Posted by: fudgie99 | May 11, 2009

Fingersmith

fingersmith1Betrayal, murder, intrigue, thievery, Victorian erotica, and hot lesbian sex- there, have I sold you yet?

This film, which aired on the BBC in two parts, is based on the book by Sarah Waters. It starts with the perspective of Sue (played  by Sally Hawkins), a fingersmith ( thief) who lives across from the gallows with a bunch of schemers. As she tells it, she’s an orphan left with Mrs. Suxby, and never picked up, but the woman (played by the talented Imelda Staunton) takes care of her as her own daughter.

In comes Gentleman (although they all say a cockney Gen-a-men) who has a scheme to get rich scheming a wealthy lady in the countryside. He wants Sue to become her maid and persuade Maud to marry him with the plan to throw her in the mad house and take all the money for themselves.

Sue, a true city girl and no maid, goes to meet Maud- and there the magic happens. The two actresses have true chemistry and intensity. Maud is played by Elaine Cassidy, who I immediately became obsessed with upon seeing this movie. Who was this woman who could convey deep emotions by flaring her nostrils, the set of her lips, or the movement of her eyes? Some of her most expressive scenes she hardly speaks. Maud is cold and unlikable in the book, coming from a troubled and complicated past of her own, brought up in a madhouse, but Cassidy conveys the complexity of her emotions amazingly, so that you sympathize with Maud. Sally Hawkins also does an amazing job conveying Sue’s innocent nature, her inner struggle in wanting to save Maud, or swindle her.

As Sue and Maud show more affection for each other, Gentleman gets more aggressive with the girls. I suspected he was gay from the movie, but the book (indirectly) confirmed my suspicions. There is this undercurrent of repressed rage at the two women, beyond what seems necessary, which seems to encapsulate his own desire for queer affection.

The second part of the movie is told in Maud’s perspective and you get to see similar scenes through her eyes, which is vastly different. Their paths diverge in ways you will have to watch to find out, but ultimately there is a (cautiously) happy ending.

I love this movie. A few mentionable great scenes include Sue trying to dress a chair (pretending it is a lady). The scene with the thimble (again, you really should see the movie) and two hot sex scenes- one amusing, and one semi-disturbing (though that in no way detracts from the hotness). Amazingly, as hot as they are- there is no nudity, only visible kissing and implied touching, as well as a well faked (I hope) orgasm. Victorian women had orgasms? I had no idea.

Lastly, the ending scene is my favorite. Very different from the book (which I do recommend reading) but it made me sob uncontrollably the first time I saw it. As Maud says to Gentleman early on “You are a man and might do anything. I am a woman and might do nothing.”  Both Sue and Maud are trapped in their lives- due to poverty, due to family constraints, due to the lack of independence which comes from being female. The realization of their feelings for one another, and then, more importantly, the acknowledgement of those feelings, symbolized to me a liberation, to be free, even if only with one other person. 

There is so much in this movie, it is difficult to convey, so I will leave it at this-

fingersmith44 stars- the Uhaul is packed and ready- I bought it, I own it, I’ve watched it a million times.

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Posted by: fudgie99 | April 22, 2009

Foxfire

joliefoxfire1Boobs- that’s what this movie has to offer- a bevy of boobs. Oh, yeah, and Angelina Jolie, in a rehearsal role for Gia and Girl, Interrupted. I guess I was expecting a little more from a movie from Red Mullet Production Company.

It starts with Maddie’s voice over about her senior year in high school being “perfect”- boyfriend, family, school- it’s all cool. Until an unknown drifter shows up in her Bio class and decides to take a stand against her sexually abusive teacher. This brings together four disparate souls- low self-esteem Rita (yay, Jenny Lewis, pre Rilo Kylie); Violet, the school slut; Goldie, the school’s biracial drug addict; and Maddie, little miss perfect.

The drifter, clad in black leather and big boots, is a gorgeous, young Angelina in a page boy. She leads them in kicking the crap out of their teacher which ends up in the four girls being suspended and playing house in this abandoned cottage in the woods. The drifter goes by “Legs”, which I found laughable (maybe “lips” would have been more appropriate). They have fun together, each girl learning about openness and loyalty. They also drink a lot of booze and smoke a lot of pot, in between getting amateur tattoos.

I liked the message of women standing up for each other. They start the movie, with all the girls knowing what the teacher was doing but feeling helpless to stop it. Throughout the movie they gain confidence to tell off the jocks in their class who make their lives miserable. They also learn to respect and befriend people who are different from themselves, seeing beyond the surface judgments everyone makes.

