Bucking the Wave

500 Days of Summer, or, Why I Hate the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed this movie. We all enjoy these movies; they’re designed to make you feel good, make you believe (however fleetingly) in “love.” I’d watch it again, hell, I might even buy it when it comes out on DVD. But this was the movie that pushed me over the edge in my frustration with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG). As coined by Nathan Rabin when reviewing Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown, the MPDG is “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.” Think Natalie Portman in Garden State, Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, Rachel Bilson in The Last Kiss. These women are always happy and quirky…

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