To what extent should a work be held responsible for its fans? All forms of entertainment have in some way influenced their audiences in ways that far exceed the original creator’s vision or message, from classic works of literature to music, plays, films and more. Famous examples are Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein and the ancient Greek tragedy of Oedipus rex, each carries a controversial legacy due to misunderstandings surrounding the original work.
Movies are, of course, no different and can be misinterpreted for a variety of reasons, from poor marketing and being too ahead of their time to the dangers when fan bases become more recognizable than the movie itself: sometimes people miss the point entirely. While no film has a single, objective meaning, some readings can be shockingly different from what the work is trying to say.
“The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)
What if Nate really was not the real villain of The devil Wears Prada? Okay sure he was an incredibly immature and unsupportive friend to Andy (Anne Hathaway) and deserves criticism more than well, but the audience’s acrimony behind Nate largely overshadowed the film’s message about the dangers of a toxic workplace through the cutthroat world of girl-boss capitalist capitalism, downplaying the cruelty and entitlement inflicted on her by the selfish “devil” character by Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep).
Nate has even been described as the villain of Adrian Grenier, the very actor who portrayed him. This was likely inspired by contemporary discussion of the film, although it’s fair to say that The devil Wears Prada is a film nuanced enough to involve many different “villains”, with each character having their flaws and traits. The main criticism Nate and the rest of Andy’s friends receive is that they don’t support their career even though it’s physically and mentally demanding. She begins to lose her core values and sense of identity. They could have been a bit more tactful and understanding, and let’s face it, they’re quite annoying, but let’s not pretend that the hellscape created by Miranda and the workplace of fear is something that should be allowed, one’s own life to take over.
‘(500) Summer Days’ (2009)
This anti-romantic rom-com challenges the modern notions of love and relationships that films perpetuate, and even tells the audience head-on that they are Not a Lovestory. Still, the chemistry between hopeless romantic Tom (Joseph Gordan-Levitt) and summer (Zooey Deschanel) fits all the clichés of the romance novel genre, especially as it is mainly told from Tom’s eyes and perspective. He views this relationship through rose-tinted glasses and doesn’t expect it to end, leaving him utterly devastated when it inevitably does.
Because the film is played through Tom’s eyes, audiences feel compelled to empathize with Tom and see him as a victim, with Summer as the ultimate villain, though she expresses that she doesn’t want a long-term relationship. Summer isn’t the villain: she didn’t “lead” him. Tom isn’t a bad guy either: it’s understandable to feel for Tom, but his role as the unreliable narrator is to show the audience that this romantic craze of finding the ‘one’ is unhealthy and out of touch with reality. He couldn’t see Summer as anything other than his idealized dream girl.
The hyper-masculine and money-hungry world of 1980’s Wall Street has never been so excellently portrayed and satirized Mary Harrons masterpiece american psycho. However, his portrayal of violence and misogyny has been controversial. The film never attempts to glamorize or celebrate the exploits of Patrick Bateman (Christian Balle), although, as with most films with an anti-heroic (and in this case, downright villainous) lead, the film’s focus on Bateman can be misinterpreted as validation of his actions.
Offering intense critique and investigation into how capitalism and obsession with wealth and social status have eroded its protagonist’s mental and moral well-being, the film is less a gory celebration of violence and more an introspective black comedy and satire about how the American culture has allowed this violence to flourish.
‘Jennifer’s Body’ (2009)
Hailed today as a feminist horror cult classic, it was considered such when it first premiered anything but. This was mainly due to the incompetent and obscene marketing of pure advertising Megan Fox‘s sex appeal, completely diminishing the film’s actual plot and intentions regarding female autonomy. It wasn’t just incredibly disrespectful Diablo Cody‘s script and Karen Kusama‘s direction, but it also meant the film was brushed aside and didn’t get the proper spotlight it deserved at the time.
Thankfully, in recent years the film has garnered appreciation and recognition as a staple of feminist horror, particularly in light of the MeToo movement. The promotion of Jennifer’s body will probably go down in film history as one of the worst-run endeavors, although there’s a silver lining that it’s finally being revered in recent years. It really was just too far ahead of its time, even if it fumbled the first time.
“Fight Club” (1999)
Arguably the most famous example of a film being grossly misinterpreted by its fans, David Fincher‘s fight club is at first glance a film about accepting toxic masculinity and celebrating human violence on a grand scale. However, that’s not what the film is trying to say; Instead, there is an astute observation of how mass consumption affects one’s psyche and that simply replacing that intense boredom with a “tough guy” personality is just as numbing to one’s soul.
The brilliance of fight club is his rallying cry against capitalism and the idea of working hard to make the false fable of the “American Dream” a reality, and reflects the mood and disillusionment felt by Gen-Xers who are unable to live up to the to enjoy the world that Baby left them Boomer. It is truly tragic that so many people ignore this fundamental message and instead focus on the gory violence and brutality depicted in the film fight club Fanboys are striving for a new, equally false, “American Dream” defined by power, hyper-masculinity, and control over others.
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https://collider.com/fight-club-and-other-movies-that-were-misinterpreted-by-fans/ ‘Fight Club’ and 4 Other Great Movies That Were Misinterpreted by Fans