On the gay front, it falls pretty flat. At one point, Maddie asks Legs, “If I tell you that I love you, would you take it the wrong way?” “Because I’m not…, and you’re…” No mention of “lesbians”, although its blatantly obvious that Legs is checking out women throughout the movie. The only other line that comes close to addressing it is when Violet’s mother tells her “You like, boys, OK, boys!” Maddie and Legs do no more than embrace and exchange smoldering glances (well, Legs’ looks were smoldering, Maddie’s were a cross between confused and constipated).

The ending of the movie goes too far in the violence of the girl’s actions and then ends abruptly with explanation in voice over. It felt silly and unfinished and very ungay. Oh well, it’s never completely useless to me to watch a few hours of Angelina Jolie. The  soundtrack was also a great blast from the past- Luscious Jackson, Mazzy Star, L7, Kristin Hersh- relive the girl rocking nineties right here.

2 stars- don’t call me, I’ll call… well, I won’t call.

favorite lines

“where do you live anyway? Mostly in my head.”

“If I hear about one more of your f**king mood swings, I’m going to tickle you to death.”

“I wish I had a flashlight that would suck up the darkness like a vacuum cleaner.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | April 9, 2009

Imagine Me and You

imagineme1Timing’s a bitch, but if it worked out, most movies would be really short. I like this movie, it’s a little too Hollywood, a little too hokey in spots, but it’s happy. I like these people (well, most of them) and everyone ends up with a happy ending.

It’s Rachel’s wedding day, and she’s doing bride-like things, while her florist, Luce, is meeting her soon-to-be husband Hec and pinning corsages. We meet Coop, Hec’s best friend, the requisite womanizer, Rachel’s bitchy mother, daffy father, and inquisitive sister, “H” who befriends Luce (do penguins have knees?).

As Rachel walks down the aisle and Luce leaves to head to the reception, their eyes meet, and, apparently, see into each others soul. If you watch the deleted scenes, you’d figure out how a florist ends up sitting in for part of the ceremony and the whole wedding reception (unless, of course, you invited your florist to your wedding and think it’s perfectly normal).

Rachel gives a speech at the wedding, commenting that fairy tales are known for happy endings, though the passage is rough, which was not the case with Hec- everything was smooth sailing. If only. This theme, of what leads to a happy ending, to love, is taken up again when Rachel, feeling a pull to Luce, invites her to dinner. She expresses that you don’t know if “it” is love, but you hang in there and give it a chance. Luce disagrees, saying you know immediately, and everything that happens after just proves what you already know.

When Hec finds out that Luce is gay, he says “Well done.” Don’t you love the gay achievement status?Like you climbed Mount Everest, instead of just being who you are. Not really anything to be proud of, just point of fact. All the other responses to gayness in the movie are mild. “H” seems to accept Luce’s sexuality, although still says “that doesn’t make you a lesbian” just because she will end up with a woman. That seemed an unnecessary comment to add. Luce’s mother is completely accepting, and Rachel’s parents adjust to the idea as well.

Both actresses insisted in interviews this was not a “gay” movie, which begs the question- what is a gay (ok, lesbian)  movie? Must  there be muff diving? endless processing? flannel shirts and men’s haircuts? A lesbian movie (for my review purposes) is any in which a main character identifies as gay (Luce) or acts in a fashion to live a gay lifestyle regardless of labels (Rachel). You can not like labels but lets call a dyke a dyke, ok?

What makes a good romantic comedy to me (besides beautiful women) is the “other” stuff. The ridiculous people who come into the flower shop (a last chance flower, a break up plant), Luce’s interactions with her mother, who is divorced, H’s endless questions (why is the alphabet in that order?), all make the movie worth watching.

Hec is likeable too, which I appreciate, he’s not thrown away or an immediate asshole because love has swept Rachel off her feet. He deserves happiness as much as Rachel, and can’t bear the idea of her loving someone more. Watching through the credits gives you a glimpse of everyone finding their own love. Piper Perabo does a good job conveying Rachel’s conflict, to be faithful to her best friend or to jump into the arms of love. Lena Headey does a good job conveying the dilemma of falling in love with someone in a relationship.  They only share a few kissing scenes and not a lot of passion between them ( in keeping with the light tone, per the interviews), but their both gorgeous to me and worth watching make eyes at each other. The most sexually charged scene to me is their “date” at the “football” match, when Luce teaches Rachel how to yell. Their whole date looks like so much fun, I wish I had coordination enough to use those dance machines.

