Wednesday, December 8, 2010

About melodrama

I've asked the question before about the line between drama and melodrama.  Came across this definition unexpectedly.  It confused me more.

"The 1994 film [Shawshank Redemption], which featured heartwarming prisoners fighting for their humanity, is not only the highest user-ranked movie on IMDB, but is immensely melodramatic.  We have it in us to love these sorts of stories, but to work they must be presented without the neurotic self-consciousness that infects nearly every pop culture product coming out today.  A good melodrama needs to be honest, have heart, and be true to the Human Experience."

I guess that "neurotic self-consciousness" relegates anything without it into the melodrama category?  Hmmm.  I guess I'm just used to the term being applied to Gilbert & Sullivan works like Pirates of Penzance and Patience and others stuff that's just over-the-top ridiculous.  I can't reconcile that with the modern way we seem to say something is melodramatic as if it means, trashy, cast-off, manufactured, overly-emotional, and sub-par (think of criticism you've read about any sports movie based on a true story).  I can't make the two mesh.

Semantics.  Fascinating.  Any opinions?

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