Kicking off a lesbian film series

This Soft Space asked me to review some lesbian films because she hasn’t seen many, and I think this will be a fun thing to do. Some of the best lesbian films are a few years old though and I’m guessing most of you have seen them already. But it’s probably still worth it to review older films because the new lesbians coming up won’t have seen them and someone has to introduce them! (Also check out the blog category Lesbian Films to see what I’ve reviewed already.)

There is a long tradition of representing lesbians as crazy and unstable in works of fiction, because lesbian characters used to be more of a cautionary tale against homosexuality than respected characters. So any films where lesbians end up going crazy or dying or ending up with a man I’m not going to review. Fuck that shit. Only good lesbians films will be reviewed here.

So to start off I’m going to name the two best lesbian films of all time (according to me.) They are Tipping the Velvet and Saving Face!

Tipping the Velvet is a novel by Sarah Waters that absolutely all lesbians should read. It’s the most brilliant lesbian novel of all time. One of these days I think I want to write a post about my favourite quotes from Tipping and explain why I like them. This story is a drama set in England in the 1890s. The narrator, Nancy, starts off 18 years old and she falls in love with a male impersonator and follows her to London. The two women have the adventure of a lifetime being drag performers and they eventually reveal their love for each other and become sweethearts. And then a lot of other stuff happens—I won’t give you any spoilers, but warning: DRAMA. The film was done by the BBC so it’s FANTASTIC. Excellent actresses, beautiful costumes, wonderful detail—it’s just breathtaking. I’m sure everyone would like this film, even if they’re not a lesbian, because it’s a generally fantastic film. It’s very long and it’s divided into three parts. You might have to watch each part separately, unless you have reserved an entire day for it. I’ve seen it so many times I can sing some of the songs that the two male impersonators sing onstage.

Saving Face is a romantic comedy about a Chinese-American community. The main character, Wil, is a lesbian and she meets and falls in love with another Chinese-American woman. It’s a really adorable romance—there’s even a scene where Vivian standing close to Wil makes her fall down. You just have to see it to understand how cute it is. The whole film is lovely to watch, not just the blossoming romance between the two women. It’s as much about the dynamics of the Chinese-American community as it is about the lesbian romance. Of course, the gossiping and drama that goes on is the same as what would happen in any tight-knit, insular community, but there is something in Chinese culture about saving face, you know, trying to look good no matter how messed up you really are. The ending is a bit cheesy, but it’s a happy one so I’m okay with it. This film is available on Netflix so you have no excuse not to watch it! This is a film that will cheer you up with its cuteness no matter how bad a day you are having.

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28 thoughts on “Kicking off a lesbian film series

  1. Typo gremlin again: it’s the 1890s, right? And is she is the gal who wrote Fingersmith? That’s a miniseries from the BBC too. Fingersmith is fantastic. It was on TV Ontario. Is Fingersmith about lesbians? I ain’t sayin’.😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • No problem. And I make far more typos than this in just a tweet.

        1890s versus 1980s makes a huge difference though, at least to me. I was an adult in the 1980s, the 1980s are boring. Also: AIDS. But the 1890s!! Anything olden days I love it. It’s my surrogate timetravel.😍

        Just checked and my library does not have Tipping the Velvet. The stupid children. They do however have a DVD of Fingersmith. And it is from a book by the same author as Tipping the Velvet. I’ll check Crave. Going to get a free trial of it later in the summer. 😁 📺📽

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Thank you PurpleSage, but I don’t get around well enough for that. Plus I don’t think you’d want me lying around your living room for three hours watching TV. The miracle of our connected world will bring me that show! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you seen “Fucking Amal” (aka “Show Me Love” Sweden, 1998) and “All Over Me” (USA, 1997)? Both are about teenage girls figuring out their sexuality and hearts. No lesbian character dies, no one leaves anybody for a dude, and there is some teenage defiance amidst confusion and teenageness. The teenage characters are also played by actual teenagers.

    “Times Square” (USA, 1980)is and isn’t a lesbian film. Initially the lesbian theme in the film was much more prominent, but due to a bunch of interference from the producer(Robert Stigwood, who made Grease and Saturday Night Fever) this got watered down. Some parts of this film are great, some are stupid and improbable. Early 80’s gritty NYC and New Wave nostalgia. Imagine yourself as a 14 year old runaway from a mental hospital, squatting in an old factory and doing whatever to survive, while wearing outfits from the garbage. That definitely appealed to me as a 14 year old who was not doing any of these things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll be interested in seeing all the films you plan to review in this series. A really good (fairly recent) lesbian film I saw was Aimée and Jaguar, which was based on the real-life love story of Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim. It was such a moving, beautiful, sweet film, and I really grew to care about these dear characters and their relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Emegherd! Lesbian films. yes!

    Some of my favourites … Carol – exquisite, Desert Hearts – first HEA (Hopefully Ever After) film, But I’m A Cheerleader – great satire, Bound – lesbian crime noir, Better Than Chocolate – good clean Vancouver fun, The Hunger – but only for Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon making out, If These Walls Could Talk 2 – heart breaking and making, When Night is Falling – scissoring is a thing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for doing this. Lesbian movies are so underrated. It’s like, oh no, no one will relate to two women falling in love. Well, we can’t relate to a shapeshifting robot shooting other robots with a shotgun either so wtf

    Like

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