Young Scarlett Johansson and the Liminal Perspective
This chapter explores the early period in Johansson’s career. While Johansson gained notoriety as a starlet in her late teenage years, she began her acting career at age eight. Reflecting upon Johansson’s film roles from 1996 to 2001, Monaghan reads Johansson’s emergent star persona through theories of child stardom and the framework of ‘liminality.’ Drawing on analyses of Manny & Lo (Lisa Krueger, 1996), The Horse Whisperer (Robert Redford, 1998), An American Rhapsody (Éva Gárdos, 2001), Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001) and The Man Who Wasn’t There (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2001), Monaghan highlights how Johansson’s roles present liminal perspectives to destabilise dominant representations of girlhood on screen. Through her analysis, Monaghan argues that this liminality, established in Johansson’s early career, contributes to the understanding of Johansson as a contemporary star.
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