Review: The Birth and Death of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The Birth and Death of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Fanzine, Skye S., 8 pgs,, $2

One of the best compliments I can give to a mini-zine is that it’s well-structured. It’s not easy to carefully lay out a cogent thesis in a tiny font. Skye S.’s full-circle report on the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope, coined by American film critic Nathan Rabin, makes the grade using only film quotes and Rabin’s own words.

The second best mini-zine compliment is that the presentation is crisp and, again, Skye nails it. The colourful and bubblegum designs are on-brand with the subject matter, while collages of hi-res movie stills illustrate the arguments well. A couple of the movie quotes are cut off at the very bottom of the zine despite its microscopic bleed, but you still get the gist.

I’m surprised by some of the films singled out (Swiss Army Man? I didn’t even know there was anyone besides two dudes in that flick, and one is a corpse) and the films omitted (Along Came Polly and 500 Days of Summer are textbook examples). Regardless, she effectively conveys that Rabin himself regrets minting this irritating convention. Far from convincing directors to write their female characters better, the poor man somehow ignited a never-ending public conversation about these quirky, quixotic characters.

I got the impression that Skye felt Rabin deserved a wider audience for his apology to anyone who cared. Consider this little zine the final word on manic pixie dream girls and let’s all move on. I mean, after this review. The final word on the final word.