A Virgin or personal growth story is the journey inwards to know yourself and be yourself. Here are 8 variations of the Virgin story with examples. The explanations refer to the Virgin as “she” (because it is shorter than “he or she”) but notice that the examples have male and female protagonists.
1. Coming of Age
This is probably the first type of movie people think of when they think of a Virgin story. Virginity is awakening to the realization that through listening to her body and her inner voice, a person can connect to something wonderful and authentic. It is learning through the impulse for joy.
a. Shakespeare in Love
Gwyneth Paltrow won one of the movies 7 Oscar®’s for this.
Oscar® winning script written and directed by Spike Jonze.
2. Coming of Age Sucks
Following your impulse for pleasure makes you vulnerable to the environment you live in. Sometimes this goes really badly. Yet, even in this, there can be the realization that you deserve to feel joy and your intuition is your best guide.
a. Virgin Suicides
b. Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee directed this modern classic to three Oscars®.
c. The Accused
Jodie Foster gives an Oscar®-winning performance as the hard-living fiercely independent Sarah Tobias, who is gang-raped in the back of a neighbourhood bar.
d. An Education
n the post-war, pre-Beatles London suburbs, a bright schoolgirl is torn between studying for a place at Oxford and the rather more exciting alternative offered to her by a charismatic older man. Written by Nick Hornby, the writer behind High Fidelity and About A Boy:
3. Dreams Come True
Often a person has a dream, even though there is no tangible proof it could come true. You just have to believe. And then get out there and grow into it.
a. Working Girl
I don’t know how long I can leave this full movie up. when I first saw it I thought it was going to be a rom-com and ended up bawling my eyes out. Hum. enjoy.
b. Bend It Like Beckham
It’s always great to see a movie made by Raindance members do really well.
c. October Sky
Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) rebels against his small town ideals by learning rocketry.
d. World’s Fastest Indian
Anthony Hopkins stars as Burt Munro, a man who never let the dreams of youth fade.
After a lifetime of perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle, Burt set off from the bottom of the world to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. With all odds against him, he set a new speed record and captured the spirit of his times. Burt Munro’s legend lives on today.
4. Realizing your talent
– Everyone is born with a star inside them that longs to be brought to life. Sometimes it is a talent to share with the world. In the beginning, it needs to be nurtured in order to reach its full potential. The Virgin has to see her potential and decide she is worth the effort.
a. Little Voice
World-class stars Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters), Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies) and Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) deliver acclaimed performances in an inspirational story about a painfully shy young woman and how the power of music leads her to an amazing transformation!
b. Billy Elliot
5. Awakening to your authentic nature/worth
– belonging is one of the biggest drives in being human. The first step is to connect to yourself even when the environment says you are not good enough. The Virgin is on a journey to know she is worthy of love and belonging just for being herself. She can find an environment that supports this but mostly she has to believe it in her heart.
a. Lars and the Real Girl
b. The Way, Way Back
The funny and poignant coming-of-age story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter Steph (Zoe Levin).
c. Pretty Woman
The movie that revealed Julia Roberts!
Edward is a rich, ruthless businessman who specializes in taking over companies and then selling them off piece by piece. He travels to Los Angeles for a business trip and decides to hire a prostitute. They take a liking to each other and he offers her money if she’ll stay with him for an entire week while he makes the “rich and famous” scene (since it doesn’t do for a man of his stature to be alone at society parties and polo matches). Romantic comedy (and complications) ensue.
d. The Breakfast Club
Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy are five students in Saturday detention with nothing in common except each other.
e. Fight Club
An insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.
6. Coming Out of the Closet
– a special variation of Coming of Age where being yourself is at odds with the values of the people you are related to. Belonging is threatened as well as self-acceptance.
a. Brokeback Mountain
b. Better Than Chocolate
A sexy romp of love and lust with surprising results. Maggie meets the woman of her dreams, Kim, just hours before her mother, Lilia, and brother, Paul, move in with her. When the four end up sharing a loft, Maggie believes she must keep her affair a secret but it is Maggie?s clandestine romance that inadvertently introduces her family to a host of new experiences, all of which are potentially better than chocolate.
c. The Children’s Hour
Directed by William Wyler and starring James Garner, William Mims, Jered Barclay, Florence MacMichael, Shirley MacLaine. A troublemaking student at a girl’s school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.
7. The Rebel Virgin
Heroes preserve and protect what already exists but Virgins tend to shake things up a bit. When she looks inside herself and connect to her authentic voice, “that’s not how we do things” seems pretty irrelevant. Virgins are original versions of themselves and often this brings much-needed change to the kingdom.
a. Whale Rider
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfil a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.
b. Varsity Blues
In small-town in Texas where high school football is king, the hopes and dreams of the entire community are on the line every Friday night.
c. Dead Poet Society
d. The Help
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, The Help stars Emma Stone (Easy A) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (Doubt) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny — three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.
8. The Anti-Virgin
– this is where the community is rooting for the Virgin to come into herself and live her best life but she is too rooted in the fear based world or the world of putting herself second to actually connect to herself.
a. The 40 Year Old Virgin
Comedy sensation Steve Carell plays a nice guy who has lived his whole life without making it, but now his misguided pals are helping him to score– and maybe even find true love.
b. Mean Girls
Raised in the African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) thinks she knows about “survival of the fittest.” But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time and falls prey to the psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today.
Personally, I love the older movies. I bet you can think of movies you have seen that fit with one of these variations. These are Virgin stories and they follow the 13 beats of The Virgin’s Promise. Trying to tell these stories with a hero structure is like expressing your love by trying to control the outcome. Crazy.
Kim Hudson comes to London 2-3 December to teach her brand new course Writing Stories of Personal Growth: Screenwriting from a Feminine Perspective