I wanted to watch this film next because Julie Bindel gave it a good review and I was sure if she liked it, so would I. It was fantastic! Please do read Bindel’s review in the Guardian.
This film had the Strong Female Characters that I like to see and it portrayed lesbians in a positive way. It doesn’t portray as being perfect, but it does portray us as strong and capable despite our human flaws.
The main character is named Elmira but likes to be called E. She is an Arabic Australian who is a classical clarinet player but when the film begins she has dropped out of her music career to be a DJ in a club. Her boss, Jonny, is a gangster type who is a controlling asshole who sexually harasses her. She ends up with a bag of money that he was exchanging in one of his deals, and she takes off with it as a power play. It’s not that she thinks she’ll escape him forever or that she wants to keep the money, she just wants to show him he can’t control her.
E takes off on a road trip across the Australian outback with her gay male friend/fake husband, Matt. On the road trip, E shows her strength and courage but Matt is frightened and jumpy. We stop by E’s family and we learn what her parents are like—she is closeted because her parents are traditional and have high expectations for her, and she has been a perpetual disappointment for them. We also stop by several friends and/or exes and it’s obvious that E tends to piss people off, because nobody wants to take her in and hide her from her gangster boss. Finally she ends up at the remote farm of her ex who she still loves but really messed things up with previously. Her ex is not happy to see her because she broke her heart, but the old feelings quickly stir up again between the two.
While on the farm, E and her ex, Trish, do outdoor farm work (boy, do they look sexy driving the tractor!) and Matt does the domestic duties such as cooking and sewing. Bindel described it as “camp versus dykey theme.” Also while on the farm, the two women can’t resist having sex again, despite the awful break-up they endured previously. This scene is tied with Camp Belvidere as the best lesbian sex scenes I’ve ever seen. Julie Bindel called it “tasteful” and my partner called it “real lesbian erotica” and here’s how I describe it: instead of being an over-the-top fake performance like what you see in the L Word, it was a realistic portrayal of what women actually do, and it was really beautiful. I’m not gonna lie, we backtracked and watched it again!
I loved how international the film was. Even though it took place in Australia, there is a Scottish character and an Irish character (with adorable accents) and there is also spoken Arabic. The mixture of accents was lovely to hear. There was also clarinet concertos playing in the background a lot—I’d say they were an ongoing theme to remind us of who E really is when she’s not going on personal growth adventures, and between the accents and the music this film was a feast for the ears as well as the eyes.
My favourite thing about the film is what a strong person E is. She shows her gangster boss she is not taking his crap, and she fixes several of the problems in her life during the process. What a fantastic portrayal of lesbians on film!
It’s available on Netflix and here is the trailer: