Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns, and the Danger of Falling in Love at the Movies

Why do we watch movies? Outside of a need for entertainment, or to learn something about the human condition. Speaking for myself, I go to the movies to fall in love.
Falling in love with a character from a film approaches the spiritual, and I can recall my cinematic crushes as vividly as Mr Bernstein could recall the girl with the white parasol. Glorious technicolor beauties with dulcet voices, captured in two dimensions and shared with strangers around the globe.
Selina Kyle Blu RayNicole Kidman in To Die For. Audrey Tautou in Amelie. Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation. Meg Ryan in … well, virtually everything, but especially Flesh and Bone. And Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns.
Mousey Girl in GlassesOh Michelle! Did you have any idea what you were doing when you stepped into Catwoman’s knee-high boots? Did you deliberately set out to inflame my desire and bend me to your will?
You played the mousey secretary-turned feline femme fetale with such relish, such joy, how could I not fall in love with your performance. The forces you unleashed were powerful, maybe too powerful for this viewer.
I was a teenager in 1992, when Batman Returns hit the big screen. Sat in the circle of the Palace Cinema, I wanted to hug Selina Kyle; I wanted to make her smile, I wanted to to save Catwoman. Only by looking back, can I name my pain: heartache. I’m no psychologist, but I’d guess you’re never too young to fall in love and have your heart broken, and Michelle Pfeiffer did it to me in just 126 minutes, one warm July night, in sleepy, small-town Stalybridge.
Crushing on CatwomanOf course the great sadness of falling in love with film characters, is that once the credits roll, it’s all over. You’re free to watch the film again and again, but you’ll only be revisiting a memory. You can only fall in love once, and like the hopeless romantics who exchange brief-but-meaningful glances from across train carriages, you’re doomed to relive those moments time and again.
Nine LivesWe might only fall in love once, but if the string of names I reeled off above are any indication, I might be wrong. Thank you, Michelle, Meg and many others for giving me a reason to go to the movies. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read the rest of the entries in the blogathon.

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23 responses to “Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns, and the Danger of Falling in Love at the Movies

  1. Ah, love your post too! I’m sitting here with a big grin on my face. Those memories, that feeling (even today) of falling in love with characters and the actors/actresses who portray them. You’re spot on with only being able to have that special falling-in-love feeling once though…the subsequent viewings just aren’t the same – the first time has a special magic.

    • We may have different crushes, but I’d say we’re kindred cinematic spirits. Thanks for your comment!

      • I was thinking exactly the same thing earlier today. With Meg Ryan “the” romantic comedy lady. This blogathon has been awesome – I’m now on a memory-lane trip and pulling out my DVDs…oh my…I have some serious watching to do…

  2. Ah yes, the magic of developing a crush on a character the first time you see a movie. You’re right – it’s never the same with subsequent viewings.

    I love the enthusiasm of this entry, especially your description of sitting in the theatre on a warm July evening.

    Thanks for joining the blogathon, and for bringing Michelle P. to the party!

  3. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Day 1 – Silver Screenings

  4. Michelle remains the best character in ‘Batman Returns’, bar none.

  5. Truly wonderful piece of writing! –Paul

  6. Michelle Pfeiffer was stupendous in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Would have got her an Oscar any other year I suppose.

  7. “Speaking for myself, I go to the movies to fall in love.” It’s so hard not to. I really loved reading this. Michelle’s Catwoman is truly alluring.

  8. Great post! I know exactly how you feel. I wanted Batman and Catwoman to live happily ever after. To me the great missed opportunity of my childhood films were trilogy cappers for Superman and Batman that closed the stories of those heroes but also completed the courtships with Lois and Catwoman that were developed in such complicated and interesting ways in the first sequels of each. Alas Margot Kidder got booted for Superman 3 and Nicole Kidman was wasted in Batman Forever (looking sexy as hell mind you) with Michael Keaton not coming back either. The chemistry between those 2 onscreen couples shouldn’t have been so poorly wasted.

  9. Love the shout out to Citizen Kane, we all have girls with parasols we remember. The genius of Welles to write that scene.

    • I’m glad you picked up on my Citizen Kane reference. I’m sometimes disappointed when I watch certain “classic films” for the first time, but Welles blew me away with Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil!

  10. allendemir

    I don’t think Pfeiffer’s done a lot of action movies (the only other one I can think of is Ladyhawke, which I’ve only heard about), and she did a spectacular job. Anne Hathaway had too much to live up to when she stepped into the same role.

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