There's no denying 2004's A Cinderella Story is an over-the-top romance — that's what fans love about it — but one element of the teen classic has always just seemed a bit too farfetched. In the pivotal scene, Sam (Hilary Duff) managed to hide her identity from Austin (Chad Michael Murray) by wearing a simple, teeny-tiny mask. For years, fans have called the mask out for being much too small to realistically disguise Sam and keep Austin from recognizing her, and now Hilary Duff's quotes about A Cinderella Story reveal how she feels about the whole thing.
A Cinderella Story is one of the most beloved retellings of the classic fairy tale, updating the rags-to-riches story to a relatable high school romance. The movie makes the most of mid-2000s culture to help modernize the fairy tale, complete with AIM chats and flip phones. When it came to the high school Halloween dance — the movie's answer to the classic tale's royal ball — it was important that outcast Sam hide her true identity from the mysterious guy she's been chatting with online. So, she pairs her wedding dress costume with a mask. The problem is... the mask barely covers her face.
Somehow, Austin doesn't realize he's dancing with Sam, his classmate who just waited on him at the diner, even though it's blatantly obvious to all the viewers. Nor does he put two and two together when he comes into contact with Sam after their big night together.
After years of fans laughing about the ridiculous plot hole, Duff finally commented on it during an interview with Cosmopolitan UK. "That is so funny. Maybe [Austin] got hit in the head too many times during football?" she joked.
Duff went on to say the mask thing was never really discussed in depth. "It was pretty recognizably me, right? I don't even know if that was even a question [that came up] on set!" she admits. "I don't know what to say about that. There was definitely a problem with the script there."
All the talk about the masquerade ball sent Duff questioning other aspects of Sam's outfit choice for the dance. "Cinderella did not wear a wedding dress. That was fully a wedding dress. Where did she get that thing?" she asked. But while, yes, wearing a wedding dress to a high school dance is admittedly pretty wild, the movie actually did explain the outfit choice. In a hurry to get to the ball before her stepmother Fiona found out she'd left work, Sam borrowed her friend and coworker Rhonda's (Regina King) old wedding dress to wear. But hey, it's been a while since the movie came out; Duff may have just forgotten that minor detail in the face of the big mask debate.
Unfortunately, A Cinderella Story left Netflix earlier this year, but anyone nostalgic for the mid-aughts classic can relive the magic by streaming the movie on HBO Max.