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What a Girl Wants (2003)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  4 April 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 44,595 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 193 user | 65 critic | 27 from

An American teenager learns that her father is a wealthy British politician running for office. Although she is eager to find him, she realizes it could cause a scandal and cost him the election.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Soleil McGhee ...
Young Daphne
Peter Reeves ...
Steven Osborne ...
Mike Toller ...
Libby's Band Member
Tom Penn ...
Libby's Band Member


Daphne, a seventeen-year-old girl from New York goes to England in search of her father, who does not know he had a child with an American girlfriend he met while working in Morocco, and whose aristocratic family did not approve of the woman. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Trying to fit in. Born to stand out.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

4 April 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Girl  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,434,964 (USA) (4 April 2003)


$401,212 (Brazil) (3 October 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Anna Chancellor and Christina Cole who play mother and daughter in this movie both played Caroline Bingley. Anna in Pride and Prejudice (1995) with Colin Firth (who is also in this movie) and Christina in Lost in Austen (2008). See more »


When Henry says referring to Daphne "She's got my eyes" he is mistaken. Her eyes are blue while his are a very dark brown. He needs to see a shrink or at the very least an optometrist. See more »


Glynnis Payne: I know my daddy was naughty, but what about me?
See more »


References The Omen (1976) See more »


What a Wonderful World
Written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss
Produced by Brian Rawling and Robin Smith
Performed by Oliver James
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Charming and charmed
9 June 2003 | by (L A.) – See all my reviews

"What a Girl Wants" is a re-tooling/re-telling of William Douglas Home's "The Reluctant Debutante" with the devastatingly charming Amanda Bynes in the title role; in fact 'charming' is the operative word here -everything about the movie is charming, and charmed.

The casting: impeccably superb. Amanda never hits a false note throughout the proceedings, creating a character who is genuinely believable, lovable and worth cheering for (there was a LOT of clapping in the theatre at various points in the film - I clapped AND whistled, myself); Kelly Preston is radiant as Daphne's mother Libby, a musician who still deeply loves Henry, Daphne's father, but has gone on with her life, and Colin Firth (as Daphne's father, Henry Dashwood) is a revelation here, in that he literally becomes more and more attractive as the tale unfolds - as he becomes more and more who he really is underneath his repressed exterior (the scene where he dons his black leather pants and prances in front of the mirror to the horror of his prim prude of a fiancee is priceless), and Oliver James as musician Ian, Daphne's love interest, makes a memorable splash here as well. Everyone else is perfect in their roles too (even the dog rocks).

The screenplay and direction: completely on the mark. Never gets heavy-handed, contrived, mean-spirited, cloying or tedious, believe it or not. The charm is sustained throughout in a dazzling balance of comedy, heartfelt emotion, conflict and growth, culminating in one of the most satisfying resolutions I've experienced in a movie in a long time.

Occasionally, a movie can have predictable elements without that being a bad thing; sometimes predictable elements can be pleasurable -- you realize what's going to happen but you also realize you're in such capable hands that you actually anticipate the playing-out of the scenes you know will occur. Sometimes it's not WHAT is done in a movie but HOW it's achieved, and WHO is doing the achieving.

60 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Most unbelievable thing about this entiire movie... thesmileygirl
colin firth is hot...weird? Soccerbabe11
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Why does she need to fall so many times? cajun-queen88
why are u trying so hard to fit in when ur born to stand out? icy_wind03
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