The Violent Woman
Femininity, Narrative, and Violence in Contemporary American Cinema
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Looks at how violent women characters disrupt cinematic narrative and challenge cultural ideals.
In The Violent Woman, Hilary Neroni brings psychoanalytically informed film theory to bear on issues of femininity, violence, and narrative in contemporary American cinema. Examining such films as Thelma and Louise, Fargo, Natural Born Killers, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, Neroni explores why American audiences are so fascinated—even excited—by cinematic representations of violent women, and what these representations reveal about violence in our society and our cinema. Neroni argues that violent women characters disrupt cinematic narrative and challenge cultural ideals, suggesting how difficult it is for Hollywood—the greatest of ideology machines—to integrate the violent woman into its typical narrative structure.
Hilary Neroni is Associate Professor of English at the University of Vermont.