Friday, May 6, 2005

Lesbian Film List

Films with L/B Female lead characters that I've seen - very brief reviews.

"Aimee & Jaguar" - German, subtitled. Possibly my very favorite of all - I have a thing for WWII, and what makes this one bettter is it is based on a true story - based on the book of the same name, which I also have.

"Bar Girls" - US. Indy. Cheese to the max. Possibly as unbearable as "Girls Can't Swim". Low budget, NO acting ability, boring plot, stereotypes, and LACK of representation of real butch lesbians, though they try to fit in everything else. HATE THIS FILM.

"Better than Chocolate" - in English. This seems to be a favorite, but I just didn't care for it. It falls into the 6-minutes til sex category - in that apparently, lesbians will sleep with eachother after knowing eachother for only 6 minutes. :P

"Bound" - U.S. I can't help it; I love this film, despite the swearing and violence. The hot-shot style of it is just like half the other straight mob films out there, with characters that always know what to say and are ultra suave when hitting on people. Noted sexpert Susie Bright advised all elements of the film regarding lesbian sex and culture for this film, too. And what hot characters we have in Corky and Violet! *purrs*

"But I'm a Cheerleader" - U.S. I wish I'd caught this in the theatre - the mixed reviews caught me off guard. I like the humour, how it makes fun of not only the anti-gay crowd but also makes fun of the LGBT community, too. I like that it can tackle serious and heavy issues without a heavy hand.

"Claire of the Moon" - 1992. At a women's writer workshop getaway in the northwest US, Claire struggles with her sexual identity after discovering her roomate is a lesbian. Bad acting, bad everything. Don't make me watch this again.

"D.E.B.S." - 2005ish. Indy spygirl spoof. You can definetly tell it's an ind film but as far as indy films go, it's very well done and very silly. The romance was good - creative and fresh; didn't feel like I was watching the same old lesbian film in new clothes at all. Also impressive is the mostly-female crew that MADE the whole film. Very light hearted and happy and edited so that the lesbian relationship is incidental, but not in a totally non-chalant/blazé way. Only thing that REALLY bothered me was that of all the characters, only Lucy seemed to know how to hold a handgun properly. Grr.

"Everything Relative" - U.S. Basically a lesbian "Big Chill", which I haven't seen. Old college lesbian pals reunite, opening old wounds and making new connections. Definetly for the generation before mine; I didn't care much for this film at all.

"Fingersmith" - U.K. 2005. 3-part mini series based on the Sarah Waters novel of the same name. I read the book first - - DEFINETLY read the book first! The film stays very true to the book and handles the plot twists quite well. The moments between the two female characters are really intense in their subtlety, but not near as good as in the book. This isn't to say the film isn't good - just that the book is SO good that no matter HOW good the film was it couldn't keep up with the book. It's about a theif, Susan, who teams with another theif, Gentleman, to insinuate themselves into a well-to-do household in order to get the rich man's niece, Maude, to fall in love with Gentleman so he can swindle her of her inheritance. But that's not quite what happens...

"French Twist" (Gazon Maudit) - French, subtitled. I almost forgot I'd even seen this film. Not very memorable. Soft butch falls for married "straight" woman. The husband isn't too keen on this... the wife wants both and tries to balance her life with a husband AND a girlfriend, including through a pregnancy. Come to think of it, I wouldnt mind watching this again as a refresher... I remember the struggles were poignant but sometimes painful to watch. And it was supposed to be humerous.

"Fried Green Tomatoes" - U.S. This really isn't categorized as a gay film, and there is no obvious gayness in it. But if you have any kind of gaydar at all, you KNOW that Ruth and Idgie are more than just "transcendant best friends". And if you have read the book, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg, you know this for certain. If you get this on DVD, be sure to watch the Making Of and watch the film with the directors commentary for further proof these women are in a relationship. Luckily, because the book isn't explicit and the way the director filmed it, you don't feel like the film DIDNT go far enough with showing their relationship because it treats them like anyone else. One of my very favorite films/books.

