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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sean Kelly

A Tale of Two Love Triangles – Pretty in Pink vs. Some Kind of Wonderful

taleoftwotriangles

As part of the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival for Youth, there was a marathon of John Hughes films playing all day today at the Bell Lightbox.  I went to the first two films screened – Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty in Pink.  It turned out to be quite an interesting pairing, since the films turned out to compliment each other nicely.  Both films focus on a love triangle between the main character and two possible love interests; one who’s rich, popular and seemingly perfect and the other who’s the main character’s plutonic best friend, who secretly loves the protagonist.

It’s quite interesting how these films compare and contrast with each other, with the differences being more than just a reversal of genders.  Since I am going to be discussing the endings of both films, I am going to warn you that there are going to be SPOILERS from this point onward.

I’m going to start with Pretty in Pink, which was the first of the two films released.  The film focuses on Andie (Molly Ringwald), who begins a relationship with rich boy Blane (Andrew McCarthy), while Andie’s flamboyant best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) secretly pines for her on the sidelines.  Blane is pressured by his best friend Steff (James Spader) to break-up with Andie right before the prom.  However, she decides to go anyway and is greeted by Duckie waiting for her at the top of the stairs.  However, Blane is also at the prom and seems remorseful about the way he treated Andie.  Duckie urges Andie to go after Blane and they embrace in the parking lot in one of the most Hollywood of Hollywood endings.

It’s somewhat well known by now that Pretty in Pink was originally going to have Andie end up with Duckie.  However, test audiences didn’t respond well to this turn of events.  As such, the ending was reshot so that Andie ends up with Blane, though Duckie gets thrown a bone when a random blonde girl suddenly motions him over.  Ever since, there have been people who have been pining to see the original ending.  The “Everything's Duckie Edition” of the DVD features a  featurette about the original ending and gives multiple reasons why the ending was changed, including Molly Ringwald claiming that she felt Duckie came off as more of a brother to her than a love interest.

Either way, Some Kind of Wonderful, released a year later, seems like John Hughes’ way of apologizing to people who wanted Andie to end up with Duckie.  This film focuses on Keith (Eric Stoltz), who scores a date with popular girl Amanda (Lea Thompson).  All the while, Keith’s tomboy best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) not only has to pine for him on the sidelines, but she also had to put up with constant sexist bullying for the un-feminine way she dresses.

In the ending to this film, Keith has been successful in not only winning Amanda’s affections, but also standing up to her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, with the help of some tough guy friends (the leader of which was played by a young Elias Koteas).  However, Amanda realizes that Watts is the one that Keith truly should be with and urges him to go after her.  As such, we have an ending that is the complete opposite of the ending of Pretty in Pink.

Now, I have to say that neither film has a “right” or “wrong” ending.  I’m sure there are many people who are perfectly fine that Andie ended up with Blane and some people probably wish that Keith stayed with Amanda.  There are always people who choose one side or the other when it comes to love triangles and that’s why they are always fun to debate.

Though I really wish that Andie picked Duckie…

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).