Since then, this character type has been analyzed everywhere, from Xo Jane to Slate to the Guardian.A list of film examples of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" includes roles played by everyone from Barbra Streisand to Natalie Portman to both Hepburns (Audrey and Katharine)Rabin claimed that the MPDG "exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries." In a recent exploration of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" phenomenon, though, the 's Laurie Penny argued that the ubiquity of this stock character in mainstream movies has real-world implications.Finally, one day in 1987, a black-bordered card came in the mail. Just 20, Bettina had committed suicide by jumping out a fifth-floor window. Dante was perhaps self-aware enough to recognize the gap between the real Beatrice Portinari and this icon whom he called his "beatitude" and his "salvation." He called her la gloriosa donna della mia mente: "the glorious lady of my mind." When I studied Dante in college, the semester after Bettina's death when I was still moping and ostentatiously mourning, I came across that line in a commentary.
I rarely reciprocated with my own offerings, fearful she'd find my own tastes (Stephen King, The Police) pedestrian, unimaginative and thoroughly disappointing.
Rabin defined the Manic Pixie Dream Girl as a muse whose primary role is to teach and transform a young man.
Decades before the term was coined, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl gave me my first proper kiss.
Thirty years ago this month, while visiting relatives in Austria, my Viennese grandmother introduced me to Bettina, one of the many teens to whom she gave private English lessons.
As unstable as she may be, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl not only senses a young man's potential in a way he can't, she intuitively knows how to lead him to his destiny.
She knows him better than he knows himself, or so he believes.
As contemporary a trope as it feels, it's as old as Dante with his vision of being guided through paradise by his saintly Beatrice.
Bettina was my guide, and as much as my adolescent self thought it adored her, I thought less about her and more about how it was she made me feel.
She turned me on to the Lessings (Gotthold and Doris), the Velvet Underground, and Oskar Kokoschka.
I read and listened to everything she suggested whether I liked it or not.