So many lesbian films are about young women. In fact, pretty much everything is about young women. The great thing about this film is it’s about old women.
Cloudburst is about two American lesbians in their 80s who have been together for the last 30 years. Stella is a tough and ornery woman who drives a truck and is always in a flannel shirt. She has the worst potty mouth ever and comes up with the rudest things to say to people. She is also knee-slapping hilarious. Dotty is a sweet old grandma who is losing her eyesight but hasn’t lost her lovely disposition. The two women are fiercely devoted to each other, so when Dotty’s granddaughter tries to put her in a long-term care home, Stella is devastated.
Stella is such a wild and passionate woman that when the granddaughter tells her that she is taking Dotty away, Stella throws hot water and flour on her face and dramatically kicks her out of the house. The granddaughter comes back with a court order and a police officer and Stella attacks the police officer and calls him a bunch of terrible names. The officer, a young man, has known Stella since he was a kid, but after swearing profusely at him, Stella tells him that she reached second base with his grandmother when they were in seventh grade.
Dotty’s granddaughter doesn’t know that Stella and Dotty are a lesbian couple, despite the fact that it’s really obvious. When Stella is asked to be patient with the young woman, she says “I’ve been a dyke for 70 years and with the same woman for 30 of them!” She doesn’t want to be patient anymore with idiots who don’t get it.
Despite Stella’s attempts to stop it, Dotty is brought to a long-term care home. So, naturally, Stella breaks in during the night and the two women distract the security guard and sneak out. What follows is a Thelma & Louise style road trip where they drive from Maine to Nova Scotia, where they can legally get married. (Of course the law has since changed in the U.S. so now they could get married in Maine, too!) At first the marriage is an attempt to make it easier for Dotty to stay at home with Stella, but gradually Stella realizes she can no longer care for Dotty and she’ll have to go to a home anyway. After that, the marriage becomes more about affirming their relationship than anything else. Dotty says that if she has to die in a nursing home, she wants to at least die as Stella’s wife.
On their road trip they pick up a young hunky male hitchhiker, just like in Thelma & Louise. The young man is surprised by Stella’s potty mouth but feels inspired by the love the two women have for each other. He makes a great speech in a bar in Nova Scotia, where he says “If love is your goal, be like these two old dykes!”
The scenery in this film is lovely. You get to see the Nova Scotia landscape and there is a scene at the gorgeous Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world. The two women get to touch the bottom of an island while the tide is low, but then unfortunately it comes back, and quickly!
The only thing about this film that annoys me is the scene where the young hitchhiker’s dad is naked and running around on the lawn. It really is a funny scene—he ends up outside naked because of an unfortunate turn of events and it keeps getting more hilariously unfortunate. But the thing is, they show all of his anatomy, and I could really do without the sight of dick while watching a lesbian film. My partner doesn’t really mind this section—I think she recognizes the hilarity and doesn’t care. In fact, the man is being made fun of a bit. My partner has always had a better sense of humour than I have.
This film is lovely, heartwarming, and hilarious. It’s available on Netflix and here is the trailer. Enjoy!