In this week’s edition of Kate can’t catch a break and just enjoy something, everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion on Clea DuVall’s new lesbian Christmas romcom “Happiest Season.” I personally really enjoyed it, but a lot of people are criticizing it merely for it being something they don’t want it to be: a coming out story. (Mind you, this is something that actually happened to Duvall and regardless of the quality of the film, I believe she is entitled to tell a story about her own experience). It’s of course not a perfect movie and I’ve seen some valid criticisms of it, but that one doesn’t add up for me.
But also, I get it. You want more variety in your Sapphic stories. And one can only watch “Imagine Me and You” and “But I’m A Cheerleader” so many times. So I give you:
7 Sapphic Movies That Aren’t About Coming Out
“Bound” is one of those movies where the moment I finished it I knew it would be an all-time fave. I cannot count the number of times I have thought I had a cool idea for a movie and realized it’s just “Bound.” I also like to think I look like Gina Gershon in this when I wear a white tank top and slacks. (I don’t.) The Wachowski’s first feature is a SUPER sexy modern noir about an ex-con who falls for a mobster’s girlfriend and schemes with her to steal his money. I love that it deviates from the usual femme fatale and that the two leads actually end up caring about each other and getting their happy ending.
Addicted to Fresno
Anyone who wanted more Gay Aubrey Plaza after “Happiest Season” can look no further. This dark comedy is pretty wild and this is not the main plot but I feel like it’s worth mentioning. Plaza plays a Krav Maga instructor at the gym Natasha Lyonne, another kryptonite for lesbians, goes to. Like I cannot stress enough that Aubrey Plaza is a Krav Maga instructor dating Natasha Lyonne. What more is there to say?
Hearts Beat Loud
There’s a scene in this that reveals in such a casual way that teenager Kiersey Clemons is already out to her dad Nick Offerman. They already have such an interesting father/daughter dynamic as they form a band the summer be leaves for college, but this aspect was so refreshing to see in a queer teen story. Their relationship is the main part of the film, but Clemons goes on plenty of cute gay dates with Sasha Lane and they watch Mitski videos together so that feels like a win.
Go Fish/The Watermelon Woman
Or as I like to call it: the Guinevere Turner Cinematic Universe. Turner co-wrote “Go Fish” and stars as the love interested in both. I’m seeing “The Watermelon Woman” on more and more lists, and rightfully so. Cheryl Dunye’s feature debut is a must-see. It pairs well with “Go Fish” not just because of the GTCU of it all, but because both are time capsules of a 90’s lesbian indie film culture I am fascinated by. “Go Fish” also has so many conversations and parts that feel like the same arguments in the community we still hear today.
Here we go: Clea Duvall actually did write and direct a movie with an adult Sapphic couple that has nothing to do with coming out. It’s a “But I’m a Cheerleader” reunion here with Natasha Lyonne (sensing a pattern here?) and they still have incredible chemistry.
More about friendship than romance but then again, our lives don’t always revolve around the latter. Plus lesbian Leighton Meester crying at the drive-through when they’re out of mozzarella sticks is something that can be so relatable.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
This is left off so many LGBT/Lesbian movie rec lists and I am personally going to do everything in my power to change that because Melissa McCarthy as jaded biographer Lee Israel in this is probably the most seen I have ever felt in terms of representation. We see her life outside her sexuality, we see her dynamic with an old ex, and we see her clumsily flirt with a cute autograph dealer. A vastly underlooked gem.