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. […]

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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. […]

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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.

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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. […]

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My Days of Mercy: clumsily sincere

Elliot Page is really the standout performance in My Days of Mercy (2017, Tali Shalom Ezer). In the film, they play Lucy, who, after her father is accused of first-degree murder in the US, becomes an anti-death penalty activist. At a protest outside a jail where an execution is taking place, Lucy meets Mercy (Kate Mara), an activist on the other side of the debate, whose father’s best friend and partner was murdered. Though they live in different states, Lucy in Ohio and Mercy in Illinois, the two have an undeniable spark. A sexual and romantic relationship thus develops as they try to grapple with the shocking differences in each views politics, the world, and the pursuit of forgiveness and justice. […]

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Ride or Die: joyfully chaotic… but to what end?

This film is doing a lot. Every one of the one hundred and forty two minutes (that’s nearly two and a half hours) is highly charged ー with drama, with plot, with sweeping vistas, and quite often with all three. It is an assault on your emotional sensibility from the very first scene, which culminates in a graphically violent and sexual murder. To take a step back and to look at what exactly this art is doing (if anything) is to be left with a myriad of questions. Crucially, I found myself wondering: is any of this really worth it? […]

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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? […]

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Sequence Analysis: The Handmaiden, destroy the library

“The daughter of a legendary thief, who sewed winter coats out of stolen purses. Herself a thief, pickpocket, swindler. The saviour who came to tear my life apart. My Tamako, my Sook-Hee.” So narrates Lady Hideko over perhaps the most celebrated scene of Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden (2016). In the emotional and symbolic climax of this two-and-a-half hour Korean epic, Sook-Hee and Hideko, class enemies turned lovers, destroy a library together, shouting a symbolic fuck you to the patriarchy in the process. In order to understand the full impact of this action for characters and spectators alike, we must first briefly circle back and work out how we got here. […]

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The Handmaiden: Sapphic mystery goes rogue

Crossing, double-crossing, triple-crossing. Failed heists, successful heists, twists. Lesbian sex scenes that reclaim symbols of patriarchy; lead characters defying expectations of womanhood and class in the repressive Japanese-occupied Korea; ripples and reprecussions of political and cultural history. This film has it all. And so much more. Then, just when you think you know what’s going on, your whole reality is turned on its head. Twice. […]

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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. […]

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