What a Girl Wants

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Released on the 2003-03-27
105 Minutes
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What a Girl Wants is a 2003 film starring Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston and Oliver James. It was directed by Dennie Gordon. The film is a remake of the 1958 film, The Reluctant Debutante which had a screenplay by William Douglas-Home, based on his play of the same name.

Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes) has what every girl wants. This young American girl has a unique style all her own, an unconventional but loving relationship with her Bohemian mother Libby (Kelly Preston) and a future full of possibilities. But despite her remarkable promise, Daphne feels incomplete and alone.1

She dreams of one day meeting the father she’s never known, the man Libby loved deeply seventeen years ago, but ultimately left behind because his aristocratic family found her unsuitable. Determined to live out her fantasy of forging a storybook relationship with her long-absent dad, Daphne, on an impulse, gets a flight to London, where she quickly discovers that her father is the high-profile politician Henry, Lord Dashwood (Colin Firth). Henry opens his life and his social calendar to the daughter he never knew existed, but Daphne’s appearance in his high society creates an uproar that threatens to undermine his political career. Not wanting to jeopardize his campaign for an upcoming election, Daphne stifles her naturally vibrant personality, refashions herself as a proper debutante and plunges into a whirlwind of British social events. But even with Henry’s support, she’s not getting any help from his conniving fiancée or her jealous daughter, who are bent on ruining Daphne at every turn.

With the aid of Ian (Oliver James), a charming and society-savvy local musician, Daphne attempts to prove that love, along with proper etiquette, can conquer all. But Daphne soon realizes she doesn’t like the person she’s becoming in the process. As much as she wants to be her father’s daughter, she realizes it’s not worth it if she can’t be herself. Though mostly this is influenced by Henry’s fiance’s interference during her debuante ball, when she coldly and cruelly locks Daphne in a closet to prevent Henry from bonding with her. She goes back home but Henry realizes how much he loves Daphne and goes to find her. The film ends with Daphne’s mother officially getting married to Daphne’s father. Daphne also becomes Ian’s girlfriend and she goes to Oxford University so she can be near him.

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