When I started writing these reviews, I didn’t think I cared too much about plot. After all, there is so much more that makes a film good: acting, casting choices, camerawork, colour grading, lighting, editing… I could go on and on. Ultimately though, storytelling sits at the core of cinema. And, as I’ve seen now in a good few films, one glaring narrative choice can tarnish your whole experience of an otherwise objectively good film. Unfortunately, Boy Meets Girl is one of those cases. […]
Al Óleo: no plot, just ✨vibes✨
By comparing this film to Call Me By Your Name in its description, Amazon does it a disservice. Sure, it may be set in a beautiful villa in rural Europe and feature yearning and sweeping vistas, but that’s pretty much where the comparison ends. With its clever cinematography and complex character relationships, all developed over […]
Sequence Analysis: Princess Cyd, on asexuality and finding joy
‘Hear me: it is not a handicap to to have one thing and not another, to be one way and not another.’ As Miranda clears up the kitchen, sounds of plates seem extra loud in the silence of the night as she and Cyd make awkward small talk. The camerawork mirrors Miranda’s conviction, staying on her without moving for most of her speech. There is a static visual background and no music to distract us, only the faint hum of chittering cicadas lingering in the soundtrack. […]
Princess Cyd: a softly spoken slice of life
Princess Cyd opens with a deeply traumatic premise. We hear a neighbour’s 911 call, and our title character Cyd gets some devastating news: her mother and brother have been fatally shot. Throughout the action of the film, we find ourselves forgetting the trauma in moments. Impressively, though, the film still manages to find joy. Ultimately, it is a coming-of-age drama about finding common ground, building relationships and dealing with trauma through interpersonal connection.
Happiness Adjacent: low budget, lower quality
Happiness Adjacent (Rob Williams, 2018) is one and a half hours of glaringly objective proof that you can’t just get on a cruise with an iPhone 3 and make a feature-length movie. (Okay, fine, an iPhone 6, but that doesn’t make it any better.) The film explores a story reminiscent gay p*rn: a straight married man (Kurt) who ends up falling for a gay guy (Hank) on a cruise. Hank narrates the film in voiceover, either as an omnipotent voice or in conversation with a towel in sunglasses which represents his friend Brian (no really), who abandoned him last-minute to sail the gulf of Mexico alone. It turns out low budget sometimes does mean low quality.
Summer of 85: a sun-kissed dream turned nightmare
We all just want to be shirtless and gay and on a boat off the coast of France with the love of our lives, right? This film gives us plenty of that, with a gorgeous 80s aesthetic to boot. However, permeating this narrative are also moments of grief, sadness, regret, and a deep and impenetrable longing for what could have been. Tragedy and heartbreak live alongside youthful joy and discovery. But what taste does this specific blend leave in your mouth? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that. […]
To Each, Her Own: one mess after another
Closeted lesbian grows up in oppressive religious household, denounces her faith and escapes to the bright lights of the city: we’ve all seen that movie. To Each, Her Own (Myriam Aziza, 2018) ー terrible title, by the way, but we’ll get to that ー focuses on the crises that come after.
Simone, comes from an Orthodox Jewish family and lives with her “room-mate and best friend” (family code for lesbian lover) Claire. Just as she finally thinks she’s ready to come out to her family, she falls for Sengalese chef Wali (a man). A novel and intriguing concept, of course, but where could it possibly lead? Well, as it turns out, both absolutely everywhere and resoundingly nowhere. Let’s get into this hot-mess-express of a shitshow movie, shall we? […]
Alice Júnior: the pursuit of trans joy
My instinct is to say that this queer coming-of-age film is nothing revolutionary; however, it seems that ー even in 2021 ー a film aimed at teenagers that revolves around trans joy is in fact just that.
Alice Júnior (Gil Baroni, 2019) tells the story of its title character, a vibrant 17-year-old trans girl who’s worried about getting her first kiss. The film’s journey begins when she moves from a fancy apartment in a high-rise building in Recife to the small conservative town of Araucárias do Sul. After incidents of cyberbullying at her new school, she no longer has an online refuge to escape to. Can she reclaim a place in her new life? And, crucially, will she get her first kiss? […]
The Blonde One: deeper than pure eroticism
The Blonde One is perhaps a generous translation of this film’s title. The original Spanish “Un rubio” is in fact very telling. Juan utters these words to refer to part-time lover Gabriel; it is an indefinite article for an indefinite relationship: to him, Gabriel is simply “a blonde”, another body to use and explore. From the start, what they have together appears strictly casual ー and yet, as time goes on, could there perhaps be more? […]
A New York Christmas Wedding: the best and the worst film you’ve ever seen
Starting this film off, I had to google to check whether it was, in fact, queer. Fortunately, after an appearingly heterosexual opening, the lesbianism arrives ー slowly, and then all at once. Just to reassure you: the titular New York Christmas Wedding does end up being a New York Christmas Lesbian Wedding. More accurately, a A New York Christmas Surprise Lesbian Catholic Wedding. But we’ll get to that. […]