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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Back to the 80s: ‘Mannequin’

Sometimes artists love their creations too much
Alyssa Branum
The 1987 film “Mannequin” stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall in an unexpected romance of objectophilia love. McCarthy and Cattrall take quirky to new heights. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox, Graphic created in Canva by Alyssa Branum)

The 1987 film “Mannequin” features the uncomfortable theme of objectophilia, as an unemployed artist falls in love with his creation at an unhealthy rate.

Artists love their creations, whether it’s an oil painting, sculpture or even pottery, but artist Jonathan Switcher, played by the actor Andrew McCarthy, takes passion to new heights with a deep lustful attraction to his wooden mannequin.

Jonathan’s attraction to his mannequin sculpture can also be known as objectophilia, which is a sexual attraction to an object, such as a car, table and in this case a wooden mannequin. This can leave viewers grimacing in cringe as the film’s plot unfolds.

RELATED: Back to the 80s: ‘The Burbs’

Jonathan’s beautiful mannequin is a blonde, slender and tall sculpture, played by the “Sex and the City” actress Kim Cattrall.


Jonathan struggles to find a job willing to appreciate his artistic talent. The opportunity of a lifetime soon falls into his lap when he saves store owner Claire Prince Timkin, played by Estelle Getty. To show her gratitude, Claire offers him a job as an assistant window dresser.

With glee Jonathan takes the position and begins his journey at the run-down Prince and Company department store, where he is finally given an outlet for his artistic ability and the chance to reunite with one of his most favorite art works.

Jonathan’s job is to aid Hollywood, played by Meshach Taylor, in creating one-of-a-kind window displays every night. On his first night, Jonathan reconciles with the mannequin he created in the beginning of the film and as he admires his work the figure comes to life.

Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy) and his mannequin creation in the window display of the Prince and Company department store. Jonathan when he first reunites with his creation is astounded to learn that the figure has come to life. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Cattrall plays the titular mannequin Emmy who is placed into a futuristic mannequin’s body that only comes to life before her creators’ eyes, due to an ancient Egyptian magical spell. At first Jonathan can’t believe it and is beyond paranoid by the talking figure, but as the story continues that paranoia turns into love and lust.

The concept of dummies and dolls coming to life is often explored in entertainment. Just like in more modern adaptable films like, “Pinocchio, “Life Size, “Barbie” and “Annabelle, but before all of those films there was “Mannequin.”

“Mannequin” is believed to have been based off a real life event when director Michael Gottlieb thought he saw a mannequin move in real life.

The concept of dolls, mannequins and dummies coming to life is a frightening thought at best, but why Gottlieb decided to turn that frightening thought into a love story still stumps viewers today.

In 2024, a film concept such as this, would have viewers reeling in cringe as a movie plot all about objectophilia isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but in the 80s movie audiences and plots were a completely different thing.

Although even for an 80s film, this movie takes uncomfortably wacky to new heights, as Jonathan’s sexual attraction to his wooden mannequin is absurdly creepy.

As the film progresses, Emmy and Jonathan spend night-after-night creating unique and out of the ordinary window displays, such as their tennis window display and cyclist race display that attract more and more shoppers each day.

Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) driving around town with his mannequin on his true American motorcycle. His mannequin, Emmy, although unlife-like to others, has the ability to come to life only before Jonathan’s own eyes. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

New and exciting developments occur in both Jonathan’s personal and professional life as is promoted to vice president of the department store and commended for the unique displays he creates.

Outside of the theme of objectophilia highlighted in the movie, another odd theme is the struggle with personal identity and perception. This is a common 80s theme, but in a film where the main character is seen confidently carrying around a wooden dummy and making out with it in employee bathrooms, it isn’t tastefully explored.

As the film continues viewers are left to the astonishing climatic moment when after a night of intimate rendezvous, Emmy is stolen from her window post, by the competing department store Ilustra.

Throughout the film Ilustra is portrayed to be the hip and happening of department stores and is jealous of the attention and spark in customers that Jonathan’s window displays brings to the Prince and Company store.

After discovering his love has been stolen from her posed window display, Jonathan desperately races to save her and this is when things truly become hectic.

During his race to get to Emmy, she is placed onto a garbage shoot where Jonathan must be daring enough to climb and save her. This daring act and intimate kiss brings Emmy to life, but this time for real and forever.

Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) and Emmy (Kim Cattrall) in the end after being reunited and discovering that Emmy can be seen by everyone and they can be together for real. In the end, Emmy and Jonathan celebrate their love by getting married in the Prince and Company department store. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

The film concludes with an epilogue of the two getting married and still working at the Prince and Company department store.

A truly unabashedly goofy 80s film. The 80s were a time of goofy and humorous films that tested new themes of adventure, love and character development. “Mannequin” is definitely a film that pushes those concepts to aching new levels.

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About the Contributor
Katelyn Marano
Katelyn Marano, Copy Editor
(she/her) Katelyn Marano is a graduating senior with a major in journalism and a minor in English. She is currently in her second semester here at The State Hornet and is the copy editor for the spring 2024 semester. Katelyn enjoys reading and writing, and hope to take her degree into book publishing.
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