Category Archives: Character Review

Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Leonato

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. The only thing any good parent wants for their child is to be happy and satisfied. The curve in the road comes when said parent has archaic ideas about their offspring does not followed the preferred path.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Leonato, a wealthy landowner has one child, Hero. She is his heir and his whole world. He loves her and cares for her as any father should. Leonato has also in his care, his niece Beatrice. Unlike her cousin, Beatrice is not as pliant and more than willing to share her opinions.

When Hero gets engaged to Claudio, it seems that nothing will stand in the way of their happiness. But the wedding day does not go as planned. Accused of cheating on her fiancé at the altar, Hero faints and is assumed to be dead. When she wakes up, Leonato believes what has heard and gives her a verbal tongue lashing that is laced with disappointment and anger. He calms down when he is convinced that the accusations are nothing but lies.

Pretending that his child is dead, Leonato goes to Claudio and tells him that forgiveness will only come if he marries Beatrice. Claudio agrees, not knowing that his beloved is alive. The play ends with Hero “returning” to life and marrying Claudio, to the delight of Leonato and the rest of the characters.

To sum it up: In 2021, some would say that Leonato is has old fashioned ideas about men and women. Though it is obvious that he is a good father, he is part of a patriarchal society in which virginity is an unmarried woman’s most valuable asset. Even the hint of his daughter having sexual intercourse before saying “I do” is going to create all sorts of trouble. Though by the end of the play, all seems to be forgotten, this writer has to question why the men who condemned based Hero did not ask for forgiveness to the person they hurt the most.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Hero

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. In a patriarchal society, a women’s value is based on her virginity. If g-d forbid she is not a virgin and without a wedding ring on her left hand, her reputation (and in some places, that of her family) is in tatters. She is called all sorts of not so nice names and becomes an outcast.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Hero is one of the play’s protagonists. Young, innocent, and sheltered, she is smitten by Claudio and he is equally smitten with her. Unlike her cousin, Beatrice, Hero is beholden to her father, Leonato. She is also not so quick to make judgements about others and has yet to be exposed to the potential heartbreak that comes with love.

Claudio and Hero get engaged in a blink of an eye and if all goes well, will be married in a week. But trouble, as it often does, comes in the most inconvenient of times. Accused by her betrothed and Don Pedro of cheating on him at the height of the marriage ceremony, she faints. When Hero wakes up, Leonato excoriates her for being sexually active and unmarried. Believed to be dead by Claudio and Don Pedro, Hero returns to life when Claudio publicly takes back his accusation and agrees to blindly marry her, not knowing that she is still alive. When the curtain falls, they ride off into the sunset, with promises of what will hopefully be a bright future.

To sum it up: Hero is the moral center of the play. She is a truthteller, but innocent of the games the people play and the lies they tell. She is also stronger than she appears to be. She accepts Claudio’s apology and is willing to give their relationship another chance. While another woman may just decide that he is not worth the heartache, Hero trusts him and their love enough to put the past behind them. She also appears to forgive her father, which again for some women would be impossible to do.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Claudio

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. The first blush of young love is an experience that forever stays with us. That experience may also include believing whatever we are told instead of thinking for ourselves.

In Much Ado About Nothing, the audience is introduced to Claudio. He is young, naïve, and the protégé of Benedick and Don Pedro. Upon being re-introduced to Hero, the daughter of their host Leonato, he falls head over heels in love with her. She returns his love and they quickly get engaged. But there is a plot a foot to break them up before their life as a couple has even begun. Tricked twice by Don John that Hero is pretending to be in love with him, he believes that she has been unfaithful the night before their wedding.

Publicly humiliating her on their wedding day, he walks away from the ceremony. She faints from his accusations and appears to be dead. Instead of listening to his fiancé and questioning Don John, he continues (along with Don Pedro) to accept the lies he was fed. Then he is challenged by Benedick receives a thorough tongue lashing. Coming to his senses, he goes to Leonato to beg for forgiveness. In the end, Hero accepts his apology and they live happily ever after.