All in all, I think this is an entertaining date movie,  that will help you end up in the arms (or bed) of the once in a lifetime (or once in this moment) girl of your dreams

Three stars- kitty cat meet my better half

Favorite lines

“My husband as useful as a fart in a jam jar.”

“you’re a vagitarian…”

“Ursa major, which is Latin American for Big Bear”

“I really twatted up.” (Don’t you just love the English?)

Posted by: fudgie99 | April 1, 2009

Between Two Women

between2womenMaybe it’s my inner puritan, but I really enjoyed this movie. I admit, it’s not action packed, there’s no hot and horny love scene (actually, no love scene at all), but I cared about these people. I was OK that they weren’t calling in the U-haul after talking for five minutes. Of course, it helps that it was small town England in 1957.

The movie starts with Jeff at his factory job- skully cap and cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth, he’s just letting you know he’s working class. On the other side of town, his wife, Ellen, is chatting up their son Victor’s art teacher, Miss Thompson (aka Kathy).  Kathy is independent and educated, has taken an interest in Victor and his ability to draw, and a clear interest in his mother.

As the friendship/romance develops, I think it’s easy for Ellen to hide behind the fact that all the outings involve Victor. The problem is, everyone is noticing the connection between the two women. Victor sees Miss Thompson watching out the window for his mom, the husband is resentful that she stays talking to the teacher, making his tea late. Even Ellen’s sister has heard how well she’s “getting on” with the new teacher. When Jeff starts working evenings, they start spending every evening together.

The looks exchanged between the two women, the way they light up upon seeing each other, is marvelous. You see them saying good bye, with Victor in tow, with a look of wanting. The meaning of accepting a ride (stand in for date), going to Kathy’s house, then going upstairs in her house, all of this has deep meaning for both of them. Either you will find this a fascinating study in the development of love (“forbidden love”, as the trailer makes sure you know) or you’ll be bored to tears.

The movie is also a tug of war between classes and what it means to strive beyond the one you’re in.  At one point Jeff and Ellen argue and he says “Folk like us are meant to know are place.”, that being working class is an “attitude of mind”. Meaning, don’t give your son the idea he can escape a factory job, go to art school, become educated. Ellen sees things differently, longs to escape, but as Kathy points out, she marries Jeff because he doesn’t challenge her loyalty (and guilt) at being close and available to her family- oh yeah, and being pregnant probably cemented the deal.

There is a culminating scene between the two women, a challenge to move to the next level, but Ellen is too afraid to make a move (or accept a move made). As she says, “Perhaps I needed to conform for my sake” leading me to believe she knew full well who she was attracted to and just kept hiding from it in conventionality.

The women are separated, then reunited, ending on a positive (though openended)  note. There is a scene between Ellen and Jeff where I feel compassion for Jeff, with his obvious love for his wife and his struggle with their clear incompatability. He’s honest with her and respects her, which seems so unexpected compared to his harsh attitude the rest of the movie. It becomes clear, he just didn’t know how to express his feelings. Ellen is still upset by his leaving, even as we know her heart is clearly somewhere else. It just brings a complexity to the characters I appreciated

Ellen speaks of the realization of her feelings as a focus which has found itself. You will either enjoy watching her world come into focus or be bored to tears. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

4 stars- call in the U-haul, even though Ellen and Kathy won’t

Favorite lines

“From the drunkard’s lounge of the temperance hotel…”

“He’s jiggered the light.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | March 26, 2009

Itty Bitty Titty Committee

ittybitty1Jamie Babbitt, the director of this movie, stated in the making of the movie that she saw it as “an educational tool for young girls.” Maybe that was the problem-too much education.

It follows Anna, an out lesbian working as a plastic surgeon’s secretary, whose life has just taken a turn for the worse. Her girlfriend dumps her and she doesn’t get into college (does this make her 18, because that really makes what’s to follow kind of sketchy). Her family does seem completely cool with her being queer- talking about it openly and inviting her girlfriend to the wedding.

Enter Sadie, the head of the C.I.A (Clits in Action) spray painting the plastic surgeon’s clinic. She invites Anna to a meeting and she miraculously shows up. Now we meet “the gang”- there’s bitchy Shulie, a recovering lawyer, smart mouth feminist; artist Meat, who is quiet and serious, and Aggie, my personal favorite, a trannie boy skateboarder gentleman.

