2018 is gonna be a beautiful year for queer women in cinema, but there’s just one thing

'The Miseducation of Cameron Post'
Image: sundance institute

Between Adam Rippon, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and this rim job cartoon Piers Morgan repeatedly tweeted out, 2018 has had a spectacularly gay start. 

In keeping with historical tradition, queer women have been noticeably less visible. There have been so few bright spots outside of Cynthia Nixon’s possible earth-shattering gubernatorial run. The situation has become so dire that some of us in the queer women’s community are considering drafting Timothée Chalamet and claiming him as one of our own.

Fear not, queer women and the humans who like them. The community is scheduled to make a subdued splash in 2018, and in one of the places they’re least likely to be found — on screen. 

With the exception of Carol and their starred PornHub collection, most Americans know no more than a handful of films featuring queer women. In 2017, GLAAD found that of the 2016’s top films just 18% included LGBTQ characters. Of those, 83% were cis gay men. Lesbian representation increased by 35% in 2016 and bisexual representation by 13% — but the growth only appeared dramatic because previous representation was so minimal.

2017 saw some improvement, though most movies featuring queer women were relegated to the indie bubble. Blockbuster movies like Ghostbusters and Power Rangers hinted at their characters’ queerness without doing anything explicitly and risking the wrath of the Great Middle American Consumer. 

2018 will be better, even if just by default. Queer women dominated Sundance. At least 11 movies this year will feature a central queer female character, and so many of them are historical dramas. There’s even a few films in my favorite category, lesbian misandrist homicidal psychopaths in love <3 <3.

Don’t get me wrong — there’s still so much room for growth. Most of these movies will be limited to indie audiences. Representation of disabled folks, trans women, and queer women of color is painfully limited and bad. Do better.

Still, there’s something to hold onto here. Here’s a brief preview of what’s to come.

1. Disobedience

Disobedience is the perfect movie if you’re the type of queer who loves a nice cold understated romance. Directed by Sebastián Lelio and featuring Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz, the film tells the story of two secret lesbian lovers (the best kind) who grow up in the Orthodox community in London. Disobedience premiered at TIFF to generally positive reviews, though Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson added a hesitant qualification: “the film goes past solemn … and enters the realm of almost non-feeling.”

The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 27, 2018.

2. Becks

Back when I was in college, lesbians and acoustic guitar musicians were basically synonymous. Which is why I couldn’t be happier to see this under-represented, delightfully stereotypical demographic represented on screen in Becks. The film features Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) as a Brooklyn musician who moves in with her mother after a relationship goes sour. It’s only a quasi-musical, which shouldn’t deter the xhaters among us.

Becks was released on February 8th at theaters probably not near you. It’s also available for rent or to buy on YouTube.

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post has all the ingredients for an excellent queer film: an early ’90s setting, Chloë Grace Moretz, and a painfully topical social issue — conversion therapy. (Thanks, Mike Pence.) The dramedy won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January, with The Guardian branding it as “a panacea for gay kids for years to come.” 

Bonus: it was directed by Desiree Akhavan, co-creator of queer web series *masterpiece* “The Slope.” It’s also one of the few films on this list to prominent feature actors of color. 

4. Lizzie

Image: sundance institute

Here’s everything you need to know about this film:

– Chloë Sevigny as infamous misandrist maybe-murderer Lizzie Borden

– Kristen Stewart as her hot lesbian lover-housekeeper

– There’s a nude execution scene.

– That’s pretty much it.

Please ignore the mixed reviews that came out of Sundance, as well as Sevigny’s own critiques of the film. This film is great by definition.

Roadside attractions will release Lizzie sometime this summer.

5. Vita and Virginia

In the genre of “melancholy literary queers in love,” we have Chanya Button’s Vita and Virginia, a British period drama that recounts the great romance between Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki) and Vita Sackwell West (Gemma Arterton). If you’re not familiar with the romance, I highly encourage you to read selections from their queer love letters, like this one from West to Woolf:

“I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way…So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become.”

