Memory Cinema: Mannequin (1987)

Mannequin . 1988
Mannequin . 1987

The story of Mannequin involves a woman from Ancient Egypt, named Emmy. The gods curse her as a thing, a mannequin, because she wants to marry for love not status. It’s a spell that lifts through time and lasts until 1987– when she meets Jonathan Switcher.

He puts her together, literally, like he works at a mannequin factory, putting parts together, or he did, but quickly gets fired for working too slowly, for caring too much about this one dewey mannequin.

It’s tragic.

Then, it’s sexy.

They meet again— in a department store, where he finds new employment as a window dresser, creating displays.

Oh, hey. He positions her.

Oh, hey. She feels.

Those hands. I want hands. She thinks. Real hands.

So, she comes alive— well, half-alive.

Only Jonathan sees her as a woman.

Other people see her as a thing.

For fun, they try on outfits, because she’s a mannequin, but also because they’re in a mall and attracted to each other. There’s nothing else to do– but dance a tangled montage which turns into foreplay, until hip window displays happen, which coincidentally usher in droves of business to the department store.

Jonathan garners acclaim and can confidently wear sunglasses.

He’s not just a dummy, just with a dummy, loving it.

With the mannequin by his side, he feels something real— like a successful artist in love. Who cares about crazy? He brings her everywhere— out on his motorcycle, around town. She’s more than a muse, and he sees that, acknowledges that, wants the world to know—

She can build things with her own hands too.

She has hands, you see. Why don’t you see?

This is what love must feel like, what being real must feel like.

Everyone seeing your hands, knowing they are yours.




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