Film critic Nathan Rabin first identified the trope of the manic pixie dream girl in 2005 as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”
Just because a trope has been identified doesn’t mean it won’t ever be used again, and director Spike Jonze has pulled it out a couple times recently, with Scarlett Johansson‘s disembodied operating system Samantha in Her and Sienna Guillory’s fun-loving robot Francesca in I’m Here. The title of the latter is a reference to Francesca’s street art, because street art is just the kind of thing a manic pixie dream girl would make.
As you can see in I’m Here, things don’t work out so well for Sheldon, played by Andrew Garfield. Some might call that romance. We think it’s more a case of a depressed guy trying to endow his life with meaning by giving himself up entirely.