When I delve into chick flicks, two I can watch over and over are French Kiss (Meg Ryan) and She-Devil (Roseanne Barr). What draws me to them, besides the comedy and awesome performances given by great starring and supporting casts? The character arcs. And not just the MCs either.
At the beginning of each movie, Meg and Roseanne’s characters are hidden away from life and what it offers. Roseanne is a frumpy housewife, devoted to her husband and two children. Meg is a school teacher who has a nest egg on stash so she can buy her dream home with her fiancé.
What neither can see is why they’re in these relationships—safety.
When Rosanne’s philandering husband leaves her for famous romance writer, Mary Fisher, and Meg’s fiancé dumps her for a goddess in Paris, they both gotta deal.
Warning: spoilers ahead.
Roseanne is determined to strip her no-good husband of his four most prized assets: Home, Family, Career, and Freedom. Meanwhile, Meg is determined to overcome her fear of flying by getting on a jet to Paris to win back her fiancé.
What clinches both movies for me is during their quests neither woman is aware of their slow transformation. Roseanne is so hell-bent on revenge and Meg is so desperate to win back her fiancé, both ignore their previous fears that kept them in stagnate relationships with the wrong people.
Roseanne finds an ally in Hooper, a nurse at the retirement home, and Meg is befriended by Luke, a daring French thief who wants to start his own vineyard. I love this concept, because it touches on how we need a little help from our friends.
While Roseanne starts an employment agency (focussing on women just like herself) with Hooper, Meg ends up without a passport, broke, and no citizenship, but she doesn’t care since there is too much at stake. She even sleeps out front of the American Embassy.
The big change happens when Roseanne is walking down the street with a new hairstyle and a spring in her step she’d lacked before. Her employment agency is very successful, she’s helped women just like herself, and she’s almost completed her revenge plan on Bob.
As for Meg, she’s on a train to Cannes, eating all sorts of cheese (even though she’s lactose intolerant), wearing only her tank top, when she has a habit of being buttoned to the neck. She’s so busy enjoying her view, I’m wondering if she remembers she’s there to win back her fiancé.
The endings are winners because both women don’t expect anything in return. Roseanne forgives her cheating husband when she sees how much he has changed (they didn’t reconcile, but she is pleased Bob has learned a big lesson thanks to her revenge plan), while Meg anonymously forks over her nest egg so Luke can start his vineyard. Luke, shocked when the cop hands him the money, finally believes in love and gives up his thieving ways.
Roseanne walks away to a new life as a new woman. Meg boards a plane for Canada when Luke appears, declaring his love.
What about you? What are your favourite characters arcs, whether found in movies or novels?