Domestic Melodrama as Genre (Discussion)

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Molly Haskell

  1. Group 6 and 2: What three types of women does Haskell find in the woman's film? Do you see these types in the two melodramas we've viewed: Ordinary People and Imitation of Life? Describe a character in a relatively recent film (say, since 2000) who exemplifies each type.
  2. Groups 3 and 4: What are the woman's film's four main themes? Do you see them operating in the two melodramas we've viewed: Ordinary People and Imitation of Life? Identify these themes in recent films (say, since 2000).
  3. Groups 5 and 1: What impact does the issue of race have on the woman's film? Compare/contrast the white and black mothers (Bea and Delilah, respectively) in Imitation of Life. Discuss how each of them fits the types of women Haskell describes (above) and how Haskell's four main themes do or do not apply to each of them.

If Time Allows...

  1. What theme does Haskell see that entwines the domestic and the romantic? Have you seen it in a recent American film?
  2. How is hostility toward children expressed in the woman's film? Have you seen it in a recent American film?

21st-century melodramas

Film melodramas released since 2000.

Bibliography

  1. Molly Haskell, "The Woman's Film," in From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies (New York: Penguin, 1974; revised edition 1987) 153-188.

Footnotes

  1. In spring 2010, this discussion was combined with Domestic Melodrama Since World War II (Discussion), into Domestic Melodrama as Genre (2010 Discussion).