Movie Review: A Cinderella Story
July 12, 2004
While I have never written a movie review in my column on CommonVoice.com, I thought I would share with you my thoughts about a new movie coming out this Friday in over 2500 theaters nationwide.
On Saturday, I was given the opportunity to see an exclusive preview of the new movie starring teen pop sensation Hilary Duff called A Cinderella Story.
While some teeny bopper movies do not have any appeal to me at all (especially Duff's The Lizzie McGuire Movie), I was pleasantly surprised by A Cinderella Story because it offered a wholesome, clean alternative to most of the cinematic garbage out there today.
Just as the title suggests, this is a modern-day version of the Cinderella story. But it is much more than that.
The story begins with a loving father encouraging his daughter to always pursue her dreams regardless of the obstacles that may come her way. Early in the movie, a California earthquake breaks up an intimate father/daughter moment talking about the future when the father is suddenly killed when he checks on his new wife and stepdaughters.
The movie zooms ahead eight years with Duff playing the little girl who has now grown up to be a high school senior named Sam Montgomery. When her father died, custody of Sam went to her obnoxious, over-the-top stepmother named Fiona, played by Jennifer Coolidge. Sam is basically Fiona's slave giving her what she wants when she wants it.
Even worse, Sam's two evil stepsisters are constantly plotting to get Sam in trouble. But Sam puts up with these antics because she needs the financial support from Fiona to pursue her dream of going to Princeton, where princes and princesses go to college as her father told her as a child.
Then, the socially-outcast Sam, known as "Diner Girl" to the kids at school who tease her because she works in Fiona's greasy spoon inherited from Sam's father, begins a month-long online relationship with her "prince charming." When the two agree to meet at a Halloween dance, Sam comes dressed beautifully as Cinderella complete with an identity-concealing mask. She soon finds out who the mysterious "Nomad," the screenname used by her secret admirer, really is.
When she does, it's none other than Mr. Popular and high school quarterback Austin Ames, portrayed by Chad Michael Murray. The two share a few moments together at the dance as Sam plays coy with Austin. But with the watchful eyes of Fiona on her mind because she warned Sam not to go to the dance, Sam quickly exits just as she is about to reveal her identity to Austin so she can make it back to the diner before her stepmother finds out. On her way out, Sam drops her cell phone which Austin retrieves from his unknown sweetheart.
But over the next few day, Sam gets scared of Austin finding out who she is and avoids him for days. Yet Austin's persistence eventually leads the two face to face to a surprisingly dramatic and romantic ending that provides a positive example of courage, perseverance and determination for people of all ages to follow.
While this movie will not necessarily appeal to young males, although there were quite a few in attendance at the screening I was at, it will certainly be a hit with young girls. The story reassures kids that it is okay to pursue your dreams and to forge new paths for yourself. The theme of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to reach your goals is one that needs to be heard by children and adults alike.
If you have a girl between the ages of 6-16, then you need to take them to see A Cinderella Story. And you just might be pleasantly surprised to find yourself caught up in the story and rooting for Sam to succeed, too!