What a Girl Wants… A Cinderella Story?

I decided to type “Cinderella” into the search bar on Itunes, just to see what would come up. The movie results caught my eye. Surrounded by multiple titles bearing the name “Cinderella,” (i.e. “Another Cinderella Story,” “Ever After: A Cinderella Story,” “A Cinderella Story,” and “Cinderella Man”) there was one movie, in particular, that stood out to me: “What a Girl Wants.” Having personally seen this movie, I would not have classified it as another “Cinderella.” However, after re-watching the trailer (posted above), I could see how that argument could be made.

What do you think? Is “What a Girl Wants” another rendition of “Cinderella”? Or is the movie’s plot more unique?

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About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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6 Responses to What a Girl Wants… A Cinderella Story?

  1. leahdowney2 says:

    Seeing this post inspired me to watch this movie again, to remind myself of the details. I was surprised to discover that there are several direct references to Cinderella in the movie. For example, Daphne (the main character) calls her soon-to-be step-sister her “evil step-sister” and says something along the lines of “Let me give you a hint: I win,” and walks away. This acknowledgment of Cinderella in the movie suggests that the makers recognize the fairytale-esque quality of their story, and decide to embrace it rather than deny it.

    That being said, the story is clearly another version of Cinderella. A girl, on a journey to discover her father, is sabotaged by her father’s fiance and her daughter, only to come out on top. She wins a happily ever after that contains a relationship with her father (who is a Lord of Britian), a new boyfriend, and an education at Oxford. The only thing missing is the glass slipper…

  2. I think that this could be seen as somewhat of a Cinderella story. This is because of the stepsister and stepmom, the search for the “Prince” or her father, etc. Daphne, however, does not take on the passive Cinderella role that Karen Rowe would say that the heroine would have. She leaves home very spontaneously just looking for her father and then fights to win him over her stepsister and stepmom. Daphne would be seen as a very strong and confident Cinderella character at times, even before she meets her boyfriend. This confidence is not brought out by a marriage.

  3. evansaun6424 says:

    Although I had not thought of this movie as a Cinderella story before, looking back, the plot it has a lot of similarities to the classic story. Daphne despises her soon-to-be evil stepsister and step mom and they treat her poorly. They are intimidated by the father’s connection and similarities to his long lost daughter and they therefore want to get rid of her. Daphne however is not a passive Cinderella, she is very outgoing and confidant, yet a one point she confines to the social norms she believes is expected of her. She gets through hard times with the help of her new boyfriend, which shows the typical dependence Cinderella has on men in many versions. Her relationship with her father is reestablished by the end of the film, which leaves her with the happy ending she always dreamed of.

  4. Alicia Tamarkin says:

    I have seen this movie several times and never thought of it as a Cinderella story but now that I think about it it is. This story isn’t a little more of a unique version of Cinderella but it still follows the bases of a Cinderella story. Daphne’s parents don’t die but when she goes and finds her dad she finds out he is remarried. His new wife and stepdaughters are not very nice to Daphne. Daphne is not forced to do their chores but the three women are always out to get her. Her boyfriend is like the prince figure. He helps her get out of her misery when she is treated poorly by her fathers wife and stepdaughters. This movie is definitely a version of a Cinderella story but not as noticeable.

  5. seanryanrichmond says:

    Just from watching the trailer i don’t really feel that this completely a Cinderella story. While it does have many elements in common with the traditional fairy tale version of Cinderella, to me, the presence of both parents is a glaring difference that makes this movie’s plot stand out as more original. From what i can see, there are evil step sisters, a prince charming, and possibly even a godmother figure, but this story seems to lack a ball and the riches-to-rags-to-riches themes that are present in traditional versions of the tale. I think while this film may be Cinderella inspired and Cinderella related, it cannot be said to be a true Cinderella story.

  6. kalliebrennan says:

    I used to love this movie and I watched it all the time but I never made the connection to Cinderella until just now. While the story is not exactly the same, I believe there are enough similarities that it can be considered a Cinderella story. Despite the fact that her mother is alive and around throughout the movie, her missing father and her new stepfamily plays such a big part in the movie that it can still be acceptable to think of it as a Cinderella story. Especially due to the fact that her evil stepsister wants to get rid of her.

    Another key difference is the fact that she doesn’t gain royalty in the end by marrying a prince but rather by finally finding her father. While she does find a cute boy in the movie and falls in love with him, he doesn’t have quite the same royal pedigree as Prince Charming. Also, Daphne is not nearly as passive as Cinderella is depicted to be. After wishing her whole life that she could meet her father, she finally gets up the nerve to go out and look for him while creating mayhem with her stepsister along the way.

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