It is incredible how essential this film’s 2018 release has become to me. 

6. My Days of Mercy

My Days of Mercy is the ultimate film for those of us proudly identify as queer social justice warriors. Kata Mara plays an anti-death penalty activist who falls in love with Ellen Page, the daughter of a man on death row. 

This plot is straight out my college creative composition class, and I am here for it. Did I mention that Mara’s character is named …. Mercy?

Be still, teenage lit mag heart!

My Days of Mercy premiered at TIFF in 2017 to mostly positive if incredibly confused reviews. It’s unclear when it’ll be in wider release.

7. Tell it to The Bees

Fact (unproven, but still a fact): 1950’s small-town Britain was a breeding ground for queer romances. Based on Fiona Shaw’s novel, the film features Anna Paquin playing a doctor who falls in love with her patient’s mother, played by Holliday Grainger.

The film reportedly blends social realism with magical realism to create the kind of queer melodrama we deserve. No word yet on its release date, but we (the dorks reading this article) will be waiting with bated breath.

8. Porcupine Lake

There can never be too many queer coming-of-age summer romances. Thankfully, we have Porcupine Lake, a modest Canadian indie which features two best friends who form a romance.

Not all queer teenagers fall in love with their best friends, but at risk of angering the queer pundit class, many of us do. Porcupine Lake premiered at TIFF in 2017 and will be made more widely available sometime this year.

9. Saturday Church

Saturday Church dispels with gender binary fiction to give us Ulysses, a 14-year-old kid trying to navigate his gender identity all while processing his parent’s passing.  To escape from the trauma, Ulysses retreats into a world of musical fantasy and finds community at Saturday Church, a program that serves LGBTQ youth. 

While Saturday Church may not have a queer cis woman as its main, it represents the full LGBTQ spectrum, including trans and queer kids of color, who are far less likely to find representation on screen. Awesome.

Saturday Church came out in early January and is now available for purchase on YouTube and Google play.

10. Colette

Image: jason merritt/Getty Images

“Colette ranks as one of the great roles for which Keira Knightley will be remembered,” Variety wrote of the film in January. 

Either the reviewer is correct, or they didn’t see Knight’s 2003 masterpiece Bend it Like Beckham. Whatever. I am thrilled. Keira Knightly plays Colette, a brilliant writer married to a dominating, sometimes abusive Parisian named Willy (Dominic West). Knight has an affair with gender nonconforming Marquise de Belbeuf. 

This country needs more historical dramas featuring literary queers in love. Thank God for this tiny part of 2018.

Bleecker Street will release the film on September 21, 2018.

11. Adam

I am skeptical of anyone who recommends YA fiction, having spent years trying to fend off John Green recommendations. Adam, a deeply funny queer and trans activist coming of age novel, might be one of the few exceptions. And now it’s becoming a movie.

Desiree Akhavan of The Miseducation of Cameron Post directed the film. It’s set to make us actually laugh sometime in 2018.

12. A Fantastic Woman

Even though A Fantastic Woman came out at the end of 2017, it didn’t fully hit theaters until 2018 so I’m including it on this list. Aaaaand I wanted to take the opportunity to loudly gush about actress Daniela Vega, the film’s star who’ll become the first out trans woman to present at the Oscars in 2018.

Vega plays a trans woman who is exiled by her family after her partner’s passing. The Guardian called it a “vibrant combination of romance, fantasy and detective story” and a “huge step forward” for the trans community. Bonus: A trans actress actually plays a trans character, which is exceedingly rare in Hollywood films featuring trans characters. They’d much rather fawn over pretty boys Eddie Redmayne and Jared Leto. 

A Fantastic Woman is in theaters now. Go see it! And all the other films listed above. 2018 is going to be a bad year. At least we’ll have these tiny loving films to keep us company until a better future arrives.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Marissa Safont2018 is gonna be a beautiful year for queer women in cinema, but there’s just one thing

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