To sum it up: Love at first sight is wonderful, but logic ultimately must intervene. Claudio does not use logic. He quickly gets engaged, not really knowing the woman he is to wed. He also goes along with Don John, not realizing that both he and Hero are being used as pawns to get back at Don Pedro. Though he learns from his mistake and is able to walk into the sunset with the woman he loves, the question of whether he truly learns his lesson still lingers.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Beatrice

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When the one we love walks away, the emotional wound that is created by that loss does not always close quickly or easily. It sometimes festers, creating a wall to prevent future heartbreaks.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice comes off as a confident, smart mouthed, and distrustful of romance. When she meets up with her ex, Benedick, her response is to call him on what she sees as his bullshit. While everyone around them is enjoying their banter, they do not see that she is afraid of being vulnerable, especially in front of the man who she is not quite over. When she hears that he is in love with her, Beatrice loses her armor and becomes hopeful that their relationship will begin again.

Unlike her cousin, Hero, Beatrice is not willing to submit to marry whomever her father approves of. She will only walk down aisle if she can respect herself and be in an equal partnership. In her world, a married woman is legally the property of her husband. She has no right to property, to any income, or even to her own children. The only way to remain in control of her fate and maintain control of financial and/or material assets is to remain single.

The turning point for her narrative is after the aborted wedding of Hero and Claudio. Angered that her beloved cousin’s name and reputation has been blackened, Beatrice rages that the sexist and misogynistic ideas that have ruined her cousin. Though she is unable to challenge Claudio, she and Benedick walk into the sunset. She is no longer afraid of love and more importantly, in love with a man who will not force her to submit the traditional idea of what is it is to be a woman.

To sum it up: Being vulnerable is never easy. It is harder when the person we want to be vulnerable with is the person we love most. The fear of rejection is so prevalent that the immediate reaction is to put up emotional walls and pretend that the we are fine. Beatrice’s initial reaction to Benedick is hide her heart to protect herself. But she eventually learns that putting your heart on your sleeve is not a bad thing. We just need to trust our gut and hope for the best.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Benedick

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Love, as wonderful as it is, can be a bit scary. We want to put ourselves out there, but the fear of having our heart returned to us in pieces can sometimes lead us to lock ourselves away as a form of protection.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick is man’s man. A respected warrior fighting under the flag of Don Pedro, he gets along well with his fellow soldiers. But there is one area in which his bravado is challenged: women. That challenge, to be more specific is in form of his sort of ex, Beatrice. When they meet again after some time apart, they are quick to play a verbal insult game of “top that”. This leads to Benedick advising young Claudio on a possible engagement to Hero, the daughter of their host, Leonato.

At the masked ball, he begs his boss to give him any job that will send him away. But Don Pedro has another idea. He, along with Leonato, Hero, and Claudio, will make Benedick and Beatrice believe that one is in love with the other. That seems to go well, until the marriage ceremony of Hero and Claudio does not go as planned. After everyone else has left, they declare their love for one another. But there is still one obstacle to their happiness: Beatrice declares that if he truly loves her, would kill the man who left her cousin defiled at the alter.

Benedick takes up this charge and the culprit, Don John is brought to justice. The story ends with two weddings, Beatrice and Benedick (who finally publicly declare their love for another another) and Hero and Claudio.

To sum it up: Benedick is a man who loves completely and is loyal to those who love him in return. But that gets complicated when it comes to romantic love and the woman who is his equal, Beatrice. Their mutual past and the internal bruises that have not yet healed hide the true feelings they have for one another, but their hearts are revealed to create a happy ending for all involved.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Christian Stovitz

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Love sometimes makes us believe what we want to believe, regardless of how far from the truth it is. It is up to us to decide if we are devastated from the truth, or accept it and move on.

In Clueless, Christian Stovitz (Justin Walker) enters the scene, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is intrigued. Due to his parent’s divorce, Christian spends one half the year with one parent and the other half of the year with another parent. She immediately sets her romantic sights on him, but her attempts to claim him for herself ultimately fail. Like his literary predecessor, Frank Churchill, he is elusive, but in a different manner.

When her friends tell her that Christian is gay, Cher does not believe it. When they hang out at her house, he prefers to watch a movie than sleep with her. He is oblivious to her unsuccessful attempts to seduce him. Ultimately, they remain friends due to her appreciation of his love of art and fashion.

To sum it up: Not every love interest is going to walk into the sunset with the main character. Sometimes they are better off as friends. opening the door to not only growth for both characters, but for each to find a partner that can make them happy. Christian stands out because his relationship with Cher leads to her ending up with her step-brother, Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd).

