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
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
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.