Garry Marshall – Auteur Theory
An auteur is a filmmaker whose movies are characterized by their creative influence. Garry Marshall is an American filmmaker, he has directed more than 15 films in his career. Garry Marshall’s films The Princess Diaries, Valentines Day and Overboard share a common theme of love and a genre of romance and comedy, he likes to use the same actors in his films and have the common plot of a double twist. Garry Marshall likes to keep to the same character persona and film techniques but these generalized similarities are not obvious to the audience, therefore Garry Marshall is not a recognizable Auteur.
Romance and comedy are commonly used in combination as a genre in films. Garry Marshall prefers the romantic-comedy genre to entertain audiences as well as educate them on reality. His main message behind these films is that life is not a fairytale and it doesn’t always turn out the way it is planned or expected to. For example in Valentines Day Reed proposes to his girlfriend on the morning of Valentines Day, he is overjoyed when she says yes until he comes home later on in the movie to find that she is leaving him.
Another example is in The Princess Diaries when Mia’s life is turned upside down after she finds out that she is a princess, she soon learns that being a princess isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. While all of these films share a similarity in their message and the genre, Garry Marshall’s work is not instantly recognizable due to the fact that there are so many other films, directed by different filmmakers that are similar in their message and the genre.
Love is a theme that is a favorite of Garry Marshall, this is evident throughout many of his films. He likes to use this theme in combination with the genre romance-comedy to entertain the audience and convey his message in a lighthearted, humorous manor. His main point is that love, like life is unexpected and it doesn’t always turn out as it is imagined. An example of this message is in the film Valentines Day when Reed and his best friend fall in love after their unpleasant breakups. Also in Overboard when Johanna, an exceedingly rich woman falls in love with Dean, a needy carpenter. Likewise in The Princess Diaries Mia eventually realizes that even though Josh is the most popular boy in school, he isn’t really as extraordinary as he seemed. Although these films are all delivering a similar message, it is too small a similarity to make Garry Marshall an Auteur.
Garry Marshall doesn’t like to have anything too complicated about a characters personality in his films. He likes to have a range of different persona’s in his movies. For example in The Princess Diaries the limousine driver Joseph has a very serious manner, he is always seen wearing black sunglasses and this gives him a mysterious and unknown outlook.
Throughout the movie Joseph is always there for Mia. Like Joseph, in Overboard Johanna’s butler Andrew is a character that you don’t see much of, he is always very refined and proper. He is mostly seen waiting on Johanna. Both characters are not seen in the film much but very important to the film. In Overboard Johanna is presented as a very conceited woman, she is never happy with what she gets and is always seen ordering someone around, this makes her a very unlikable character.
Like Johanna, the character in The Princess Diaries Lily has a bad attitude and likes things to be her way, she is very loud and has a dominating nature, this makes her unlikable by the audience. In both films the characters become more bearable when they become less self centered and focus on the well being of those around them. In Valentines Day Julia is portrayed as an innocent character, in this film she is very kind and loving, making her a likable character.
Like Julia, in The Princess Diaries Mia is a very quiet, shy person, she is also portrayed as the innocent character that is liked by the audience. These two characters both have a point in the film where they get anxious and start to doubt themselves but in the end they overcome that doubt and make a decision that will change their lives. It is very important when choosing the actors for a film that the right ones are chosen and they fit the part. Garry Marshall prefers to use certain actors in his films.
For example, New Years Eve, Valentines Day and The Princess Diaries all have similar actors, one that is common to all of them is Hector Elizondo, in all of these films he plays a character that doesn’t have much revealed about himself. Other actors that are common to these films are, Ashton Kutcher (Valentines Day and New Years Eve), Jessica Biel (Valentines Day and New years Eve) and Anne Hathaway (Valentines Day and The Princess Diaries). Although these films all have common actors and similar characters but it is not evident to the audience, for that reason, Garry Marshall is not an Auteur.
It is noticeable in these films that Garry Marshall has kept a similar plot. He likes to have a double twist and several complications throughout the film to keep the audiences interest. For example in The princess Diaries Mia has to overcome many problems along the way of becoming a princess, like her fear of public speaking, juggling school with princess lessons, keeping her identity a secret and then dealing with the madness when her school finds out about her heritage and finally making the decision whether to accept the responsibility of becoming a princess or to live a normal life.
In Overboard Johanna has to make the giant leap from being a conceited rich woman to living in a second-rate home and becoming a mother. She has to overcome the expectations of her rich husband and her mother and come to terms with her new feelings for Dean. These similarities are very generalized and they are not evident to the audience, therefor it does not make Garry Marshall an auteur.
It is evident when analyzing Garry Marshall films that he likes to use the same techniques during a scene including music, camera shots and scene transitions. Garry Marshall commonly uses Romantic, affectionate music that reflects the theme and genre and also indicates the mood to the audience, giving them a sense of what type of movie it will be.
For example, in Valentines Day the song in the opening scene is titled ‘Hey I love you” by Michael Frantti, this creates a romantic, happy mood for the audience and reveals to them that it will be a film about love. In The Princess Diaries they have a very soft, flowy song that plays throughout the film, it gives the audience a calming feel and sense that everything is going to be okay. Even though both of these films have a similarity in music, it is still a small similarity and isn’t enough to make Garry Marshall a recognized Auteur.
There are many small similarities between these Garry Marshall films but for an audience these similarities are too small and unrecognizable. An auteur is a filmmaker whose movies are characterized by their own creative influence. Garry Marshall’s films are too mainstream in their creativeness for the genre, theme, plot and film techniques to make him an accepted auteur in society.