The trailer for Disobedience was released a few days ago, and I am V. HYPE ON IT:
The problem is, it’s not set to hit theaters until April 27th. And that is like 700 queer years away. SO, I figured I would take this opportunity to reflect on good movies and shows about queer women that you might not have seen before that you definitely should get into in order to fill the void these next few months. Because if there is one thing we need more of, it’s non-shitty queer stuff to watch. (There is SO MUCH shitty queer content, you guys. But I doubt I have to tell you that.)
Before we get into this, I should preface by saying I will not be discussing network TV shows, because even though I ship WayHaught and SuperCorp as much as the next guy, chances are you definitely already know about them! Same goes for queer movies I am almost positive you already know about, even if I am a big fan of ones like Life Partners and But I’m A Cheerleader and D.E.B.S, which is so bad that it’s good. For now, let’s kick things off with…
Feature Length Films
I’m starting with Thelma because I watched it for the first time on Monday. It is like Carrie, but Norwegian and gay. (So, best case scenario.) I know the whole coming out story thing tends to be overdone, but pairing that experience with supernatural abilities (SPOILER ALERT: at one point Thelma uses psychic powers to light her Christian conservative dad on fire and I think that’s p. tight!) is like, kind of extremely ideal. Some great make-outs, too, which is why we are all really here, isn’t it? Watch for $10.99 on YouTube.
First Girl I Loved
This is one that I feel could have been buzzy enough for people to have seen already, but I really liked it, and have watched it several times now, so I think it merits a mention. It’s about Anne and her first love (in case that was not apparent from the title), and it pretty perfectly captures what it’s like to have a mega-crush on someone and not really knowing how to handle that as a teenager because WHOA INTENSE HORMONES AND FEELINGS AND STUFF. If I could change anything about this movie, I would DELETE HER LAME BEST GUY FRIEND BECAUSE UGH WHAT AN AWFUL CREEP. But everything else, where she’s figuring out her sexuality and going bananas because unrequited feelings (or at least an unwillingness to acknowledge what might be requited but scary feelings) and all that jazz is pretty great. Watch for $3.99 on YouTube!
Again, you might have seen this, but WORTH REPEATING! It is just like…sad dot com, but in a good way, you know what I mean? Like it’s an “I AM FEELING FEELINGS” kind of movie, and both Lola Kirke and Breeda Wool knock it out of the park re: performances. In the film the two of them are in love, but BW’s character is married. So that causes some problems, as you can probably imagine. So fair warning, you might get bummed out, but BONUS – if there was an award for best finger fucking scene inside of a pickup truck in a parking lot, this would totally win that! Again, watch for $3.99 on YouTube!
A Date for Mad Mary
Hi I really, really loved this movie! It’s from Ireland, and it’s about a fuck-up named Mary who has anger management problems. (I know what you’re thinking, but in actuality it is very sweet!) Mary is fresh out of prison for beating up another girl, and now she has to find herself a date for her best friend’s wedding. (Except her best friend isn’t even really a best friend anymore, and she’s a bridezilla on top of that, and basically it’s all a bit of a mess.) Mary doesn’t know (or at least doesn’t acknowledge that she knows) that she’s queer until she meets Jess, the wedding planner. Can Mary get her shit together?! Will she survive the wedding?! Does Jess even like her back?! I know the answers to all of these questions but I AIN’T NO SNITCH, so you’re gonna have to watch and find out for yourself. (And you guessed it – you can do that for $3.99 on YouTube!)
You might’ve seen that this one (from Israel) is on Netflix at the moment, but I’m going to shout it out anyway because it’s new enough that you might not have gotten around to watching yet. It’s also very good, but you probably gathered that from the fact it made this list in the first place. It captures the experience of a first queer experience (and of being a teenager) really nicely, and there is also a scene where the main character laughs during sex (because sex is funny sometimes, you guys) and gets a chilly response, and I very strongly identify with that because being a human is hard sometimes! Anyway, this is 100% one to add to ye olde watch list if you’ve not done so already, so go forth and make that happen.
Pariah is another one available on Netflix at the moment, and it’s been out for about seven years at this point, so the main reason I’m including it on this list (which doesn’t go too super far back in time) is because it’s a non-negotiable watch; if you have somehow not seen it yet, YOU MUST DO IT NOW. It’s so beautiful, and also very heartbreaking. It takes a look into the life of Alike (“Lee” for short), a closeted and fairly gender conforming seventeen-year-old at home (to appease her parents), but an out, butch lesbian one most other places. It is going to hit you in all of the feels, so be prepared. Feeling like you have to hide something pretty big about yourself (especially from your family) is so devastatingly heavy, and when physical appearance factors into that sneaking around, and being made to feel like you have to wear an ill-fitting disguise half the time instead of presenting yourself in a way that feels comfortable and authentic (in this case a masculine way), I mean, I cannot even imagine how extra difficult that would be. (I repeat. All of the feels.)
Fill Your Heart With French Fries
One of the nice things about this short (by Tamar Glezerman) is that the queer element is fairly inconsequential. There is a brief breakup at the beginning so you know the main character was involved with a woman, but from there, it just explores the very universal experience of having your heart broken, and the slightly less universal experience of feeling so grief-stricken that you cannot bring yourself to leave the scene of the breakup (in this case, a french fry restaurant) for a whole week. It’s funny and heartwarming and beautifully shot, so I’d highly recommend carving a little time out of your day to check it out if you haven’t already.
This short film is so weird and aesthetically incredible and I LOVE IT. It’s from the Netherlands, and if you and I are the same age, then I just feel like you’ll watch it and automatically be nostalgic for the days of chat rooms and inflatable furniture and fuzzy pens. (The Delia’s days, as I fondly remember them.) Visually and narratively delightful stuff from Dominique Michelle Gimberg. Keep it up, gurl!
She Said, She Said
This is five years old now, but is still one of my favorite shorts! It’s about two women going through the process of legally dividing up their stuff during a divorce. Best seven minutes, trust!
Lesbian Bed Death (LBD) is a real thing, you guys. This little short is very charming in its depiction of the phenomenon, and I am very here for it. (The film, I mean. Not LBD.)
Okay, this one is actually a Cornetto ad, but IT IS SO CUTE AND GOOD. Please note that I am partial to anything and everything relating to tennis, so I am pretty much the target demographic for the commercial, but I still think everyone will enjoy watching.
I fully appreciate the groundbreaking nature of The L Word, but Jesus is it painful to watch in 2018. That’s why I’m so stoked that people are really leaning into the whole queer web series thing, and why Féminin/Féminin (from Chloé Robichaud and Florence Gagnon) is one of my favorite ones of the bunch! It’s from Canada (specifically Montreal, so most of the dialogue is in French) and follows the lives of a group of queer lady friends as they navigate dating and other life stuff. My favorite episodes are 1. the one where the group’s only non-queer friend realizes that she actually might not be as straight as she previously thought, and 2. the one where a character (Léa) goes to great lengths trying to convince herself (and everyone else) that doesn’t want to settle down. BUT, 3. all of the storylines are v. strong in both visuals ‘n narrative, so 4. WATCH THEM!
I really loved watching this! Set in LA, it’s about Isobel, a twenty-something struggling to pay the rent // navigate the whole “I just realized I’m queer” thing // figure out her purpose in life // etc. Lots of things to relate to – being broke, feeling unsure if you’re doing your life right, being met with skepticism or downright disdain when on a date with another woman you reveal you have dated and/or would still date men…all that great stuff! Good script and good acting (I especially love Meredith Hagner in this, who you might recognize from Search Party, plus there are cameos by Jemima Kirke, Breeda Wool AND Leisha Hailey.) 10/10 would recommend to binge on Facebook.
This web series is from Kinda TV’s YouTube channel, which you might know from its host, Natasha Negovanlis, who you would probably recognize as Carmilla the lesbian vampire. (If not, check out Carmilla the web series, also on Kinda TV, and Carmilla the movie right here!) It’s about a wildly popular lesbian musical duo that has ended their romantic relationship, but is contractually obligated to continue making music together until they’ve released another record. (You can probably imagine how that would be a nightmarish scenario, and how it would make for an excellent watch.) In addition to being super fun, it’s also really beautifully shot and styled. Very, very good stuff. Watch S1 on YouTube now!
Girl Ship TV
So this isn’t really a web series, because it’s an entire YouTube channel. (Although it is home to a few of its own originals if you want to check any of those out.) The reason I’m listing it is because they do a series called Drunk Lesbians Watch that is kind of one of my favorite things ever – each time there’s a new guest (some repeats, but usually shuffled) and (as you might have guessed) they get drunk and commentate lesbian movies. There are so many trash lesbian films that it’s very rewarding to see other people discussing that level of sheer awfulness whilst intoxicated. So far they’ve done classically terrible ones like Bloomington (oh my god) and Jenny’s Wedding (OH MY GOD), although they also watch ones that most people can agree are good, like Kiss Me and Imagine Me And You. (You know, ones where there is at least some mildly believable chemistry and also no one dies. V. rare.) A good place to reminisce about classics, but also a good place to double-check that you’ve seen ALL of the movies. (I have seen ALL of the movies.) Also I hate Carol but I feel like I have to mention it, so this is me doing that with this example of DLW:
This is a gem of a web series. It’s definitely got some Broad City vibes (I was going to say “a gayer Broad City“, but let’s face it, Broad City is already pretty gay), which is great. In the series, Bee (one of the main characters) tries to figure out if straight Dylan (who she has a big ol’ lesbian crush on, and who she catfished on Tinder by pretending to be a dude, which is fucked up but also the funniest) is actually straight or whether they’re more than gal pals. This is a v. relatable plot line. (Like, THE most relatable plot line.) Season 2 is on it’s way, so get caught up watching all of S1 for free on YouTube now!
What do you think I should be watching since I’ve obviously seen all of these? Any good recommendations? Have YOU seen all of these? Are we the same person? TELL ME PLEASE AND THANK YOU DOT COM!