I watched this last weekend with some friends and I just had to find a way to process this clusterfuck of a movie. So here we go. Oh, and just to clarify, it’s not about incest …probably. Donne-moi la main, English translation: Give Me Your Hand, (Pascal-Alex Vincent, 2008) is a French-language film about a twin brothers’ journey across Europe. As they travel to the funeral of a mother they’ve never met, Antoine and Quentin confront their complicated sibling relationship, as well as perceptions of their own and each other’s desires.
As queer people ー specifically, gay men ー we are used to relationships not lasting forever. People get scared ー of their own romantic and sexual impulses, of how they feel about their identity ー and they run away. Encounters are often hidden: we meet at night, in dark corners, away from prying eyes. Sometimes the light of day eclipses what went on in the dark, and we are left wondering if our desperate minds fabricated the whole thing. And then the night begins again, and he comes back, and we know that, even if just for tonight, it’s real.
In 2020, it’s hard to believe that a film about a gay and a lesbian being each other’s beards (pretending to date each other so people think they’re straight) hadn’t been made. I suppose there was that one storyline on Glee… but still, here it is, finally, in full cinematic force. Of course, the main question is: does it live up to the hype? And the answer, of course, is complicated. Dating Amber (David Freyne, 2020) is a coming-of-age comedy set in oppressive 1990s Ireland. The story follows baby gay Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and baby lesbian Amber (Lola Petticrew), and their developing friendship as they pursue a pretend relationship. [...]
“I’m just like you, I have a perfectly normal life” says our protagonist Simon, as the camera shows him outside his large house in the suburbs getting a 4x4 for his birthday. Ah yes, it is clear from this opening shot, or even from the trailer and a quick glance at the cast, that Love, Simon is a gay film made for a cis, straight, white, middle-class audience. Or at the very least made to be palatable to The Hetties™. That doesn’t make it a bad film, but it is glaringly apparent, even in the first two minutes of the film. Then again, as (self-proportedly) the first film by a major Hollywood studio to focus on a gay teenage romance, it is a step in the white direction. I mean the right direction. Didn’t I say that? [...]
Oof, this one hits you by surprise. But at the same time, you sort of know exactly what’s going to happen. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to this later on… The Mudge Boy (Michael Burke, 2003) tells the story of 14-year-old Duncan and his struggle to find himself and his people in non-descript rural America. We follow his emotional journey with one volatile town bully, Perry, as they move towards something akin to friendship, or maybe more…! (You know what this blog is about, right?) [...]
If the success of Fleabag is anything to go by, Andrew Scott playing sexy Irish anything is guaranteed to be a hit. Before he was a sexy Irish priest in that hit TV show (that’s hit TV show, Nina), he was a sexy, Irish and even on-the-cusp-of-homoerotic teacher in Handsome Devil. Top Tip: Try not to get distracted by Andrew Scott’s beauty. Or his seductive Irish accent. Or his brooding eyes. What were we talking about?
Two minutes in and it's already an assault on the senses: from scribbled scrapbookish title sequences, to waivering cameras, via both voiceovers and on-screen dialogue. Sis, it's a lot. We get the film's eponymous best friends: gay boy Ely and straight girl Naomi (a classic combo, let's be real). A supposed central plot point is introduced: their 'no kiss list': a collection of boys they both fancy and are thus off limits' And there begins a visual introduction to the world we'll be living in for the next hour and a half: two perfectly quirky (and conveniently adjacent) young adult bedrooms in the heart of an idealised and colourful New York City. Okay, yes, it's a lot for eyes and ears to deal with, but at least we can say for certain that the scene is set. [...]
I Am Jonas (Christophe Charrier, 2018) is a coming-of-age gay love story shrouded in dark mystery. Originally made for the (as the name suggests) artsy European TV network ARTE and then brought to Netflix in spring 2020, it tells the story of the eponymous Jonas and handsome troublemaker Nathan. We explore their teen romance, its subsequent murky demise and the long lasting after-effects. Watching with the original French language subtitles, the first closed caption of “musique oppressante” (no language prizes for guessing what that means) tells us we’re in for a bumpy ride. [...]
When I tell you that this film — which starts out seeming like your run-of-the-mill teen rom-com —is different precisely because it’s gay, you shouldn’t read that as a bad thing. The explicit gayness of Alex Strangelove inches its way into the film slowly. We follow the story of the title character Alex, played by Daniel Doheney, and his long time best friend to recently turned girlfriend Claire, played by Madeline Weinstein (no relation) [...]
Picture this: on a dreary Sunday afternoon in 2010, you decide to visit your local independent cinema. There, you discover it’s the last day of an artsy film festival ー something about identity in Asia, or perhaps LGBTQ rights around the globe. You notice that a collection of short films is about to be shown, and you buy a surprisingly cheap ticket. There are six other people in the queue, and one of them works there, but everyone seems excited. You sit down in the third row ーa prime spot, but not so far forward as to seem over-keen. The lights go down, and the titles roll. This is how it feels to watch this film. [...]