"Fire" - India, in English. A rebellious young bride finds difficulty assimilating into her new, more traditional Indian family. Her husband gone often, distant, and philandering, she finds comfort in the company of her sister-in-law, an older woman in a sexless marriage. The young girl is kind of annoying but the story is good and it's interesting to see gay themes in other cultures. This film was banned in India. Overall, it's okay, but I do like it more than I dislike it.

"Gia" - U.S., HBO. Angelina Jolie plays Gia Marie Carangi in this film that losely follows the true and tragic story of the worlds first and most famous supermodel.... Who happens to be a lesbian.

"The Girl" - French, subtitled. Saw this once in the theatre. Noir ish type film. Almost too artsy; sex scenes were ultra close up and blurred, the dialogue was very stiffly given (it's noir...)... I liked the dyke character and hated the femme. Interesting story but I'm not sure how often I could stand to watch it.

"Girl Play" - US, 200?. It's meh.

"A Girl Thing" - US. I think this was made for TV. Stockard Channing is a psychologist who goes over the relationship woes of four different women (one of whom is a lesbian) while facing her own personal struggles. Don't remember much about it. Was okay, I guess.

"Girls Can't Swim" ("Les Filles ne savent pas nager") - French, subtitled. I don't think this is even IS a queer film at all. I don't remember - but for some reason we thought it was. Instead, it was THE worst film I'd ever seen. Two girls. One sleeps around with all these local boys while her best friend sleeps with her father. AWFUL.

"Girls In Prison" - U.S. I'm *pretty* sure I've seen this. Campy, stereotyped, guilty-pleasure type film. Anne Heche is in it.

"Go Fish" - US, indy. Some of the same characters from "Watermelon Woman" are in this. Our queer indy film culture is important but I didn't really care for this film.

"Heavenly Creatures" - NZ. Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet. Based on a true story. Two girls become obsessively best friends, lost in the make-believe world of their making. Warped and psycho is what this is. Nothing explicit, doesn't really give a good name necessarily to same sex love, but Kate Winslet is hilarious. I catch this on TV when I can. "Oh! MArio LANza!"

"High Art" - US. Very depressing, good story. Ally Sheedy like you've never seen her before. I've only seen it once and would like to watch it again. Journalist falls for strung out, once famous photographer (Sheedy).

"If These Walls Could Talk 2" - U.S., Showtime. Series of interconnected short stories that happen in different eras in the same house. Bring a box of Kleenex and someone to hold. Shows a great shift in social standing for lesbians though the different stories, from two elderly women who cannot say they're anything other than roomates, to Ellen and Sharon Stone trying to get pregnant via artificial insemination.

"Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love" - US, indy. I don't know if this IS a true story or not - I think it's losely based on the lives of the writers, or something like that. VERY losely. About a highschool tomboy, white lesbian who lives with her lesbian aunt and works at a gas station/mechanics and her unlikely friendship and eventual relationship with a non-white girl of "proper" and high standing. Lighthearted. Pretty good for an indy film; I liked it. :"D BTW, "The L Word"'s Laurel Holloman plays the tomboy, Randy.

"It's In the Water" - U.S. This says it all: "In Azalea Springs, the country club still sets the rules. Here, being a member of "The League" is a must and only hair dressers and interior designers are supposed to be gay. A frenzy breaks out when a tipsy comment starts a rumor that the local drinking water turns you gay. This spark adds fuel to smoldering fires as the religious and socially righteous begin to join forces. The combination becomes the catalyst for residents who must now face or deny their own realities in this outrageous comedy with a queer little twist." - Cheesy. Don't care to see it again, but glad to of seen it at least once. Meh.

"Kissing Jessica Stein" - US. At first I didn't know what to think of this film. Some accuse it of straight people "trying out" being gay. It's not. Interestingly, what Jessica goes through in becoming more comfortable with being with a woman is VERY similar to what I went through. The film is ultimately about being comfortable with your sexuality and ignoring labels.

