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. […]
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: Twinks have feelings too!
When you think about a movie musical, a lot of truly iconic productions come to mind. From the Gene Kelly classic like Singing in the Rain (1952), through the 70s and 80s tortured showstoppers like Grease (1978) and Fame (1980) and even onto the modern exclamation marks of Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Mamma Mia! (2008) ー there’s a lot to live up to. Though I would be pressed to say that this film has managed to reach those dizzying heights, some moments do ー like the eponymous Jamie that everyone is talking about ー stand out from the crowd. […]
The Prom: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
In the past few years, we’ve made some big steps in terms of queer representation on screen. It has come to the point where, just because you can make a movie musical about a lesbian going to prom starring Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, doesn’t mean that you should. When I first heard about the movie, I knew it would be directed by Ryan Murphy before I even finished reading the blurb. When I heard it was also starring James Corden ー in gayface no less ー I had a feeling this wouldn’t be the only questionable choice. […]
Poltergay: camp ghosts obliterate heterosexuality (thank God!)
I’ve never been one for a horror film. As a teen, the monsters in Doctor Who gave me nightmares, and I still look away when I sense a jump scare coming. However, it turns out that camp horror is a lot more fun. And if we’re talking about camp horror, then there’s no better place to start than a film titled Poltergay (It’s like poltergeist but gay! Get it?)
So My Grandma’s A Lesbian!: too many straight people (bizarrely)
The title of So My Grandma’s A Lesbian! already tells us what we need to know. We meet the anxious and uptight Eva, and her grandma is indeed a lesbian. Finally coming out in their 70s, Sofía and her friend-for-life-turned-lover Celia want to get married. But when the wedding threatens to scandalise more than just their small town, the couple struggle with their decision to declare their love so publicly. Chaos ensues in the form of Catholic outrage, paparazzi storms and even phone calls from the Pope. […]
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.
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 Panti Sisters: even camper than it sounds
A gay son returns to his homophobic family home in full drag, complete with a train so large it’s on-screen long enough for a slow fade into the film’s title: The Panti Sisters. Drag queen Gabbi ー who, with a last name like that, need not change it in drag ー breaks the fourth wall to narrate to us the story of how she made it here, sequins and all. She also has a reveal, because of course she does: sliding off her robe, she wears a purple rhinestoned mini-dress, a sensible choice for a family dinner.
If you thought this was camp, just wait for the rest of the movie. […]
Four More Years: a not-so-innocent rom-com
After they first sleep together, Martin does everything he can to not let David get away. First, he makes him breakfast. Next, he drives David to his parents’ house in rural Sweden and they spend another night together. After driving David back into Stockholm the next day, Martin knows that this is as long as he can cling on; now, he must let David go back home, and hope that he comes back to him after his homosexual comedown. Fortunately for us, this is a romantic comedy, so I don’t think it spoils anything to say that’s not the end of their love story.