After going through decades of stereotyping as villains or tragic characters, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters often ended up being locked into a relatively limited range of storylines involving some form of coming out, sexual arousal, or emotional arousal. to self-discovery. gender identity.
Some of these stories spawned artistically accomplished films, of course, and they provided much needed advice, hope, and relief to viewers. At the same time, LGBTQ characters are well able to tackle the wide range of storytelling challenges usually offered to their heterosexual or cisgender counterparts.
The last decade has seen a wave of films that have eschewed narratives of self-discovery and propelled these characters in wonderfully complicated directions. In honor of Pride Month, here are nine worth checking out.
Very funny drama by Golden Globe winner Lisa Cholodenko captures the seemingly mundane domesticity in a generous and discreetly sour manner. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s Nic and Jules live normal, upper-middle-class lives with their teenage children, but the idyllic family portrait shows cracks – which only get worse after the children (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) have found their father as a sperm donor. (Mark Ruffalo). When the family unit ends up circling the wagons, the film subtly makes us think about the very meaning of conformism.
‘Keep the lights on’
A brief summary of Drama by Ira Sachs reveals the plot points that once haunted moralistic and homophobic novels and films about gay life: promiscuity, addiction, lies, anomie – look at these poor people! But Sachs follows the evolution of the relationship between two messy men with a clear eye and a compassionate heart. Erik (Thure Lindhardt) and Paul (Zachary Booth) are not types but imperfect humans, groping under circumstances informed by their mirth but also separate from it. The film’s haunting soundtrack, assembled from tracks by Arthur russell.
“I promise, no drama,” says Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez). Her best friend, Alexandra (Mya Taylor), can only roll her eyes: Sin-Dee runs over the drama, as if it were a source of renewable energy. The couple, both transgender, spend a day zigzagging through Los Angeles on foot, by bus, subway and cab in Sean Baker’s brilliantly made high-octane. “Mandarin.” The film is constructed as a growing farce, rich in visual gags, and backed up by machine gun dialogue worthy of the best face-to-face comedies – albeit much more brutal. And there is so much heart. The foreigners who populate the film are too often laughed at, or worse; here they are allowed to forge complicated bonds which do not minimize harsh realities but allow warmth and mutual support.
In a strange land out of time and place, Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) lead a warm domestic life punctuated by elaborate scenarios of domination and submission. Evelyn’s perverse demands, however, begin to piss off Cynthia. This is the whole plot of the spellbinding third feature film by British filmmaker Peter Strickland, which occupies a niche of its own: the fetishistic fairy tale of lesbian lepidopterists. Combining detached precision and dreamy haze – the neo-psychedelic score resembles a third major character – the film scrutinizes the fine shifts in power dynamics between women with surprisingly effective touches of deadpan humor.
There are two pairs from May to December in Paul Weitz’s comedy about getting old and carry on with life. The first is between the blunt, quick-witted poet Elle (Lily Tomlin) and sweet Olivia (Judy Greer). The second, more developed, is actually more from February to December and connects Elle and her teenage granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), who needs $ 600 for an abortion. So much could go wrong in Her and the Sage’s one-day odyssey to raise the money, but Weitz never gives in to easy drama and continually thwarts our expectations – the movie is always funny, but you can also. find yourself stifling a few tears.
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‘A fantastic woman’
Marina’s partner Orlando dies of an aneurysm just after her birthday. As if that wasn’t upsetting enough, she doesn’t have the luxury of crying properly: her family are determined to deny her very identity, and the police even try to criminalize her. You see, Marina (Daniela Vega) is transgender. Add a certain age difference with Orlando, and their relationship automatically becomes suspect in the eyes of the judgment. The film is never heartbreaking yet extremely moving and, refreshingly, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio and his star do not make Marina a heroic activist. “A fantastic woman” is the portrait of an individual who fights quietly, stubbornly for his humanity.
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For their first birthday, Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) brought his wife, Jules (Brittany Allen), to her childhood home by the lake. Viewers, of course, know better than to relax: The film’s theme song includes the recurring lyrics “There’s a Demon Inside.” Written and directed by Colin Minihan, “What keeps you alive” is an efficient and economical thriller in which a celebration of love turns into a bloody nightmare. Psychopathy, it turns out, is an equal opportunity affliction that doesn’t care about sexual orientation – although having the primary relationship in a horror movie is lesbian nicely distorts the addiction. gender on the often tense interaction between men and women.
“Can you forgive me?
From the memoir of forger Lee Israel, The lovely film by Marielle Heller has a lot to offer, including the way he acutely revisits the couple of a supportive gay best friend and a charismatic woman. Here, Richard E. Grant’s Jack Hock is the gadfly, often unreliable confidant of Melissa McCarthy’s Lee, a clumsy lesbian saddled with a cat, frustrated desires and thwarted literary ambitions. This description of Lee is only partially correct, however, because like in the best movies, “Can you forgive me?” has compassion for his imperfect protagonist. Lee is a complicated character who is not traditionally “likable” but who is endlessly convincing – she is witty and intelligent, and makes bad choices for good reasons. You never support her.
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‘Knife + Heart’
Anne de Vanessa Paradis is obsessed with Lois (Kate Moran), the woman who left her. “Love me! Love me!” Anne moans under the pouring rain. If the scene is a bit dramatic, rest assured that it barely scratches the surface of The film about bananas by Yann Gonzalez. We’re in a fantasy version of late 1970s hedonism, and Anne directs gay porn movies as a masked serial killer dumps gruesome trash on his actors – his weapons include a switchblade dildo . Gonzalez was clearly influenced by the highly stylized lyrical violence of Mario Bava and Dario Argento, but his eerie horror seems very now rather than retro fetish.