Jerkass Woobie/Film/Animated Films
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- Fagin, from Oliver and Company. For one thing, he has his dogs commit crimes on his behalf, and for another, he writes a letter to a wealthy cat owner saying to bring ransom or never see the cat again. But when you consider what a vicious loan shark is putting him through, you inevitably realize that he's the lesser of evils.
- The eponymous Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He starts out seeming like the monster he appears to be, but we soon learn the anguish he feels about this behavior and how it's prevented him from becoming normal again (he even has a song about it in the Broadway version). His interaction with Belle then steadily pushes him into the realm of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- The eponymous protagonist of Coraline starts off the movie being essentially a self-centered brat, although, arguably, she does have a Freudian Excuse in her distracted parents. She also goes through a lot of heart-wrenching crap: Having to deal with the Other Mother wanting to eat her and keep her for herself and wanting to sew buttons on her eyes as well as nearly loosing her parents and loosing the Other Father and Other Wybie.
- The Lion King
- Zira from Lion King 2 could qualify as this, depending on how you interpret her Freudian Excuse.
- Her son Nuka, however, does qualify. His father chooses an unrelated cub over him, he's portrayed as The Unfavourite to his mother, and seems to be the Butt Monkey of Zira's pride. While he does want power, he also wants to gain the favor and attention of Zira, who is more concerned with Kovu. In the end, he dies trying to prove himself to his mother, and even fails at that. He spends his last breath apologizing to Zira for failing, his death prompting one of the only displays of love and affection that Zira probably ever showed him.
- The hyenas might also qualify. They do attack and almost kill Simba, yes, but they've been exiled from the Pridelands and are mainly following Scar because he promised them food and power.
- No trope could better describe the villain of Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung. He's a snarling, psychotic Arrogant Kung Fu Guy that every single character is terrified of, but his backstory engenders such sympathy that the creators themselves worried that they'd taken it too far.
- Mirage from The Incredibles. Sure, she had a hand in leading numerous superheroes to their deaths, but she's against killing children, nearly dies twice, and her supposed boyfriend, Syndrome, is shown to not care about her when he sadistically goads Mr. Incredible into trying to crush her to death.
- Pinocchio: the naughty boys who were turned into donkeys. Sure, they're jackasses, especially the boy who taunts Pinocchio and gets him to smoke and drink, but upon hearing one sob that he wants to go home to his mother, and watching the aforementioned taunter cry out for his mother and turning into a donkey in front of Pinocchio...damn. The image evokes at least some pity for them.
- Up: Charles Muntz - rejected by the scientific community, eluded by a stupid bird for sixty years, all by himself, going completely insane...it's so tragic...Of course, murdering innocent people because he thought they would take his bird away makes him a bit of a monster.
- Shrek: Prince Charming. After enduring grief and humiliation now that he no longer has the power his mama gave him, all he wanted was his own Happily Ever After... which he probably would have gotten had he not stayed a villain by choice.
- Perfect Blue: Rumi. She ends up delusional and tries to kill Mima. Me-Mania too. Yes, he was a serial killer and attempted rapist... But that's because he was a deformed, barely-functioning schizophrenic who lived only for his perfect image of Mima. The scene where we see his apartment is an enormous Stalker Shrine and that all he wants in life is "the real Mima's" affection was genuinely sad.
- The eponymous character of Megamind fits this trope to a T.
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