Deborah Jermyn, "An Auteur for the 'Gerontocom'?: Nancy Meyers and the Later-Life Romantic Comedy"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 12:30pm
Hornbake Nonprint Media Library

In recent years a body of films has emerged which center on, or at least explore, an “older” woman protagonist who takes on the romantic heroine role. The category of the “gerontocom” might include, for example, Must Love Dogs (2005); I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007); Mama’s Boy (2007); Last Chance Harvey (2008) and even musical/romcom hybrid Mama Mia! (2008). This paper considers director Nancy Meyers as something of an emergent auteur for the "gerontocom." As the director of box office hits Something’s Gotta Give (2003) and It’s Complicated (2009), Meyers has come to enjoy a reputation as a filmmaker whose work is particularly sensitive to the desires of older women, in terms of both representation and audience. This paper explores Meyers’ vision of the older romcom heroine and asks whether the neglect of Meyers within the academy might be linked precisely to the fact that she is a mainstream filmmaker whose authorship is often perceived to center on the interest she holds for, and in, older women.

Deborah Jermyn is Reader in Film and TV at University of Roehampton, London. Her books include Sex and the City (Wayne State University Press, 2009) and Prime Suspect (BFI Macmillan, 2010) and she is the co-editor of Falling in Love Again: Romantic Comedy in Contemporary Cinema (IB Tauris 2008). In spring 2012 she was guest editor of a special edition of the journal Celebrity Studies, shortly to be expanded and republished as the book Female Celebrity and Ageing: Back in the Spotlight (Routledge, 2013). She is currently embarking on a project about director Nancy Meyers.