One of the most popular movies of the year, Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie received a great amount of praise and also served as a topic of conversation for many of the metaphors within the film, one being how the storyline reflects modern-day relationships. That is not to say that all relationships are representing how audiences saw the connection between Maleficent and her male counterpart, Stefan, played by Sharlto Copley, it is simply a bold statement in the film industry to bring awareness to the happenings of certain domestic issues.
One of the more controversial topics discussed about the film is that of the heart-wrenching scene where Stefan tears off Maleficent’s glorious wings after drugging her to sleep. Jolie confirmed that she and the company were fully aware that this scene in particular was a metaphor for rape. Before readers jump to any rash conclusions, it is not intended to compare the majority of today’s relationships to a rape scenario, that is the most extreme case possible. Jolie explained the scene’s importance as it is a movement of awareness and also the act of taking the wings in the film is initially what causes Maleficent to fall into darkness and hatred, very similar to how victims of life-changing crimes, such as rape, react.
To further the lineage of the film’s storyline and modern relationships, it is seen within the chemistry between Stefan and Maleficent how two people are drawn to each other from pure fascination with the other’s drive and ambition. Maleficent yearns to protect her fairy realm of the Moors and see peace between humans and fairies. Stefan longs to rise from his beginnings of poverty to reign as king and live in the grandest of castles. Stefan initially wishes peace between the two races, just as his fairy friend does. The two gradually move from childhood into adolescence and with the growth of their bodies, their relationship grows as well. The two fall in love and all seems as perfect as it can be. The fault begins when Stefan’s drive overcomes him and his ambition turns to folly and negligence towards Maleficent.
At least one partner in a modern-day relationship will suffer from the same faults as Stefan. Said partner, or sometimes both partners will put all of their attention towards a worldly factor or a similar pleasure that creates a lag in the relationship. Upon Stefan’s return to Maleficent, he greets her welcomely, but with different intentions this time. Maleficent is angered by Stefan’s neglectful ways, but quickly forgives him when it seems all is as it once was. So many partners yearn for that sense of familiarity once again and will excuse nearly anything to have that feeling back. In too many cases, the tables turn and those partners “get their wings tore off.” Not to say the other partner always rapes the Maleficent model, that would be incredibly horrific. The representation comes when the Stefan model in the relationship “screws one over” per se. The issue could be stealing money, using for sex or many other darker actions.
Linda Woolverton, screenwriter of Maleficent knew exactly what she was doing in comparing her script’s storyline to the relationships of the modern world. One can only hope that someday these stories will only be found in fairytales.
Opinion by Cody Collier