Throwback Thursday: Do Unicorns Really Exist?

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By Kimberly Chng

Fusion Editorial Staff Writer Kimberly Chng took an insightful look back at Fusion’s fantastic first event of this semester, our screening of Leah Meyerhoff’s feature film, “I Believe in Unicorns.”


  As I walked into the theatre, I was greeted with whimsical cardboard clouds and cotton candy drapery dangling from the ceiling. It was like being transported to a foggy memory from my preadolescent years. Watching I Believe in Unicorns, however, felt precisely adolescent; it was like scrolling through a tumblr feed perfectly curated for my awkward sixteen-year-old self. Reels of memories from my teenage years suddenly sputtered all over my brain, latching onto each of my neurons, uncovering forgotten secrets and interjecting them into my train of thought between each scene. I could suddenly revisit my past in a way that I could not have done without the powerful experience of watching this film.

        I Believe in Unicorns tells the story of Davina, a sixteen-year-old girl who has a penchant for fairytales and fantasy. We witness how this mindset affects her relationships with her “prince charming”, Sterling and her multiple-sclerosis suffering mother. I compare this film to the perfect tumblr feed, not because it feels like a stereotypical teenage love story that involves riding into a golden sunset. I say this because of the subjective point of view through which the story is told: through the female protagonist’s eyes. There is one point in the film when Sterling tells her “you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen”, and Davina quickly quips, “and smart too”. Her quick wit reveals her prince charming to be no more than an empty shell, an illusion that she had created in her head. Through the fantastical nature of this film, it shows just how much we idealize and fixate on perfection. We try to escape reality by finding new ways to cover up what’s really there, immersed in the fantasy that we choose to surround ourselves with.

       I watched Davina’s development throughout the film, as her innocuous curiosity transformed into heavyhearted regret, and I was reminded how growing up is a rite of passage we all experience in our lives. That’s why the movie encapsulated the ephemeral nature of youth so well. Youth is fleeting, ever changing, a transitory moment in time we all share. The experience of adolescence and first love crosses all boundaries of culture and age; it plays an integral role in our growth into adulthood. Without these experiences we would be nothing, but we can also still use fantasy to create a place in which we feel comfortable. As adults, perhaps we can all learn something by creating a little fantasy in our very real lives.