P.S. Back in the 1990’s, the idea of members of the LGBTQ community being visible and open with the world was only beginning to find acceptance. Though Christian is just one character, his mere presence in this film is a significant one in the long and hard march towards equality.

This will be the last character post for Clueless. Come back next week to find out the next group of characters I will be reviewing.

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Clueless Character Review: Mel Horowitz

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Being the father of a teenage daughter is a curious and complicated thing. It is obvious that your little girl is no longer a little girl. As much you want to protect them, there comes a point in which they have to be set free.

In Clueless, Mel Horowitz (Dan Hedaya) is the father of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone). A widower and a high priced lawyer who has had several relationships since the death of his first wife, he is also the former step-father of Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd).Though he is none too pleased with some of his daughter’s outfits, he is proud of Cher’s unconventional academic achievements, and her striving to be a better person.

Mel also encourages Josh in his professional future as an environmental lawyer by inviting him to join him on work related projects when additional hands are needed. He also lets Cher get involved, but he gets frustrated by her inability to follow directions.

To sum it up: Mel is no different than any father. He wants the best for his daughter, but he gets aggravated by some of her actions, which to be perfectly frank, are normal for her age. Though he is far from the main character, he is not as clueless (get it?;)) as other parents in the genre.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

P.S. As New York accents go, his is old school in the best way possible.

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Clueless Character Review: Elton Tiscia

I apologize for not posting last week. Life got in the way.

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Every campus has their own BMOC. This person is at the apex of the social hierarchy. If you are seen with this person, your status rises. But this person can also ruin a classmate’s life if they want to.

In Clueless, Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto) is the BMOC. According to Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), he is one of the few boys who it is acceptable for Tai Frasier (the late Brittany Murphy) to go out with. Elton humors Cher by having a picture of Tai in his locker, it is only there because it is Cher he would prefer to be dating. Though he plays the hero when Tai is knocked out by a shoe, Elton is a snob like this literary counterpart, Mr. Elton. When Cher rejects his advances, he deserts her instead taking her home after a party. To make matters worse, Elton starts seeing Amber Mariens (Elisa Donovan) to publicly spite Cher and Tai.

To sum it up: Elton is a first rate asshole. who pretends to be a decent guy. Just because he is a BMOC, he believes that he is entitled to certain things and people. Though he never changes, the people around him do, realizing that Elton is not worth their time.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Travis Birkenstock

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When it comes to love, there is sometimes a tug of war as to whom we want to be with vs. who others think we should be with. In Clueless, Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer) doesn’t exactly rank very high on the social ladder. He is an underachieving skater boy who is looked down on by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and her friends.

When Travis and new girl Tai Fraser (Brittany Murphy) start crushing on each other, Cher steps in. Like her regency era counterpart, Emma Woodhouse, Cher cannot and will not see her friend/protégé hook up with someone who she perceives to be beneath her. Just as Emma convinces Harriet Smith to turn down Mr. Martin’s proposal in favor of a potential match with Mr. Elton, Cher tries to convince Tai that BMOC Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto) is the better choice.

When Elton reveals his true f*ck boy nature, Cher backs off. Tai and Travis are given the opportunity to be a couple and let fate take its course.

To sum it up: It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though Travis may not appear to be anyone’s ideal romantic partner, he is eventually revealed to be a good guy who is the right person for Tai.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Amber Mariens

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. There are two types of people in this world. The first are tried and true, staying with us through whatever life throws at us. The second type have ulterior motives that may or may not be obvious to the people around them.

In Clueless, Amber Mariens (Elisa Donovan) is described by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) as Monet.

“From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess.”

A modern version of Augusta Elton, Amber can be described as a fair weather friend. She hangs out with Cher and her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), but only to gain the access she needs to usurp their social status. When it comes to Cher and Dionne, everything with her is a competition. Though she tolerates Tai Fraser (the late Brittany Murphy) post-makeover, it is only because she has joined their social circle. When she sees an opportunity to hook up with Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto), this adaptation’s answer to Mr. Elton, it is her chance to get one up on Cher and Tai. This is after Elton turns down Tai and Cher rejects Elton’s advances.

To sum it up: If there has to be a baddie in this film, Amber comes pretty close. She is only it in for herself and when the door opens to use her “friendships” to gain the upper hand, she will use it. We, as the audience, may not like her and may see through her, but her existence creates the balance needed to increase Cher’s likability.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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