“Pretty Woman” and “A Maid in Manhattan,” Cinderella stories?

Many movies such as “Pretty Woman” and “A Maid in Manhattan” have Cinderella like aspects. They all share the common story line of  female protagonists who are saved from their helpless existences by a wealthy man. More specifically, in “A Maid in Manhattan,” Jennifer Lopez even disguises herself, much like Cinderella, to win over her man.

Do you think that, despite the obvious differences, these movies can be considered Cinderella stories?

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About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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4 Responses to “Pretty Woman” and “A Maid in Manhattan,” Cinderella stories?

  1. Miki Doan says:

    According to Karen Rowe, most of the modern plots or novels are based on fairy tales, just as “A Maid in Manhattan” has some features related to Cinderella.
    First of all, both Cinderella and this movie portray rags-to-riches stories. Whereas Cinderella gets married to the Prince and escapes from her poor and harsh life, Marisa goes out with a senatorial candidate, is proposed by him, and leaves her job as a hotel maid behind.
    Secondly, one of the similarities lies in the involvement of the external agent. Instead of a godmother, Marisa’s son and friends give her support and helps which lead to her encounter the senatorial candidate.
    Thirdly, wish and dream are repeatedly mentioned in the movie. When Cinderella laments and wishes that she can go to the ball, her godmother appears. Likewise, although Marisa thinks it is a lie to go to the dance with her fake identity, her friend, Stephanie persuades her to believe in her dream and says this is who Maris is. Also, as I surfed this movie on IMDb website, it states “Marisa and Christopher learn that the bigger your dreams, the better the chance they might come true. ” Hence, the movie focuses on the the importance of the protagonist’s dream.
    P.S: I enjoy this movie a lot! :’)

  2. Alicia Tamarkin says:

    I would have never thought that was a Cinderella story until I am watching it looking for Cinderella aspects. The main thing that makes me think its a Cinderella story is the guy goes around looking for JLo. That is like the prince and Cinderella’s relationship. From this trailer it looks like his search for “Cinderella” is a lot more in depth than most Cinderella stories are. JLo is also a made so that is another aspect that is part of the classic Cinderella story. If you watch the trailer thinking about the Cinderella story you can find it but it is not as obvious as some stories.

  3. cmamorose says:

    I think there is a definite Cinderella story underlying the basic plot of the movie. The classic elements of a fairy god mother, evil stepfamily, Prince, and ball are seen within the film. The fairy god mother is clearly the son and other maids who push JLO toward the Prince and are ultimately the reason she makes it to the ball. The evil stepfamily can be seen in the guests the protagonist must take care of in the hotel, specifically the two women in the trailer that JLO steals the clothes from. The Prince is obviously the character running for senator, and the ball is the major event at the end of the movie which JLO runs out of in a very Cinderella-like fashion. Aside from losing a shoe this movie has many similarities to the traditional Cinderella plot.

  4. Margot Hillyer says:

    I think the narrator’s comment “destiny will find you” poses an excellent question about our interpretation of Cinderella stories. Do we believe that our female protagonist has worked for/earned her “happily ever after” of does destiny find her? In our typical athletic uses of Cinderella stories the team’s achievement is due to hard work and perseverance. However, in many of the stories we read (or watch) it seems like Cinderella is in the right place at the right time- and I think Maid in Manhattan is a perfect example. As the trailer shows, her son is the one that does the convincing, that pushes her to go on the dog walk, and she just happened to try on the coat at the right time. We later see that he doesn’t recognize her when she is dressed like a maid.

    Another important aspect of this is wealth. The main male character (prince charming of sorts) likes her because he thinks she is a guest at the hotel, the hotel where the very wealthy stay. Just like classic Cinderella stories, poor servant Cinderella goes to a ball for the wealthy and prince charming things she is a wealthy girl, not some subservient ash covered neglected child. Ultimately, however, wealth doesn’t matter…

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