18 Nov 2014

MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL - (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Looking at the Rules that film genres follow or don't... like films a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

"You never wanted to be anybody's girlfriend, now you're somebody's wife." ~ Tom Hansen.

500 Days of Summer (2009) - is a film that declares it isn't a love story.  But is it an MPDG film?

The following may contain spoilers for

(500) Days of Summer (2004)


1a.  POV Character - Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the center of the movie.  There are moments of other people, but it's mainly about him.
The Bechdel Test:  She doesn't seem to talk to a named female, nor does anyone else.  Fail.
The Mako Mori Test:  Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) has an arc, but not one that we see.   Fail.

1b.  Unhappy – Believes he won't be happy until he meets "the one."
i.  Job – Greeting card writer.  
ii.  Relationship – Not in one.  Seems to handle break ups badly.  
ii.  Belongings – Doesn't come up.
iv.  Bereavement – No bereavement.
v.  Life – Unhappy.
vi.  500 days not one (the title's a give away.)

RULE #2 - T &A

A Zooey Dechanel's naked shoulder suggesting Zooey Deschanel topless in a The Graduate style moment.  Very blurry shapes of the couple seen through a shower curtain.  About Rom-Com level nudity.


(500) Days of Summer isn't a Rom-Com.  The director claims ", most romantic comedies are more loyal to a formula than to emotional truth," but let's test it as Rom Com anyway.

1.  No POV balance.  He does have Rom Com friends & family.  No third person until near the end (and not seen).  Not followed.
2.  Rom Com level nudity (see #2 above).  Followed.
3.  Met at work, no meet cute.  Not followed.
4.  The circumstances is her unwillingness to commit.  Partially followed.
5.  He realised immediately, she never did.   Not followed.
6.  They broke up because she wasn't in love, not because of any special circumstances or event.  Not followed.
7.  She gets married, meaning they literally separated forever.  Followed.
8.  She gets some for of redemption in the park after they are married.  Partially followed.
9.  No happily ever after together.  Possibly one for both characters separately.  Followed.
10.  No sequel.  Partially followed.


4a.  Full of energy - Certainly.

4b.  Full of contradictions
i.  Fun, but serious - Yes.
ii.  Sexual/asexual - Seems normal.
iii.  Romantic/shunning romance – Doesn't believe in love/Gets married.
iv.  Honest & open/hiding a secret - Open/Has walls.
v.  Smart/ditsy – Doesn't seem dumb.

4c.  Carefree - Her favourite Beatle is Ringo because nobody else likes him.

4d.  Quirky - Very.

4e.  Unusual Things.
i.  Clothing – A little.  Dresses more conservatively when she's married.
iii.  House – Untidy apartment.
iv.  Job – Works as the boss's PA.  Not a hugely MPDG job.
vi.  Mix-Tape - He made one for her.


5a.  Tiny - Looks tiny, because she's Zooey Deschanel, but explicitly stated as average height and weight.
5b.  Cute features - Looks tiny, because she's Zooey Deschanel, but explicitly stated as being a pretty girl.
5c.  Girlish - Yes.
5d.  Clothing - Sort of.


6a.  Dream Girl - The Narrator sets her up as a dream girl.  After they have sex the first time he enters a dream-like state.  Then again he does that after they break up.  It really says more about him than her.
6b.  Dream-like - I guess.


7a.  Female - Yes.
7b.  Girlish - Yes.


She certainly changed his life - quitting his job and looking for architecture positions (what he really wanted to do).


She has walls.  She really isn't in love with Tom.  Not really secrets, these are known facts.  Later she didn't tell him she'd met someone or that she was engaged.


Potential for happily ever after, meeting a girl, looking for the job he wants, but a little bittersweet after losing Summer.  No sequel.


Rules followed by this film: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10.
Rules partially followed by this film: 5, 6, 9.
Rules not followed by this film: 3.

Mostly follows the film rules, because she's Zooey Deschanel.

~ DUG.

Remember to vote here to help choose the fifth set of rules to be tested.

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