manor, the mystery woman is sheltered by the Worralls (Wendy Hughes and Jim Broadbent), who are then persuaded by their suspicious Greek butler Frixos (Kevin Kline, Cates' real-life husband) to have the drifter tried for vagrancy and begging, capital crimes. At the hearing, however, the woman persuades the magistrate through pantomime that she is a princess of Javanese origin named Caraboo, escaped from pirate kidnappers. The Worralls welcome Caraboo back into their home, lavishing upon her the deference due a royal. A society sensation, Caraboo wins over a linguist (John Lithgow), the prince regent (John Session), and even Frixos. Only an Irish reporter, Gutch (Stephen Rea), remains skeptical about Caraboo's origins.