Post-Feminist Rom-Coms and the Existing Female in ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘Legally Blonde’

Legally Blonde and Trainwreck

In the post-feminist romantic comedy, female characters transition from being non-existent objects, into existing, as subjects, in the course of love. … In ‘Trainwreck,’ Amy begins the film as a subject, but ends as an object. Amy’s opposition becomes submission to male desires, for a man, which erases her. In ‘Legally Blonde,’ Elle begins as object, but ends the film as subject. Initially, the gaze of the camera and the characters objectify Elle’s body. But eventually, Elle demonstrates her worth and success outside of male desires and ultimately finds love.

Versions of Yourself: Nora Ephron as Women’s Storyteller

Sleepless in Seattle

In addition to her work in film, Nora Ephron was a journalist, playwright, and novelist; unsurprisingly, her stock in trade is words. Crucially, what she does with these words is to give women room. For these women at the center of her films, there is, above all, space. Space not simply to be the best version of themselves, but all the versions of themselves: confident, neurotic, right, wrong, flawed.

The Love That’s Really Real: ‘American Psycho’ as Romantic Comedy

American Psycho 4

Although primarily a horror film, ‘American Psycho’ has a satiric backbone that appropriates codes from the romantic comedy genre to expose the absurdities of our gender ideals. Director and co-writer Mary Harron’s lens skewers the qualities we find appealing in romantic comedies as terrifying.

When Brienne Met Jaime: The Rom-Com Hiding in ‘Game of Thrones’

Game of Thrones _ Brienne and Jamie

But in that web of gloom, there’s this beautiful shining light: Brienne and Jaime. And while rom-coms are not often praised for their realism, to me, this couple is the most grounded, sensible thing about the show.

‘Laggies’ and the Perils of Success


Lynn Shelton’s best known films, the great ‘Humpday’ and the equally delightful ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ stood out in a similar way. Shelton devised and wrote scripts that became the basis for the actors’ improvisation (with the ‘”‘final draft’ put together in the editing room”)–and made films that seemed fresh and distinct from the usual Hollywood product. Each film had a surprisingly tight structure and was funny in ways that never occured to mainstream filmmakers. As I sat through Shelton’s latest movie, ‘Laggies,’ (which opens this Friday, Oct. 24) I couldn’t help feeling deflated. Shelton’s transformation into a mainstream director is a little like if Bergman had had second thoughts and ended up going on a diet and let Hollywood makeup artists make her unrecognizable.

‘Orange Is the New Black’: The Crime of Passion in Media

OITNB Season 2

‘OITNB’ does not always blame the id. It also wonders whether larger societal forces are culpable too. Take, for instance, adorable Lorna (Yael Stone) a modern day zeitgeist for Bridezillas. As a compulsive shopper, she’s a victim of the consumer industrial complex that taught her happiness and fulfillment can be bought. When a cute man rejects her after one date, she realizes she can’t buy or scam her way into love so it triggers a fatal attraction in her. Pornstache’s adopted patriarchal mindset that women are merely pleasure objects leaves him jobless, in jail, and alone. Officer Healey’s misogyny leads him to procure a “traditional” wife via mail order, only to discover that true companionship can’t be bought or found through biased gender roles.

ABC Family’s Consumerist Christian Ethic

Creepy Christmas critters compel you to watch non-stop holiday-themed specials ABC Family airs its corporate hamfast, 25 Days of Christmas, every December. To ease the fretful nerves of holiday-addicts, they even have a pre-countdown countdown, Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas (my redundancy nowhere near matches theirs.) If you need a fix that can’t be […]