They plan “projects” to get people’s attention, and the ideas the movie floats out are amusing- making you think about advertising and how it focusses on skeleton skinny women with big boobs. The action of it was interesting, all the processing about it- not so much.

Just as Sadie is cozying up to Anna (and bringing her to her knees with her sultry voice), you meet Sadie’s girlfriend- a much older woman (40’s? 50’s?) who was her teacher at Smith College (of course she was). Wait, does that mean Sadie is 22-23 and Anna is 18? Not to be a stickler about age or anything, just wondering. Apparently, Meat tells Anna, Sadie chronically cheats on Courtney, but never leaves her.

What bugs me about Sadie, is she gives lots of reasons for staying with Courtney, but not the most obvious- money. Wouldn’t we all love to galavant around subverting the system- but someone has to pay the rent, buy groceries, have health insurance. Don’t hold yourself up as little miss independence, if you’re really little miss “I got me a sugar momma.”

Anna transforms herself into as much of an alienating bitch as possible, even to her loving family. Does being a feminist involve being self centered and rude to those who have loved and supported you? Again, just curious.

For various reasons, the C.I.A. falls apart, until Anna saves it with the ultimate crazy scheme. Blah, blah- happily ever after.

There were things I liked about this movie For example, when Shulie starts dating Calvin (Daniela See, being rather unMax like) even though all her friends assume she is straight, all she says is “dykes are such closeminded bitches.” When Anna gets drunk and sleeps with Aggie, and she wakes up to breakfast in bed and a rose, just to rush out after Sadie, my heart went out to Aggie. I also liked how you got to know what happened to each character after the movie, which must of meant I cared about them a little. I think the problem was, I cared about the two main characters least of all, and was much more interested in Shulie, Aggie and Meat.

There are two dueling sex scenes between Shulie and Calvin, and Sadie and Anna, that were pretty hot- lots of tongue, some nice breasts, and a little spanking- in case you’re interested in that kind of thing when making movie selections.

There were multiple queer celebrity sightings if you saw “But I’m a cheerleader” or “the L word”. Guinever Turner (or Alice’s ex girlfriend last seen sleeping with Papi) shows up as a talk show host. Clea Duval is giving a concert at a lesbian bar.  Melanie Linsky (also in Cheerleader and Alice’s crush from her talk show) goes in for a boob job. Even Courtney’s coworker was one of the gay guys in Cheerleader- it’s a small, queer world after all.

I know I should want to be more educated about women’s rights, and it is shocking that Mississippi only ratified the 19th amendment in 1984, but one viewing was plenty.

2 stars- no second date

Favorite lines

itty-bitty-titty-commitee_s600x600“I read the lesbian hand book from cover to cover and it doesn’t say anything about make up.”

“It’s like Christmas, except for your boobs.”

“It’s hell to be utterly boring to the person you’re having sex with.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | March 17, 2009

Floored by Love

flooredbylove2This Canadian film follows the lives of two families (unwittinglly) living in the same apartement building. The lesbian story line startswith  Cara, a Chinese-Canadian therapist, and Janet, a Japanese-Canadian flight attendant on the day of same sex marriage legalization in Canada. Janet is already picking out her dress and writing her vows, while her girlfriend is hiding her sexuality from her parents. The parents are coming for Cara’s brother’s wedding and Janet wants to go, wants to be a part of Cara’s family. Instead soft butch Cara ends up looking ridiculous in a dress and too much blush and Janet is left at home being “just the roommate”.

The other story line centers around a 14 year old boy coming out of the closet. His mother (black) and step dad (white) are very supportive, but the kid can’t wait for real dad (and flaming gay man) to visit and show him the ropes. Step dad is kind of nerdy square which, as you may know, wins you no points with teenagers, gay or straight.

The actresses do a good job convincing me they are lesbians and into each other (Janet more than Cara). In the “making of” segment, the actress Shirley Ng, who portrays Cara is very feminine and struggled with looking more butch (and making out with a woman), but you wouldn’t know that from watching her. She lacks emotion at times but that seems to go along with her character of staying hidden. There are only two brief kissing/precoital scenes, so don’t expect anything hot and heavy.

