Film & Media Studies Theory

Whitman College – FMS 387

“Brian’s Song”: The Male Weepie

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In “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess,” Williams discusses a breakdown of the “gender-linked” and “gender-fixed” construction of genre (611). Her discussion of the “male weepie” can be seen in a film such as Brian’s Song (1970). In this film, the close relationship between two football players ends with the death of one from fatal cancer. In the melodramatic scene above, Gale Sayers cries as he accepts an award that he received in his late teammates’ absence. Sayers crying is an example of the “activation of the previously repressed emotions of men” (611). In this case, it is the man, not the woman, who is “afflicted with a deadly or debilitating disease” as is usually the case in women’s films (604). This film challenges the traditional portrayal of women as “both the moved and the moving,” for in this case both the moved and the moving characters are male.

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