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Querying Postfeminism in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right

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Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema

Abstract

Against a backdrop of the gay marriage debate and queer fears of homonormativity, the work of Lisa Cholodenko explores (unconventional) family values, sitting comfortably within the domestic-romantic conventions of archetypal postfeminist romantic comedies but with a same-sex twist. She has been championed by newspaper critics from the left-wing Guardian to the right-wing Daily Mail, been awarded by festivals from Sundance to the Oscars, has headlined not only the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (LLGFF) but also the London Film Festival itself.1 Cholodenko’s oeuvre hence encapsulates the contradictions surrounding the figure of the lesbian on the contemporary screen who, at the threshold of the convergence between queer and feminist discourses, is marked by a burden of visibility and invisibility. As LLGFF programmer Brian Robinson recognizes, Lisa Cholodenko’s success is an exception in an industry in which ‘lesbian directors remain marginalised’. ‘How many other lesbians can you name?’, Robinson demands, ‘who have made more than three narrative features?’2 Rare indeed are those intellectually-informed, feminist-helmed, queer-centred films that prove their mainstream potential by garnering Oscar nominations. As rarities, then, the films of Lisa Cholodenko are uniquely situated to assess the intersections and interactions of postfeminism and queer theory in a contemporary society for which popular culture is a major mouthpiece.

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Notes

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© 2013 Clara Bradbury-Rance

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Bradbury-Rance, C. (2013). Querying Postfeminism in Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right. In: Gwynne, J., Muller, N. (eds) Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137306845_3

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