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22879Joy Davidman as Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the movie Shadowlands

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Jan 28, 2012
      While reading something about the idea of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl recently, I realized that that's what the movie Shadowlands is trying to portray Joy Davidman as being for C. S. Lewis:
       
       
       
       
       
      I had thought about something like this back when the film came out, but the category hadn't been identified yet so I didn't realize how common this idea was.  On doing some Googling on the terms "manic pixie dream girl" and "Joy Davidman", I was amused to discover that I wasn't the first to make this connection.  The TV Tropes website mentions Joy Davidman in Shadowlands as being one example of this trope.  Note that this website isn't just about TV but about all sorts of media.  Click on the rectangle "Film" to find the mention of Davidman and Shadowlands.
       
      A Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a woman who opens the hero (who has been living a sheltered, emotionless existence) to adventure in his life.  She's attractive, wacky, quirky, and yet obsessed with the stuffed-shirt hero.  She leaves the hero opened up to life.  In many cases she dies at the end of the story.  Shadowlands is untypical in having the hero and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl be middle-aged, but that's not unknown (or even to have her be old, like Maude in Harold and Maude).
       
      It's not really a very accurate description of Lewis and Davidman's actual relationship, but then this stereotype isn't really a very accurate description of anybody's life.  It's a male wish-fulfillment fantasy.  The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists in these stories to fix the hero's life, not to evolve on her own, so dying or otherwise disappearing at the end is just a convenient way to get rid of her now that she's made the necessary changes in his life.
       
      Wendell Wagner
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