"Late Bloomers" - US. Two middle aged mom/teachers/coaches unexpectedly fall in love. I'm *pretty* sure I've seen this and wasn't impressed - I just don't relate.

"Lost and Delerious" - Canada (English). Tragic film. Folks either love or hate this and I'm kind of in between. It's very dramatic and tragic. Some days it's good, others, I just want to smack Paulie.

"Mulholland Drive" - US. "A sexy thriller as two beautiful women are caught up in a lethally twisted mystery – and ensnared in an equally dangerous web of erotic passion..." This is easily the most fucked up movie I've ever seen. It makes absolutely NO sense but I love it anyway. Each time I watch it, it traps my brain and I sit trying to figure it out... was the first half what happened or is it the blonde chick's memory of happier times? Better watch this with friends, especially if you like brain busters.

"Oranges Aren't the Only Fruit" - U.K., BBC. I've never read the book, but this was a good story in a disturbing sort of way. A lot of it hits you in the gut, so it's not one I like to watch a lot, but definetly one to see.

"Salmonberries" - US. This was filmed in AK! That's about the only good thing. K.d. Lang is Kotzebue, a very disturbed orphan girl trying to find meaning in existance when she meets a much older, lonely German librarian in the local library. The two form a kind of bond - it doesn't go very far. I almost didn't get through the whole thing. It wasn't all that great; but for some reason it sticks in my head. The story is weird but at least the acting is good.

"Saving Face" - U.S. 2004 film. From Wikipedia, "tells the story of Wilhemina, a young Chinese-American surgeon, her pregnant mother, and her dancer girlfriend. While Wil struggles with allocating her time between her mother, who, shunned by the Chinese-American community, has come to live with her, and her girlfriend, Vivian, whom she presents to her mother as only a friend, her mother must decide whether the demands of her father's reputations, or the demands of her own heart, are more important." Great film.

"Serving in Silence" - U.S. 1995 TV movie. Starring Glenn Close as Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, "The true story of a decorated officer's legal challenge to her involuntary discharge when she admitted she was homosexual." Any scenes between Glenn Close and her character's love interest are pretty chaste, but this is an important story about acceptance in the workplace. Definetly a safe film to watch with your straight friends and family, and especially a must for Stargate slash writers, as it's a true story - the one that sparked the whole "Don't ask, don't tell".

"Set Me Free" (Emporte-Moi) - Canada. I barely remember this one. This school girl falls for her teacher, can't understand why the affection isn't returned, then some kind of strange three way relationship goes on with the girl, her brother, and a girl friend of theirs. I need to see this one again.

"Show Me Love" (Fucking Åmål) - Swedish, subtitled. This movie is kind of corny, but the characters are all perfectly flawed. It's hard to like any of the characters at first but that is part of its charm. And it's in SWEDISH! Heh. I like it.

"Therese & Isabelle" - German, dubbed in French, dubbed in English, black and white. You CAN get this subtitled, apparently. And unless you've seen this 60's film in the theatre, you're missing out on all the juicy scenes. This film is SO pulp and so corny - the sort of thing you watch with friends to make fun of.

"Tipping the Velvet" - U.K., BBC. Read the book before you see this. Might come off as corny if you don't. It's got some flaws but just the fact this AIRED on tv is astounding. The songs, the era (1880's), the costumes, Nan's struggles - all brought to life. I kind of think of it as seperate from the novel, but I love this miniseries. Definetly a must-have.

"Treading Water" - US.2001. I am pretty sure I've seen this, too. Don't remember anything about it except there was water and the girl lived on a boat and was the black sheep of the family.

"The Watermelon Woman" - US, indy. I even had to watch this for a film class in college. It's got some good info to think about but it's not something I'd watch a lot. VERY indy.

"When Night is Falling" - CAN (English). Not to be confused with the gay film "Before Night Falls". This movie I've only seen once. It's got some highly unlikely plot points and some very unusual characters, but it wasnt' the most horrible thing I've seen and I wouldnt' mind watching it again.

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