ByChèyenne Bajjada, writer at Creators.co


About The Manic Pixie Dream Girl


The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) is one of the most misleading and repeated tropes in the film industry: A female role created to support the leading male role who is in a depressed state and willing to give up on his life, the MPDG shows up shedding new light onto the males messed up life with her happiness and free spirited way of living and pulls him from out of his shell with no interests or even a back-story of her own.


Origin of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Film critic Nathan Rabin, who coined the term after observing Kirsten Dunst's character in Elizabethtown (2005), describes the MPDG as:

"That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

But it seems Rabin is now disowning the term.

"I’m sorry for creating this unstoppable monster," he wrote in a Salon essay saying. "I feel deeply weird, if not downright ashamed, at having created a cliché that has been trotted out again and again in an infinite Internet feedback loop."

Click here to read Nathan Rabin's story of the creation of the MPDG


What is a Magic Pixie Dream Girl?

Magic Pixie Dream Girl’s are ‘static characters’ that have unusual and unique personalities and are unabashedly girlish. They always serve as the love interest for the male protagonist. MPDG’s are usually given little to no personal back-story, we never know much about her past life and her interests. She is just there to support the male role, making his life better by introducing her quirky life style and rules of doing things.

The MPDG’s personality traits are:

  • Hyperactive
  • Bubbly
  • Loud
  • Mysterious
  • Socially unacceptable at times
  • Bit dull when it comes to intelligence
  • A tease
  • Childish


How About the Male Role?

The male roles are usually white men who have had a falling out in their life, due to that they have become depressed and are ready to give up on everything, that's when the MPDG comes in, the male role becomes interested in her and influenced by how free spirited she is which helps him to become more happy with himself and his life starts to have more meaning.


Examples of The Magic Pixie Dream Girl

The Filmspotting podcast created a list of "Top Five Manic Pixie Dream Girls"; Nathan Rabin appeared as a guest and created his own, separate list of MPDGs. Among those included were Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) in Jules and Jim (1962), Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) in The Lady Eve (1941), Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) in Some Like It Hot (1959), and Gerry Jeffers (Claudette Colbert) in The Palm Beach Story (1942). Other examples of the MPDG the media has proposed include Jean Seberg's character in Breathless (1960), Belle in DISNEY'S animated Beauty and the Beast (1991),Maude in Harold and Maude (1971), Layla (Christina Ricci) in Buffalo '66 (1998) and Penny Lane in Almost Famous (2000).



Criticism

The MPDG has often been called offensive to women for being one-dimensional and having no interests or desires of her own, On August 6th, 2008, the women’s interest blog Jezebel published an article arguing that MPDG characters were the “scourge of modern cinema,” singling out the character Sam (played by Natalie Portman) in the 2004 film Garden State as “the most pernicious of these cinematic sweethearts.” The article went on to refer to the male romantic interests of the MPDGs as “Whimpsters,” a type of manipulative, selfish and insecure man who appears to be sensitive and vulnerable on the outside.




The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Tropes vs. Women)

State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls

  • The MPDG Wiki

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