School is out
This article analyses the politics of gender representation in two well-known ‘coming-out’ British films of the 1990s: Hettie MacDonald’s Beautiful Thing (1996) and Simon Shore’s Get Real (1999). In contrast with similar gaythemed British youth films of the previous decade - such as the Merchant- Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumous novel Maurice (1987) or Peter Saville’s The Fruit Machine (1988) - the films discussed here offer a comparatively positive picture of the ‘coming-out’ process that has been criticized by some critics as unrealistic. Yet, similar rigid class and gender structures to those that permeated Forster’s early twentieth-century classic can be seen to have a direct influence on the more contemporary settings. Issues of gender stereotyping and the disparity between queer and non-queer spaces, together with the potential queer politics of both films are also considered as evidence that these films are anything but simplistic or overoptimistic.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Durham
Publication date: 2003-03-03
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