Screen Women Essay

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‘Romantic comedy is undeserving of its reputation for being ‘un-feminist’, since it holds a critical light up to romantic bargaining, the sexual economy and shifting cultural standards’. Discuss this statement in relation to two post-1990 Hollywood romantic comedies.

The aim of this essay is to discuss why romantic comedy is undeserving of its reputation for being ‘un-feminist’. This statement will be discussed by close analysis of two post-1990 Hollywood romantic comedies such as Something’s Gotta Give (Nancy Meyers, 2003, USA) and Bridget Jones’s Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001, UK).
Romantic comedy films which are also known as ‘‘romcoms’’, are a sub-genre of comedy films and romantic films which can be traced back from the ‘‘screwball
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Hilary Radner has noted Nancy Meyers as being neo-feminist because of her view of heterosexual men whom she often portrays as being highly disadvantaged up to the point of suffering a disability and her obvious interest in older women who are portrayed as very successful career women (2011). Her films which are targeting the female audience, as Radner observes, are combining two major disabilities as impediments to love: masculinity and advancing age. Meyer based her film Something’s Gotta Give on her own experience as a singleton in her fifties, making Diane Keaton an even bigger star persona who won a Golden Globe, an NBR Award and also a Golden Satellite Award for her role in the film, as Erica. Keaton’s character Erica Barry is thin and fit with a natural look and mid-length hair. When she appears in her ‘date’ dress which is a classic little black dress (LBD was highly popularized by Chanel) she catches the eye of both Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) and Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves). Radner claims that Erica functions as an alter ego of director Nancy Meyers whose stylistic choices somehow displace Keaton’s established persona, as Keaton herself stated ‘‘Clearly, Erica is more Nancy than me’’ (Hilary Radner, 2011: 175). The film tells the story of Erica, a divorced playwright in her fifties who falls in love with her daughter’s much older boyfriend, Harry Sanborn who is a playboy known for dating only young women. Doctor Julian
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