Sixteen Years Later, I Still Don’t Get How Austin Didn’t Recognise Sam In ‘A Cinderella Story’

Not recognising ~the love of your life~ because of a tiny piece of fabric? Sounds about men.

cinderella story austin sam mask

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The 2004 film, A Cinderella Story, is still one of the greatest teen flicks of all-time. Nay, simply one of the greatest movies of all-time.

It was the blueprint for all these modern adaptations of classic tales, but truly was the only rom-com that did it well. While, A Cinderella Story might not have been the first to do the story of Cinderella, Warner Brothers did manage to adapt the fairytale without making it gimmicky, setting the unmatchable standard for all the other shit remakes that followed.

*cough* Selena Gomez in ‘Another Cinderella Story’ *cough*.

But for a movie that came out in 2004, A Cinderella Story really did give us a pretty accurate insight into what online dating would look like in the future. Really, it gave us a stripped down version of Tinder today, where people catfish you with fake names and only upload photos of their chests, telling you that it’s because “their job requires privacy”. No job requires this much privacy, Greg. Enough.

Anyway, Austin Ames and Sam Montgomery really were the first Tinder success story, without Tinder ever being a thing. They spoke in anonymous chat rooms, moved to flip phone character-counted text messages, then finally safely met in real-life in a crowded room.

Sure, the pair went through a few massive ups and downs, but ultimately ‘Nomad’ and ‘Princeton Girl’ drove off to Princeton together to live happily ever after.

However, there is one major problem with this love story and the film in general, and that is Austin Ames, the big, stupid oaf, who just doesn’t know how to use his eyes.

Let’s not get it twisted: Austin Ames aka Chad Michael Murray was fine in 2004. A Cinderella Story easily made the all-American, then-22-year-old every tween girl’s crush. He was a broody jock who only ever wanted to pursue his dreams of writing terrible poetry and to go off to Princeton with his love, away from the football life forced upon him by his dad.

Today, it sound so cliche. But 16 years ago that was every girl’s dream man. How could he not be? He literally ditched the big final game just to kiss Sam in the rain. We all wanted that. We all wanted to be Sam. Hell, I still want to be Sam.

But while beautiful, Austin was just so painfully blind.

One of the biggest plot holes in cinematic history is how Austin Ames didn’t manage to figure out it was Sam Montgomery behind her flimsy little mask at the Halloween dance.

Are the audience really meant to believe that Austin was so dumb that he couldn’t recognise the love of his life because she wore a tiny white mask? Especially when he visits the diner she works all the time, and she serves him every time he visits? I’m sure she smells like fast food friers too, especially when she ran straight to the dance from her shift. There is absolutely no way he didn’t smell the oil as they danced together.

Even if the area around her eyes are shielded, and the mask is THAT powerful, Sam never stops having her wispy front fringe throughout the entire movie. Plus, realistically, how many 5’1″ blondies with a front fringe are really running around North Valley High?

OK, let’s give Austin the benefit of the doubt and say there actually are heaps of short girls with similar hair to Sam around him, then why can’t Austin recognise her voice after the dance? Is his pea brain that small that he can’t remember what someone’s voice sounds like? The voice of his dream girl, at that.

Even when Sam is standing right in from of him in the diner — where Austin is staring right into her eyes — as she literally uses the word mask and says “it’s me” so that his ass can take the hint, he just sips his black coffee like a giant dumb dumb and doesn’t piece the clues together.

It’s just implausible that a man — who cannot pick up on very obvious hints, recognise a voice from the night before, or see someone through a flimsy mask — got admitted to Princeton, an ivy-league college. The number one college in America? Austin Ames? I have to laugh.

While I know that the whole ~not being able to see the things right in front of you~ theme ties into the story, God damn there has to be a limit. I mean, not even Chad Michael Murray, the man who played Austin, understands how his character couldn’t recognise Sam.

“If you go to a masquerade ball and a girl, who you see almost every day, is wear a small mask and her entire face is exposed but you still can’t recognise her, you should probably see an eye doctor,” he said during a E! News interview. “And a few other doctors.”

So, I rest my case. Austin Ames is a giant idiot. Beautiful, but still a giant idiot.