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Film / Desperately Seeking Susan

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Desperately Seeking Susan is a 1985 comedy-drama film directed by Susan Seidelman, starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna.

It concerns Roberta (Arquette), a bored housewife from New Jersey who follows the saga of Susan (Madonna) and Jim (Robert Joy), two lovers who contact each other through the personal ads. Through a series of complicated events, Roberta is mistaken for Susan, who is being hunted by a criminal who wants some earrings she stole. When Roberta hits her head she gets amnesia, and when a friend of Jim named Dez (Aidan Quinn) mistakes her for Susan, Roberta goes along with it. And that's just the beginning of the story.....


This film provides examples of:

  • Amnesia Danger
  • Catchphrase: Susan's "Good going, stranger!"
  • Celebrity Paradox: At least one scene features Susan dancing to a Madonna song. See also Actor Allusion in Trivia.
  • Easy Amnesia: Roberta loses her memory when she bangs her head on a pole. She regains it when she hits her head on the ground.
  • Jerkass: Although Susan is fairly affable and doesn't seem to be deliberately malicious, her callous behavior and constant mooching off or taking advantage of everyone she meets puts her more in this trope than Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: Gary's Oasis.
  • Identity Amnesia: Roberta gets amnesia and starts to think she is Susan.
  • MacGuffin: The Egyptian earrings Madonna steals
  • Mistaken Identity: Roberta is mistaken for Susan constantly throughout the movie.
  • Advertisement:
  • Nice Guy: Dez
  • Noodle Implements: In-universe when Roberta is mistakenly picked up for solicitation while carrying a cage of doves and put into a car with another prostitute, the other prostitute asks her, "What do you use the doves for?"
  • Noodle Incident: Some of the reasons why people chase Roberta-as-Susan off.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Roberta has sex with Dez after getting her memory back, probably at least partly because she thought her husband was cheating on her (he actually was, but not in the circumstances she believed he was).
  • Tap on the Head: Roberta hits her head twice in the movie and suffers no damage aside from brief Easy Amnesia.
    • It's also how Roberta knocks out the guy who is chasing her and has caught up to Susan.
  • The '80s: Susan in particular rocks an extremely Eighties-tastic wardrobe. Because she wears Susan's clothes for a big part of the movie, Roberta by extension does this as well.


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