Matthew McConaughey once said: “Sometimes when a woman falls for a guy, she [asks him to change], and he changes so much that she loses her Huck Finn, the rascal in the man she fell in love with. Men are willing to change to make you happy–because when you’re happy, we’re happy. But don’t completely take the boy out of the man. You’re gonna miss him.”
Courtesy of Women’s Health magazine.
When does the guy conform? Not a popular subject in Western media. Male character do undergo a change, but only on the inside.
Despite the stretch, I managed to find three films
George of the Jungle
George behaved very much like Ariel in this live action adaptation of the classic 60’s cartoon. George gives up his identity for his city girl and looks goo in Armani. To be honest, I forgot the end of the story, but George definitely changes his appearance to gain acceptance.
One of the biggest criticisms of Grease is how Sandy went from a nice girl to a questionable one for Danny’s sake. Yet another case of a women giving up her identity for a man. However, what no one seemed to notice is that Danny became a jock and lettered in track and field for Sandy in order to compete with the meat-head she dated after leaving him–and Danny never moved on! To tell you the truth, the entire film was about Danny conforming to Sandy while still retaining his friendship the T-Birds, but the effort was eclipsed by Sandy’s sudden transformation.
What will they say Monday at school?
Danny’s character arc was a non-musical sequence of the film, so that may be the reason why so many people missed it. It’s tricky to realize what actions resonate with an audience to use as plot points. The filmmakers decided to fore go another song sequence in favor of a running gag sequence as Danny’s temper fouls every attempt to adapt to a sport that will win back Sandy’s affections and trump the meat-head rival .The sequence is very funny, but I remember ignoring it as a kid. I guess a story editor would say that the jock sequence in-cohesive to the story and obstructed the pace of the film. Therefore, Danny’s character arc which had a great musical foreshadow ended up with a muddled pay off that the audience missed when he showed up in a newly won letter jacket at the climax of the film. Perhaps a better solution would be if there a track meet that Danny own in place the Grease Lightin subplot or at least have Kenickie drive his own damn car that Danny was instrumental in buliding and win the race. That would upset a lot of fans but the payoff Danny’s character arc would’ve been more dynamic and clear.
Now that Sandy has conformed, OFF goes the letter sweater. Ah well, at least we know that Danny is capable of change and therefore employable!
Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl had a make-under. His pretty-boy exterior reflected his insecurities and his co-dependence on his former mentor, Sullivan, who still had power over him. All of her pages and pupils were blonde with the same eponymous haircut. Once his heart was willfully given to the story’s heroine, Howl went back to his natural color. The change occured in the midpoint of the film and did not solve all problems. However, Howl’s decent into his psychological void brought the heroine Sophie, out of her shell to face life’s challenges instead of excepting a life as the selfless plain Jane of an elder sister.
Sophie and Howl are both androgynous characters, each possessing masculine and feminine qualities. Very much like Artemis and Apollo archetypes, Sophie’s masculine world view eclipses the feminine in Howl and in turn Howl’s anima influences Sophies animus by the end of the story. The theme of story being that despite giving up on her hope of a social life, someone extraordinary and flamboyant admired Sophie’s courage and tenacity and found Sophie’s plainess beautiful.
Then again, Howl was more excited about Sophie once her hair color changed to starlight. The moon blonde wins again….