Gay dad is an ass, of course, who cares nothing about anyone but himself. The family (besides the stepdad, Norman) is made up of bad actors. The only saving grace for gay boy (why am I blanking on his name?) is that I feel most 14 year olds are bad actors, so maybe that makes him a good actor? I’m not sure?

The movie is only 50 minutes long, so everything gets wrapped up a bit neatly. The dialog was rather cliche and clunky at times but other times was amusing with some dead on delivery. All in all a very uneven film. The coming out is anticlimactic, leaving the lesbian story feeling kind of flat. The step dad’s attempts to connect with his son were the most emotionally compelling part of the movie.

2 stars- no second date

Favorite lines

“You look like George Bush with a cucumber up his butt.”

“I can’t wait to be the “Best Dyke” at your wedding.”

“I’m gay, not corny.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | March 10, 2009

Rome and Juliet: Love knows no rules

romeandjulietI was weary at the two titled title- love knows no rules? Did it come home past curfew again? Extort money from elderly people?- why not just leave it at “Rome and Juliet”? Regardless, the movie started off with promise.

Juliet is a preschool teacher at a Catholic (appearing) school dating a government worker, Marc, who is set to run for mayor. There relationship is revealed to have some flaws (as any relationship does). Marc’s family is wealthy, while Juliet is the sole breadwinner for her 4 person household, including her father, who has had a stroke leaving him severely disabled. After Marc finally convinces Juliet she wants her cherry popped, he romantically proposes in the post sex shower (complete with blood running down the drain) “Maybe we should make this official, huh?” Loser.

Someone recommends Rome as a wedding planner. Rome lives in a meticulous house and f**ks around with a dashing Italian man who she seems vaguely interested in. She owns a florist shop and is a wedding planner (Yes, we can all think of “Imagine me and you” in Tagalog right now, if you want).  They meet (at church, ironically) and start up an easy friendship.  They accept each other as is, both being somewhat quirky, unlike Marc who insists Juliet tie her hair back and button all the buttons on her shirt.

Juliet starts to enjoy being herself. She writes (sappy) soul searching poetry that she shares with no one- until Rome. This leads to an unexpected trip to a Phillipino Amazon slam (they’re everywhere!!) which I found highly amusing. The same dykes sitting around reading poetry with bongo drums and overserious expressions whether it be in Boston, London, or Manila.

She blows off Marc on Valentine’s day and then confronts him for being so controlling. Her relationship with Rome culminates over breakfast (oh, did I mention they had started sleepovers- ladies, ladies- people prefer their own beds unless they’re looking to get some) after Rome’s ex Carlos had showed up the night before. It’s one of the better scenes of the movie- Juliet’s banging around all mad, making eggs, when Rome realizes- she’s jealous- and tells her so- they start screaming at each other in a “am not”, “are too” kind of way until they’re lips touch, barely, sparking an end to the argument and Juliet to cream in her pants.

Marc finds them out (you can watch it to find out how). The women have a few sexy, hasty love scenes- they are both beautiful to watch throughout the film, naked or clothed, and there’s quite a lot of straight sex scenes (way more then lesbo).  He texts her to call of the wedding (again, super classy), and everyone and his great aunt finds out about the scandal. That should be enough to deal with, but bad things keep happening, starting with Juliet’s dad dying and then she’s hit by a car. This felt too symbolic of punishment for “following her heart” as her mother had told her to do, before she knew it was leading her to a sapphic end.

The only advantage to the car accident, is it gives everyone time to crystallize what and who they really want and to see beyond surface labels (lesbian) to see the person behind, in the case of Juliet’s family and Rome.

This movie was too long. It was interesting, but not interesting enough to last two hours and five minutes. The relationship could have been further developed or the backlash of homophobia, instead it was sidetracked in people in hospital beds and whether Marc would still run for mayor (did we ever really care?) The movie is in Tagalog with English subtitles, although the characters lapse into English at irregular intervals (and then translate them in English to something different). There were also a few places not translated at all. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I hate to write it off either

2 and a half stars- no second date, but might be worth a first, depending on your type

romeandjuliet21

Favorite lines

“The first step to marriage- is it love – or suicide

                                                  – is it like steaming boiled rice burning your tongue?

“You’re one heck of a girl scout.”

“De, does it have to be through SMS?”

