I saw Maleficent last night, and I loved it. Since it’s been out for a little while and this is my blog, I’m going to go ahead and feel free to talk about all sorts of spoilery things. But first let me say that I thought it was fabulous. I loved Angelina Jolie—fake cheekbones and all.
I was especially curious about the motivation the writers were going to give this iconic villainess. Particularly because about 8 months ago I tried to do the same thing in a short story. Oddly, the writers of the movie and I both decided that the way to make Maleficent vengeful is to give her a past romance with Aurora’s father. It makes me want to reconsider my story, reconsider why a woman would carry that much rage, reconsider whether it has to be that she was wronged by a man. But that’s maybe a discussion for another day.
In that same vein, there are all sorts of things that could be said about the… ok, it was basically a rape scene. I’m sure someone else has already dissected that scene, so I don’t need to do that here. But here’s what I will say: I teared up when Maleficent woke up and discovered her violation and betrayal. I absolutely wanted to cry and rage with her.
My strongest feelings about this movie, though, are in regards to Maleficent and her love for Aurora. Philip is… incidental to the story, a nod to the original Disney story and it’s “romance.” Not having him in the movie at all would have been weird, and it would have been overly noticeable. But at the same time, I thought he had a little too much presence for the role he actually plays. Would the movie have been all that different if his first appearance had been at Aurora’s coronation by the fairies? My gut says probably not. Although, it is wonderful that this movie acknowledges that it’s sort of silly for teenagers to fall in love at first sight…
But let’s be honest: it’s Maleficent’s love for Aurora that breaks the curse. In a very real way, the real love story in this movie is between Maleficent and Aurora.
And yes, I mean that in all the ways you might imagine I could mean it. Motherly affection? Absolutely. That seemed to be how the movie wanted it to be portrayed, and it was well done. But could it also have had more romantic undertones? Sure, and I would have been happy to see that too.
Because really, do even fairies age the same way humans do? If Maleficent is functionally immortal barring something killing her, I can absolutely see a more adult Aurora and Maleficent being lovers. Aurora had a true and pure delight in the fair folk that I think had a lot to do with how she charmed Maleficent in the first place. And I think that that delight coupled with the affection the two already shared with each other could easily have turned into something more. I can easily see Aurora ruling both kingdoms, and ruling them well, with Maleficent at her side. I can see Maleficent supporting her when she seeks to produce an heir—without tying herself to a king, of course. And I can see Maleficent, eternally young, refusing to leave as Aurora grows older and older.
But that would have been a different movie, I suppose.