The Null Device

Feel-Good Brit Flicks

An article in The Times takes apart the genre of Feel-Good Brit Flicks:
The Germans have given us the paranoid depths of Expressionism, the Italians created Neo-Realism, the French have perfected brooding Melodramatic Existentialism, while the British bask in the bathetic glow of a plucky little yokel, a couple of nude scenes and a happy-clappy sing-song finale.
It's no wonder, then, that the FGBF is terrified by modern realities. It tentatively flirts with difficult issues such as race, gender roles and sexuality, yet it does so merely for narrative frisson and is quick to reassert the power of tradition and to subsume all unresolved conflicts into the high-spirits finale. Thus the miners' strike in Billy Elliot is forgotten in the face of Billy's closing Swan Lake stage dive. In The Full Monty the strippers are still unemployed even as their thongs fly through the air. And at the end of Kinky Boots, conflicted transvestite Lola/Simon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is no less enlightened about his identity crisis, but he gets to perform some infectious show tunes. In each case cinemagoers leave with smiles on their faces and the entirely erroneous belief that they've just witnessed a film about modern British life.

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