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4 Nov 2014

MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL - Sweet November (2001)

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


"What'd I do today?  I got fired, they took the company car and my girlfriend left me." ~ Nelson Moss

Sweet November (2001) - Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) offers to let a Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) live with her for a month to change his life.

The following may contain spoilers for

Sweet November (2001)






RULE #1 - THE MAN

Nelson is a work obsessed advertising executive.

1a.  POV Character - Totally the POV character.  She has about one tablet taking scene that isn't about him.
The Bechdel Test:  She has some unheard conversations with mostly unnamed female characters.  Fail.
The Mako Mori Test:  She has a story - she's dying and wants to be remembered and she falls in love with Nelson, but there's no arc there.  Her story is the same at the beginning and the end.   Fail.

1b.  Unhappy – He seems, in his own way, happy with his life, she says otherwise.
i.  Job – He's good at his job, and "people tend to enjoy what they're good at."  She asks "Besides your job what else makes you miserable?"  After meeting her he is fired.
ii.  Relationship – His girlfriend wants to talk, he doesn't have time.  
iv.  Bereavement – No bereavement.
v.  Life – Does seem to like his life, but doesn't.
vi.  After he is fired, he gets home to find his girlfriend has packed and is leaving.

RULE #2 - T &A

No real nudity.  Keanu's shirtless a lot, Lauren Graham's naked thigh appears in the first scene and Cherlize Theron has a couple of blink-while-the-film's-playing-in-slo-mo-and-you'll-missing-it nip slips but that's it.  Real Rom-Com level stuff.

RULE #3 - GENRE

Not really a Rom-Com, but why let that stop me?

1.  Not balanced (see #1a above,) being about the male. .  Partially followed.
2. See #2 above, Rom-com level nudity.  Followed.
3. He causes her to get kicked out of a driving test.  Not hugely cute, but vaguely.  Partially followed.
4. His personality and her secret keeps them apart emotionally for most of the film even though they are physically together for most of it.  Partially followed.
5. He proposes to her and she admits later to someone else it was the first time she wanted to accept.   Followed.
6. He had to think about the relationship after he found out her secret..  Partially followed.
7. They are actually separated forever.  Not Followed.
8. No real redemption as no real redemption is needed, but a complete separation.  Not Followed.
9. She's dying, he agrees to never see her again.  Not happily ever after.  Not Followed.
10. No sequel, but a remake - see #10 below.  Followed.


RULE #4 - MANIC


4a.  Full of energy - Definitely.

4b.  Full of contradictions
i.  Fun, but serious - Yes.
ii.  Sexual/asexual - The relationship is very quickly sexual, and she has a sexual history that Nelson is uncomfortable with.
iii.  Romantic/shunning romance – She wants to make a mark but is avoiding attachments.
iv.  Honest & open/hiding a secret - She is open about her previous months.  She has her reasons.
v.  Smart/ditsy – Neither really played up, although she did start a successful company and has some wisdom.

4c.  Carefree - Not really.  Has created rules to get the most out of life because of her secret.

4d.  Quirky - Offers a cup of cocoa rather than coffee.  Uses a vacwm cleaner to do her hair.

4e.  Unusual Things - A lot of pets, some at least rescued from animal testing.
i.  Clothing – Yes, the many loose layers, scarf and gloves thing and pyjama like pants, no bras.  
ii.  Transport – Was doing her driving test, but he tried to cheat getting her thrown out.
iii.  House – Pretty average house.
iv.  Job – No job, walks does for free because she likes it.
v.  Objects – Not really.
vi.  Mix-Tape - No.

RULE #5 - PIXIE


5a.  Tiny - Looks tiny, svelt, etc.
5b.  Cute features - Short hair, Charlize Theron's face.
5c.  Girlish - Yes.
5d.  Clothing - Often wears loose and airy clothes.

RULE #6 - DREAM

6a.  Dream Girl - Eventually.  And she's had other proposals.


6b.  Dream-like - The weirdness of her rules, the dying.  It all counts.



RULE #7 - GIRL


7a.  Female - Yes.

7b.  Girlish - Yes.

RULE #8 - HIS LIFE

"See, I have a gift.  The special ability to help men with problems."

She forced her way into his life because he ruins her driving test.  She promises to change his life.  She takes him back to the house he grew up in.

She does actually have friends of her own.


RULE #9 - SECRET


She is dying of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma which she keeps secret from him.

RULE #10 - BITTERSWEET ENDING/NO SEQUEL


She asks him to leave so that he has perfect memories of her and he agrees.  Bittersweet.
No sequel, but it is actually a remake.

RESULTS


Rules followed by this film: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Clearly follows the film rules.


~ DUG.


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






















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