As much as I look forward to the holidays, I should also concede that this vacation was not as productive as I had set out to make it. Nevertheless, prodded by an article on the internet, I ended up binge-watching some really good LGBTQ+ movies. While all of them were appreciable, a few of them particularly stood out for me.
Released in 2014, this movie is based on the real-life incidents that happened in Wales in 1984. The movie chronicles the rise of the support group created by gay and lesbian activists, led by Mark Ashton, in order to support the miners striking against the Thatcher government. Aptly named Lesbians and Gays Support Miners (LGSM), the group takes up the challenge to back the orthodox miner community, risking the conservative government’s ire and the miners’ homophobic jibes while not being able to garner support from within their own community. Undaunted, they set about their task with equal parts fortitude and flamboyance.
At the heart of the film’s soul lies the way two groups, subject to ridicule by the government, eventually support each other and that is beautiful enough. To realize that this actually happened, thirty years ago, is unbelievable. The movie also contains a few subplots, most importantly the coming-of-age and coming out of Joe Cooper and Mark’s discovery that he is HIV +ve. All the members of the cast do an excellent job of bringing out the little vulnerabilities of the respective characters. For me though, the real star will remain the story and the message of hope and goodwill that it successfully passes on to the viewers.
It is difficult enough to be openly gay in a workplace that does not grant equal rights to queer people, and if that workplace turns out be public service in the 1970s in United States. The eponymous film, released in 2008, is based on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Depicting his journey from being a closeted man who sought clandestine encounters to a vocal activist-politician who championed the cause of equal rights, this movie is one of the best biopics that I have seen.
“I am Harvey Milk, and I am here to recruit you.” Armed with this refrain, tenacity and unflinching support of his close group, Milk manages to make a place for himself in the political discourse, not just in San Francisco or California, but throughout the nation. Harvey pays for all this, however, with not only the pain of breakdown of multiple relationships but eventually his life. The movie went on to win several awards and secured eight nominations at the Oscars and ended up winning two—Best Original Screenplay for Dustin Black and Best Actor (Male) for Sean Penn’s superb portrayal of the title character.
The Way He Looks
The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) is a 2014 Brazilian movie based on the dynamics of friendship and love. In fact, the three leads of the movie had originally starred in a short film directed by the same director, and reprised their roles for this feature. The movie starts off by introducing the viewers to the characters—Leornado, the visually-impaired teenager, his childhood friend Giovana, and Gabriel, the new student. who soon become close friends and start spending a lot of time together. Although it goes very well for them in the start, Giovana soon starts feeling jealous of Leornado giving Gabriel more attention than her.
The film explores how both the boys come to terms with their sexualities and feelings for each other while Giovana is still adjusting to the fact that she is no longer as close to Leornado as she once was. Despite the unusual characters and relationships, the movie retains the typical elements of the teen drama genre i.e. fights, drunken kisses and realizations. The three actors bring to life the emotions without making it look over-the-top. The movie also ended up introducing me to the foot-tapping music of Belle and Sebastian, for which I would be always grateful.