Four More Years: a not-so-innocent rom-com

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.

Wish You: a flawed but precious rom-com

Wish You: a flawed but precious rom-com

Soft acoustic pop and passing cars lead into lingering glances across a sleeping city. Adoring fan Sang-i gazes longingly at street singer Kang In-su as he strums his way through a soppy ballad, the almost-title track “Wish For You”. Initial seeds of romance are planted within the first 2 minutes; yet, we are forced to wait with baited breath until the last 2 minutes to see whether the buds will blossom. This, of course, begs the question: how much do we really gain along the way? [...]

A New York Christmas Wedding: the best and the worst film you’ve ever seen

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. [...]

But I’m a Cheerleader: hilarious parody with a heart

But I’m a Cheerleader: hilarious parody with a heart

Come one now. It’s a gay classic at this point. You’d think that a whimsical comedy about queer kids forced to attend conversion therapy camp wouldn’t work at all... but it so does. Let me tell you why. But I’m a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit, 1999) focuses around the story of Megan (Natasha Lyone), a timid 17-year-old coming to terms with her sexuality. At an intervention, her friends and family affront her with hilariously problematic lesbian stereotypes that she seems to follow, such as “being a vegetarian” and “liking Melissa Etheridge’s music”. They decide that she should be sent to “True Directions”, a gay conversion therapy camp that imposes 1950s-style gender roles on its unwilling teenage attendees.

Love, Simon isn’t a queer film

Love, Simon isn’t a queer film

“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? [...]

The Half of It: a muted autumnal almost-romance

The Half of It: a muted autumnal almost-romance

The Half Of It (Alice Wu, 2020) is your classic American teen romcom with a twist: it's GAY. Lesbian, specifically. Maybe bisexual on one half; it's hard to tell. Typical high school nerd Ellie Chu writes other people's school essays for money to help support her father. One day she is commissioned by Paul to write a love letter to beautiful popular girl Aster, and it works almost too well. Ellie writes with increasing passion to Aster, who thinks she's Paul, and a complicated pseudo-relationship progresses. I'm not going to lie, it's a great premise. And, despite some clumsiness, it mostly delivers. [...]

Yes or No: pure Thai lesbian cuteness

Yes or No: pure Thai lesbian cuteness

This film could be mistaken for a simple and harmless lesbian teen rom-com. In the West and in 2020, we are lucky to have quite a few of those. But when it premiered 10 years ago in a then quite conservative Thailand, it was the country’s first lesbian film with a butch protagonist. Knowing this, the narrative’s insistence on focusing on Kim’s tomboyishness as a barrier to her friendships and relationships makes a lot more sense. We’ll go into that more later...

The Feels: a bit generic indie, but nice

The Feels: a bit generic indie, but nice

Generic title, right? “The Feels”. And did it give me ‘the feels’? Well it turns out that’s a reference to orgasms, so no, but if we’re talking about other kinds of feels, then yes. At times. We’ll get to that... The Feels (2017, Jenée LaMarque) is a self-described dramedy about a lesbian couple’s bachelorette weekend. Lu drunkenly admits to her fiancée Andi in front of the whole group that she’s never had an orgasm, causing a rift between the couple. This, alongside other unexpected drama, causes tension in the group as the friends and the brides-to-be navigate their relationships. [...]

Alex Strangelove: where queerness shines through

Alex Strangelove: where queerness shines through

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) [...]