Somewhere within the first 30 minutes of Top Five, I knew it was happening. I was developing a crush on Chelsea Brown, the intelligent, straightforward, free-spirited, recovering alcoholic journalist played by Rosario Dawson. Here’s an exemplification: After 2012, any guy or girl with that asymmetric, shaved at one side hairstyle (aka Skrillex hair) was basically a wannabe in my book. Yet Chelsea/Rosario wore it with a seriousness and confidence that made it work. She wasn’t a wannabe hipster, she was a young intellectual.
She’s flawed for sure, the sobriety chip, the young daughter, the failed romances, she’s nowhere near perfect but perfectly imperfect (call me John Legend). She lies, hooks up with her subject (a pretty controversial movie trope) and holds on to relationships she knows are past their expiration date, but it’s that warts-and-all portrayal of a female character that actually makes me like her for being complex.
Now this isn’t the first time I’ve had this problem, and I can tell from experience I’m not the only person with this problem either. People do tend to search for an ideal partner in characters they see on the screen. It’s the stars aligning with writers, actors, and directors doing their jobs exceptionally. It’s been an ever-growing list for me, though mostly with small-screen women: Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, Maeby Funke, Peta Wilson’s Nikita, Maggie Q’s Nikita, Laurel Castillo, the list goes on. I guess I’m definitely into the headstrong and inquisitive.
Sure they’re not real, but they’re formed from fragments of different real people. Christian Grey is a BDSM fanatic from a book with questionable prose, women have still fantasized about him, and Captain America, and Edward Cullen, heck even Jack Sparrow! And the guys, don’t even get me started on fanboy tourneys based on female action characters. My interests are simply less fantastical(barring a vampire slayer and a rogue spy of course). Although the trap of raised expectations in the real world persists.
But on the big screen particularly, a Chelsea Brown is still kind of rare. She does help the male lead, Chris Rock’s Andre Allen, go through his own story arc, but not just as his foil or love interest. She has her own narrative, in fact a good chunk of Top Five tells her story, making her fully-formed and that much more appealing. Her mistakes in life made her better and smarter, and there is nothing to be changed, not even the haircut.