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Get Over It: A Midsummer Night’s Teenage Angst

by Oana-Maria Moldovan

A literary adaptation and a witty romcom, let’s talk about the highly underrated 2001 film Get Over It. 

While the movie is relatively unknown, you’ll certainly know its reference point – the hilarious Shakespearean story of falling in love with the wrong person: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A lot can be said about classic literature, especially about the love stories that created modern day tropes. However, many forget they were meant to represent real stories from real life. Well, as real as fairies can get.

Get Over It, just as it’s Bard’s counterpart, is a big fat cliché. 

The whole point of the story is to be both cringe and a tale about stereotypes. Even the casting of Kirsten Dunst as the main protagonist represents one of the most common tropes of 2000s teenage movies. 

On the topic of characters, Get Over It has: the girl next door, a blonde sweetheart, a vicious redhead, an ethnically ambiguous brunette, and a woman of colour that is seen only as a sex symbol in order to villainize another character. We even get a ditzy, hot platinum blonde, too. 

The thing is, it works. This is a slumber party type of movie, it’s supposed to be cheesy and have some embarrassing moments.

As for the story, it goes like this: Kelly loves Berke (her brother's best friend), Berke loves Allison (his ex girlfriend), Allison loves Striker (the new boy band student with a terrible fake British accent), Striker is dating Allison (the hottest girl in school) but cheats on her, attempting to get with Kelly – Allison’s best friend. Did you get all that?

The original Shakespearean play is set in a forest in Athens and revolves around the complicated love lives of four young lovers - and a group of amateur actors. Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is preparing for his wedding to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.

At the same time, Hermia (Allison) is in love with Lysander (Striker), but her father, Egeus, insists that she marry Demetrius (Berke), whom Hermia does not love. However, Demetrius is loved, but by Helena (Kelly).

The four of them – Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius, and Helen – escape to the forest, where the fairy king, Oberon, and his mischievous servant Puck intervene in their romantic entanglements. 

Oberon instructs Puck to use a magical flower to make people fall in love with the first person they see upon waking. But unfortunately, Puck’s mistakes lead to confusion and chaos.

Meanwhile, a group of amateur actors led by the comical Bottom is also in the forest rehearsing a play for the Duke’s wedding. Puck transforms Bottom’s head into that of a donkey as a prank, and the fairy queen Titania, under the influence of Oberon’s magic, falls in love with him.

In the end, the misunderstandings and magical mishaps are resolved, the four main characters are paired correctly, Bottom gets his head back, and everyone is happy – it’s one of Shakespeare’s comedies, what did you expect?

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the mischievous Puck’s actions lead to chaos in the love lives of the characters. Similarly, in Get Over It, the characters’ romantic entanglements are filled with misunderstandings and comedic situations. It’s the central plot after all. 

Both stories involve magical elements that influence the characters’ romantic feelings. The play’s Oberon and Puck use a magical flower to make characters fall in love with the first person they see upon waking. In its movie counterpart, while there may not be literal magical elements, the movie incorporates the magical and whimsical aspects of Shakespearean comedies into its modern narrative.

Aside from an ambiguously gay character, the bad portrayal of women of colour, the ‘cool’ parents actually being neglectful, and an unnecessary BDSM strip club scene, the movie is great. 

It’s great because the story plays exactly like the comic relief Shakespeare intended it to be. It’s a tale about teenage angst and love, and the complicated dynamics and friendships and platonic relationship. Not even the mediocre music can make this film look bad, it’s too much of a perfect modern adaptation. 

In short, this film is what happens when you let former drama kids make an adaptation about drama kids. And we just love it.

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