Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mini-Reviews: A Smattering of Lesbian Movies I've Seen

These aren't all of the lesbian movies I've watched, but I thought I'd write about some of them, for something a little different here.

But I'm A Cheerleader:
Saw this movie in high school, but the campy humor didn't do much for me. Re-watched it this past summer and thought it was hilarious. So YMMV, definitely. Megan is a perky, good girl cheerleader with a jock boyfriend, who doesn't know that she's gay even though everyone else does. They break the news to her in the worst way possible- by sending her to a "reparative therapy" camp, where she finds a girlfriend and lots of gay friends. :-) This movie satirizes the reparative therapy-pushers- and homophobes in general- and is chock full of gay stereotypes- but it delivers the gay stereotypes in an inoffensive wink-wink, nudge-nudge way that lets gay viewers in on the joke. Keep an eye out for RuPaul playing one of the reparative therapy camp counsellors.

Haven't seen this movie since high school. I thought Lucy (the villain and love interest for Amy, the main character) was hot, but was kind of bored otherwise. Too bad, because I liked the the concept- a spy falling for the crime syndicate boss she's supposed to thwart. Sadly, Amy was the least interesting character in this movie.

Drifting Flowers:
This is a great movie. The narrative intertwines the lives of three different generations of women. Little Meigo falls for her older sister (and guardian) Ging's new girlfriend Diego, and her jealousy causes her to do something that threatens to break up her family. Lily is an Alzheimer's patient who spends most of her time remembering her dead love "Ocean." She finds support in her friend Yen, the gay man she married years ago as a beard, who returns to live with her because his lover cheated on him. The last storyline is about Diego's first love (Lily) and her coming out to herself as a teenager. It might not sound like much, but it's...really well done. I'm kind of embarrassed that I still haven't seen Zero Chou's other highly-acclaimed lesbian movie, Spider Lilies.

Awful title aside, I like this movie. Anora lives in a small town with an abusive husband and a teenaged son and daughter. She unexpectedly falls for her new neighbor Imogene. When Anora's husband comes home from work early, he catches Anora and Imogene in bed and tries to kill them. Anora panics and shoots him, killing him. Anora reports her husband missing and she, Imogene, and her kids go on the road to dispose of the body. The premise might sound off-putting, but if you like dark comedy (which I do), you'll like this movie. It's one of the more underrated lesbian movies.

Imagine Me & You:
After marrying the man who she has always loved like a brother, Rachel finds herself really falling for the woman who created the flower arrangements for her wedding, Luce. This is a cute movie. I like how similar the premise is to Moonlight Flowers. lol Even though I liked Rachel and Luce together- and Luce was a hottie- I felt bad for Heck. My favorite part was when Luce used the line "Lily means 'I dare you to love me,'" on Rachel. (Squee!) This movie also gets points for skewering men who knowingly hit on women who aren't interested in men and for casting Anthony Head (Buffy's Giles) as Rachel's dad. ...I have to share this stupid, wonderful parody of Imagine Me & You's trailer.

Itty Bitty Titty Committee:
Another comedy by Jamie Babbitt (director of But I'm A Cheerleader), this time a homage to riot grrrl feminism. Anna's college of choice rejected her and her girlfriend just broke up with her. She gets a secretary job at a plastic surgery clinic. She joins a feminist activist group and falls in love with its leader Sadie...who has a girlfriend but sleeps with any woman who she thinks is hot. I just...didn't like Sadie at all and couldn't understand what so many women saw in her. After Sadie broke up with her girlfriend, I wanted Anna to give her the same treatment that Elle gave Warner at the end of Legally Blonde, but alas. The rest of the movie was fun...but blegh, Sadie. She ruined it for me.

Saving Face:
I love Saving Face. Love love love. If you haven't seen it, you should watch it. Wil is a doctor. Her girlfriend Vivian (mmm, Vivian...) is a dancer. Wil's homophobic mom Gao willingly ignores her daughter's gayness and pressures her to date men- but when she turns out to be pregnant and she refuses to name the father (she's a single widow), her parents disown her and she moves in with Wil. It sounds sad, but it's actually a funny movie. And squee! Will and Vivian.

The Fish Child:
Lala is the daughter of a wealthy family in Buenos Aires. She and Ailín, her family's maid, are in love. Lala kills her father after she finds out that he has been raping Ailín, and goes on the run expecting to meet Ailín in her hometown in Paraguay. She finds out that Ailín has been arrested and convicted of the murder, so she returns to save her. I expected this movie to be a lot better than it was because of the review of it I read beforehand. The bits about the classism among the upper class in Latin America rang true (from my meager experience with it- my mom's side of the family is from Bogotá), but while I felt bad for the two main characters, I wasn't feeling them as couple.

The Watermelon Woman:
A mockumentary by director Cheryl Dunye about an indie filmmaker named...Cheryl who decides to make a film about a black actress from the 1930's who played the nameless "Mammy" role in whichever films she was cast in. When I watched this movie, I forgot that the actress Cheryl was researching wasn't real, so she certainly made it convincing. Some people might be put off by this movie's low budget (it shows), but I didn't mind it. (It didn't try to compensate by being overly experimental- and giving me a headache as a result- like the similarly super-low budget Sugar Sweet.) The meta concept (we learn more about "Cheryl"'s life as she learns more about the actress- who was a lesbian also) made it interesting.

So, yup. Just some movies I've seen.


A Day Without Me said...

Man, I've been meaning to see Imagine You & Me for aaaaaages. It looks like such a d'awwwww movie.

Trying to recall the name of a pretty decent Taiwanese movie I saw concerning three high schoolers who are sort of involved in a love triangle. One girl asks a boy to tell the girl she likes that she likes her; boy also likes the girl the first girl likes. It was a cute little movie. Wish I could recall the name.

Katherine Hanson said...

@A Day Without Me- It is d'awwwww-inducing. XD It's like the comforting, fuzzy teddy bear of lesbian movies- nobody I know who's seen it dislikes it.

If you ever remember that movie's title, please do tell me. It sounds like a fun story.

Diabolical Shih Tzu said...

The movie is Blue Gate Crossing.

Katherine Hanson said...

@Diabolical Shih Tzu- Thank you! :-)