(Not So) Pretty in Pink

I’m back with more song references, this the time Psychedelic Furs, but being a 40-year-old woman, we all know I mean the John Hughes Brat Pack Film Pretty in Pink. As you can only imagine  from a girl who calls herself GEKE, I popped this flick into the Betamax (actually, I think this one was VHS) and all but wore out the magnetic tape. Coming out between The Goonies (one year later) and Dead Poet’s Society, it was a favorite for this usually dateless angsty teen.

Except it’s about something I don’t like, the mismatched pair. From Redeeming Love to a modern version, adaptations of the Bible story of Hosea, a Godly man who marries an unfaithful prostitute, are a hard sell for me. I ended up liking Redeeming Love but it took some soul searching.

With the girl from a rough background falling for the rich boy scenario, there are movies I don’t like (Pretty Woman) and ones that I do (Cinderella). Often compared, there’s a big difference. Cinderella gains my sympathy because she’s not a poor street urchin but a girl of breeding whose life takes a drastic turn.

Same with books, I laugh that my favorite genre is orphans and invalids (Heidi, The Secret Garden, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables). It’s not that I don’t like the underdog, it’s that I have to actually like the underdog. What is different is these characters are intelligent achievers, not uncouth and unlovable wretches.

I don’t like the opposite either rich girl gives up everything for the poor boy. Again, it’s not all or nothing with me. Sometimes you can’t help but cheer for the underdog. Other times, it’s cringe-worthy.

I’m going to use two examples by author Sarah Sundin to show what it takes to make the “mismatched” pair to work. In A Distant Melody, wealthy Allie Miller falls for engineer and B-17 pilot, Walter Novak. The problem is she’s engaged to her parents’ choice. She risks everything to marry “beneath” her station. I don’t care who her fiancé is, Walter Novak won me over with B-17 and engineer. He could have been as ugly as homemade sin and I would swoon for him. In fact, both Allie and Walt are described as being plain looking. The thing is he’s intelligent, brave, clever, talented, and, Godly.

In A Memory Between Us, the opposite happens when Ruth Dougherty falls for Jack Novak. Jack is a proud B-17 pilot. Ruth comes from a rough background and has an unbecoming past. The thing is she’s an orphan who went to nursing school, works hard and sends her money home to take care of her younger siblings. I don’t care that she came from the slums and falls for the respectable pastor’s son. She overcomes her past and remains throughout the story, a hard-working woman of virtue.

3 thoughts on “(Not So) Pretty in Pink”

  1. So what do you think makes you like some mismatched pair and not others? What was it about Pretty Woman that you hated? Why did you find Julia Robert’s character, Vivian, so unsympathetic?

  2. I’m digging in the back of my brain about Pretty Woman since I’ve only seen it once and not long after it was released on video. But I think the thing is that Vivian (I’d forgotten her name) was chosen because she was, at least superficially “a pretty face”.
    It was kind of the same thing with Michael Hosea’s character in Redeeming Love. I had to read the entire story and digest that he was acting out of obedience to God.

    Richard Gere’s character didn’t have that motivation so it was a “there’s something about her” sort of reason. Not enough to compel me to like Vivian.

    I don’t like “magical rags to riches stories”. I like ones where the hero or heroine earn the riches by either hard work or as a reward for being obedient to God. I hope that makes sense.
    And it mirrors my own spiritual struggles of believing the non-biblical axiom that “God helps those who help themselves”.

    Oh and for a sense of humor, our Bible study lesson focused on Hosea. And yes, I struggle with being a “Gomer” in God’s eyes (we all are).

  3. I disliked Pretty Woman, too. Only saw it once a few years ago and thought it was some kind of horrible remake of My Fair Lady. I’m honestly puzzled why it’s hailed as a classic romance by so many.

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