“My world became colorful because you care.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | March 3, 2009

Feuille

feuille2I’m going to apologize upfront to the director, writer, and star of this film (who, by the way, is an award winning pathologist, when she’s not making bad movies), because I don’t have anything nice to say about it. French and Chinese subtitles

It starts out with Meihua, a Chinese artist, crying in a boat to bad Chinese porno music. This music alternates with overly loud (and out of place) operatic arias. Then we flash back to her time studying in France- she is pursuing “pure art” and nobody understands her, least of all her boring boyfriend Anran (wah, wah).  Then she meets Feuille (or Stephanie, which is her real name) a photographer that embraces her search for “pure art” in an attempt to embrace her booty.

Feuille (or Leaf, in English) is kind of like Alice Toklas- older, longish nose, dressed in black suits- she’s also manipulative and pushy. She manipulates her way into Meihua’s bed and then comes on to her- when she is rebuffed she gets all sad and mopey so Meihua will comfort her- then she tries it AGAIN- gah, lesbo, she’s straight, take a hint. Sadly, Leaf does not take a hint and continues to pursue Meihua. For her part, Meihua has decided she’s going to convert the dyke into a breeder. Her conversation with Anran about the causes of lesbianism boiled down to two things- 1. bad boyfriends 2. abusive fathers. At no point does the movie dispel or address this erroneous notion. So now, besides being boring and poorly acted, it’s spreading familiar homo misconceptions.

After Leaf gets Anran drunk so he’ll sleep with another woman and betray Meihua, Meihua swears them both off. In this period of solitude she misses Leaf more than Anran- their discussions of art, their walks in nature (note- no hot and heavy sexual fantasies). She then surmises that missing her more makes her a lesbian in some way- because all lesbians really do is hold hands and go hiking.

The one thing I liked was this photograph with an infant looking up from breastfeeding- the nipple is bent on his lip, it’s a close up and his big eyes look up searchingly towards what must be his mother’s face.

Blah, blah, blah- then there’s something about A.I.D.S  (shout out to the pathologist posse), Meihua stays a breeder, and Feuille stays a lezzie- the end

1 star- complete lesbian bed death

Favorite quotes (few and far between)

“I love like sister.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | February 25, 2009

The Truth About Jane

jane1qj3I was talking to Virgin in the volcano the other day (see linked blogs) and she was lamenting that lesbians (and gay men) always want to tell coming out stories- in movies and books. Although I could appreciate her frustration, there is something magical about coming out- of having gone through the world with blinders on and then, finally, to have a moment of clarity when all your feelings and thoughts make sense. That’s why I filled up two thirds of my diary writing about my best friend- and not the boy I said I had a crush on. That’s why I couldn’t pay attention to that movie when our arms were touching ever so slightly at the elbow. Anyway, you get the point, it’s a big deal.

The Truth About Jane is a classic coming out story in format. Teenager starts high school, almost fifteen, befriends the new girl at school, and they hook up, rocking her world. This does not go over well with her parents (especially her mother- again with the bad rap against motherly acceptance) and they all struggle with acceptance and growth.

The story takes place in 2000, and teeters between seeming accurate and a little out of date. It might just be that it seems like an extra long back to school special (remember the drunk girl? the pregnant girl?). Jane’s parents love her, are way over the top supportive, and her mom even has a gay friend. The teenager actually does a decent job of acting young, confused, and gay. When she acts out against her parents, it seemed dead on teenage behavior- you think I’m trouble (because I’m gay) I’ll show you real trouble.

Stockard Channing, as the mother, did a good job of acting overprotective and disgusted at the same time. Convinced she can change Jane, she is venomously outspoken about changing her- despite having a gay friend she confides in. It’s different- every (socially liberal) parent’s lament- gay people are fine, as long as it’s not my kid. I certainly heard that gay people should be accepted (the few times they were mentioned), but that did not translate into instant acceptance of a lesbian daughter.

The gay teacher angle was a little too convenient (and a little too Annie on My Mind- good YA coming out book), but obviously added counterpoint to Jane’s mother. The other teenagers in her school were ignorant and harassing, but that seemed about in line with my high school experience of any one who stood out in anyway.

Overall, this movie would have been good to see at 18 when I came out and was alone and isolated. At 32, it doesn’t need a second viewing.

 2 stars- no second date

favorite lines

“We were about to reenact The Children’s Hour.”

“Why couldn’t I just like a boy named Ned.”

Posted by: fudgie99 | February 17, 2009

I Can’t Think Straight

thinkstraight1I have been stalking this movie online since Afterellen.com put an article up about it a year ago. It’s now almost two years old and only in limited theatrical release (and film festival circuits) in the United States. I was checking out the Here! channel website to see when Sugar rush was starting (a queer tv show from the UK) and saw that you could watch the movie on their website- no more watching pirated youtube videos, here was the finished product.

