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I fully review movies with a strong lesbian theme and large roles or plot lines for lesbian characters and/or relationships in cinema. That includes bisexual women in same-sex relationships. I also review films often touted in other LGBTQI+ lists or press, that might not deserve to be there, and say why - there's nothing more disappointing than having to read between the lines ladies. And we shouldn't have to.
I also include some TV movies and 2-3 part Dramas, but will not cover TV series. Should you watch The L Word - Yes. Orange is the new black? Yes. Grey's anatomy, Buffy, Ellen, ER... Lesbian, bisexual and gay characters in TV are not only becoming commonplace, but also finding their way clear of stereotypes. TV series often have characters that come and go, so I can't review a portrayal within a series, without commenting on the series.
I know, TLDR. Whatevs. Just read the reviews. I watched all of these, both brilliant and awful so you don't have to waste precious hours on bad scripts, editing, acting and cliched drivel.
If you found this useful, leave me a comment!
Romance Key: HEA - Happy Ever After HFN - Happy For Now HFAB - Happy For A Bit (implication regarding ending) NRH - Never Really Happy
p.s I have also listed movies that are on my radar/in my queue - and those which I cannot get hold of. If you have suggestion for movies for me to review, or know where I can get hold of movies listed as needing to be sourced, let me know!
Camp Belvidere (2014)
Needed more development
I can see the potential in Astrid Ovalles work here (certainly as an actor), but the trailer is sadly better than the film.
There are some stylish shots, but there are issues with story telling and a lack of context generally. Also, this film isn't believably set in the 50s.
This film is too reliant on minimal dialogue - which usually would be a plus, but in this case due to a lack of any other method of story telling (montage, cutaways, establishing shots, tertiary characters) there's little to go on - thus it's all very 2d and I didn't buy into the romance.
With more development, and clearer direction (particularly with the younger actor who darted out of frame too much, made 20C gestures and expressions and failed to embody a young woman of that decade), this could be a story worth telling.
Potential, yet to be realised.
Anatomy of a Love Seen (2014)
When I read the synopsis for this movie, I expected a slow, sappy TV movie. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a good script, evenly paved with great direction that was well shot and well cast.
I'm glad Marina Rice Bader appears to be moving toward writing and directing. She even stars in this, which is usually a deal-breaking no-no for me, but she's great in front of the camera - and really this role begged for it.
I actually wish this had been a series. I felt there was a lot of mileage to be had from these characters, it was almost a shame to wrap it up.
Bumblefuck, USA (2011)
A steady, naturalistic ride through some human connections.
I was incredibly impressed with this movie. One of the most original LGBT themed film I've seen in a long time. The simplicity of the story telling and its naturalistic approach allows the complexity of the underlying issues to be continually pervasive. Everything about this movie feels real, allowing the viewer a rare opportunity sit on the sidelines, like an actual participant.
In fact, it's so real I question whether much of it is informed by actual emotion experienced on-camera, and genuine connectedness for the actors. It has the air of reality that takes a film into another realm altogether. One that is slightly uncomfortable, and yet intoxicating.
I wanted to be in the junk yard searching for shiny things. I felt like I was with these characters at every juncture. The script, and the performances, were impeccable. In particular I was astonished to discover that this was Heidi M Sallows' first appearance on film. Though she is not completely new to acting in itself, her performance was stand-out in my opinion.
The dialogue is so natural, I must be forgiven for thinking there may have been a lot of leeway for the actors. And if so, this was not only well-judged, but well-executed.
This film is touching, truthful, at times gritty, and incredibly romantic, in the most ordinary, and therefore accessible of ways. And the ending, though leaving you smiling, is not clichéd. Another rarity.
Gentle in many ways, evenly paced, and beautifully shot it may be, but the thing that I enjoyed most about this film, is the manner in which it deals with major issues without judgement, or guidance. Not merely the obvious issues of homosexuality and suicide (the film is dedicated specifically in this vein), but also the broader senses of love and desire, and the many levels of intimacy in between, brought under intense but careful scrutiny.
I found sympathy for every major character, despite my dislike of some of their actions. That is always very hard to achieve. Life is strange and fascinating, dangerous and compelling, and this movie drags you into an understanding of what that can sometimes mean.