Kamis, 17 Mei 2012


HE SAID. SHE SAID. ROM COMS. ERK! By Catharine Lumby & Duncan Fine
May 16, 2012

Catharine and Duncan have been together 15 years and have two boys aged 10 and 12. This week they're debating the genre of the romantic comedy.


Everyone has a movie or two that they love to watch at least once a year. A classic that you can spend one rainy evening, two bowls of popcorn and three glasses of chardonnay with. My sentimental favourite is High Society (above).

Yes, it's based on The Philadelphia Story which was made 20 years earlier but it features Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby falling in and out of love while Louis Armstrong plays trumpet. What's not to like?

In the rom-coms of this era, the men and women talk and act like equals, economically and intellectually. That's how movies worked back then. It started with the screwball comedies of Spencer Tracey, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the 1930s and 40s.

Recently I watched a very different rom-com: Pretty Woman. I did so because I have a whip smart PhD student, Chloe Angyal, who is writing her thesis on rom-coms and how they've become increasingly conservative.

But even reading her clever analysis of the worst of the genre hadn't prepared me for Pretty Woman (above) – a movie from 1990 that sets the feminist movement back by – oh, I don't know – about 400 years.

In case you're one of the lucky ones who has forgotten the plot, a lonely billionaire industrialist pays a prostitute with a heart of gold $3000 to spend the week with him in LA. He buys her expensive clothes and beautiful jewelry and takes her to the opera and French restaurants.

And you'll never guess the ending – they fall in love. How totally plausible.

Pretty Woman is grounded in the Pygmalion myth  – originally the story of a sculptor who rejects real women and falls in love with an ideal ivory sculpture he carves.

The story has been reworked many times – the best known being George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion in which a professor of phonetics bets he can teach a poor girl to speak like duchess. At least Shaw's play mocks Henry Higgins' misogyny and pomposity.

Not Pretty Woman. Richard Gere rides in on a white limo like Prince Charming with a platinum Amex and teaches Julia Roberts to enunciate "the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain of Rodeo Drive" while she's giving him oral pleasure.

Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/said-said-rom-coms-meg-ryan//

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