I saw The World Unseen (which I will review in the future) and enjoyed it (don’t talk to the lesbians who I went to see it with though). It is subtler, more chaste, and slower moving than I Can’t Think Straight, but I loved both main actresses (the same in both movies) and the connection they conjured up on screen. I was curious to see the two women in a more modern day lesbian romance.

The beginning is rather exotic and showy, unlike the rest of the movie. You first meet Tala (Lisa Ray), who is a christian Palestinian from Jordan preparing for her wedding. Her mother’s over the top with her cigarette holder and entourage of servants. Tala also has one “good” (read: openminded) sister and one “bad” (read: conservative) sister for contrast.

Back in London, you meet Leyla (Sheetal Sheth), a British Indian woman working for her father, but with a passion for writing literature. Her mother is a traditional Indian woman and her sister is a free spirited waitress. Oh, and she has a boyfriend of two months who happens to be friends with Tala. Thus, they meet.

You can see Tala makes Leyla uncomfortable- either because she’s undeniably hot, or because of her blunt conversation skills is unclear, but they start to spend more time together. There are tell tale lesbian signs- Leyla lying to her parents about the time she’s spending with Tala, knowing it means more to her than she wants anyone to know. Her mother saying (regarding Leyla’s boyfriend, Ali) “At least you’re making an effort for a change.”  I just remember trying to be interested in boys, my friends pushing me to go talk to them, and thinking “How long do I have to stand here and act interested before I can go back and be with who I really want to be with, my best girl friends, who I did not realize I wanted more from then friendship.

Although the focus in the movie seems to be on how the two women are different they actually have a lot in common, a love of art and literature, an inner strength and passion, a love of family connection. The dance scene is sensual, but they make the mistake (in my opinion) of the too close sex scene- is that her breast, or her elbow- is she kissing her ass, or her big toe? who can tell, since the camera is right on top of them. Oh well, at least they kept the light on.

Sleeping with a woman is not new to Tala, but as much as she likes to “take chances” she can’t accept the notion of being shunned by her culture and family and refuses to continue the relationship. Leyla on the other hand, can’t go back to pretending- the feeling of freedom is worth more than acceptance. As they part, Tala says she doesn’t want to ruin lives, and Leyla lays the truth before her “You will, most importantly, your own.”

The coming out scenes were done well, in my opinion,  including one of my favorite lines “I thought you just wanted us to be happy?” Her mother’s answer, “I lied.” Did they talk to my mother, because their was definitely a similar thread when I came out. Everyone all about what a “difficult life”, when they didn’t realize how difficult it had been to try to be something I was not, and then, hiding out of shame, the parts of me I thought they would find unacceptable. What a great weight to be open and honest, and Leyla finds that out. Things aren’t perfect, but she’s happy.

Of course, this is in essence a romantic comedy, so Tala does not get married and is able to win Leyla back into her life. The last sex scene is not so close up and even sexier than the first. The movie ends a bit too neatly, but I like it all the same- what lesbian doesn’t want the lesbians together and happy, supported and cared for, in the end?

The added dynamic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Muslim/Christian contrast, and coming out by women of Indian and Arab descent, added a thoughtfulness usually absent from romantic comedies. As a white, middle class, American lesbian, I don’t always think of the conflicting loyalties that I have read about between lesbians who feel torn between the queer community and their ethnic community.

I thought it was interesting that both mothers took the coming out of their daughters much harder than the fathers. Although this was the case in my life, I know it’s different for everyone.  Other noteworthy fun facts, the director and writer of the script, Shamim Sharif, can be seen in the book signing scene, and her two children, with her partner (who produced the film) are in the final scene. The movie is reportedly somewhat autobiographical of the two women’s relationship, adding an added touch of authenticity.

I enjoyed this movie, but the dialog was a little clunky at times. I wanted it to be better than it was, but regardless, I found it entertaining and thought provoking. This is somewhat biased in that I think I could watch the two main characters mow the lawn or clip coupons for an hour and a half and not be bored, but that’s just me. They definitely deserve a second picture.

cantthinkstraight1

3 stars- catpower

Favorite lines (not already mentioned)

“He’s 6 foot 7, all I can see is his navel”

“How come you get a dress that’s elegant and I get one that’s Liberace?”

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