Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What a World

A new administration, a new lesbian period piece. See, 2021 isn’t so bad after all. (You know, minus the coup and corruption and 74 million crazy people who keep demanding four more years of all that horror.) So, the teaser scene for ‘The World to Come” was released last fall. And now the full trailer is here filled with women in sweeping frocks on the frontier. I will say, with some caveats, that it looks pretty good. You can already feel the chemistry between Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston as Tally and Abigail. I’m not wild about the whole hog butchering stuff (please let that be a short, short scene) and I’m especially not wild about Casey “serial sexual harasser” Affleck in the cast.

And, of again, what’s up with all the lesbian period pieces? You know queer women exist in present day, right? It’s clearly not that lesbian period pieces are bad in and of themselves. Most of them have been quite good. But it just odd that for the past several years we’re getting at least one if not several films featuring historical romance. I mean, maybe it’s the “Carol” effect on steroids. Or maybe they think old-timey lesbians are a safer bet at the box office.

What makes this trend somewhat problematic as well is the tendency for them to center white stories. The vast majority of the recent spate of films have almost exclusively white casts from “The Favourite,” “Portrait of a Woman on Fire,” “Wild Nights with Emily,” “Vita & Virginia,” “Tell It to the Bees,” “Ammonite,” and yes, even our beloved “Carol.”

Yes, there have been some quality exceptions including “The Handmaiden,” “Bessie,” and last year’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” - but, honestly, the latter was structured in a way where Ma was more of a foundational background character and her band took center stage. I’m also excited to finally see “Summerland.” And, since we’re being honest, the contemporary lesbian movies that have been released also featured mostly white casts (hello, “Happiest Season”).

Now, obviously, I’m going to see “The World to Come” movie because it’s about women in love and there’s kissing and such. But, again, I am begging filmmakers to consider the full spectrum of queer women’s experience both through time and in the diversity of our population. Also, I swear they’d better not kill one or both of these women off. Because it’s been a long four years and I need a happily ever after.

2 comments:

Carmen San Diego said...

After the massacre of criticism that the LGBT community put Happiest Season through I wouldn’t blame Hollywood for holding back on non-old timey lesbians

Shasta said...

All I could see through this was “Anne and Diana?!?! đź’–đź’–đź’–”
Please don’t be dismal....
And I wish The Happiest Season weren’t framed as a holiday movie. Those are supposed to feel good!