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All Over Me (1997, 90 minutes)

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Summary:

High School best friends reach a crossroads when one of them gets a boyfriend and the other begins to come to terms with her budding sexuality.

The Review:

This movie is part of the 90’s mini explosion¬† of lesbian movies. In fact, it is a sign that filmmakers are getting together to make more of these projects together. Producers Alex and Sylvia Sichel got some help from “The Incredibly True Adventure from two Girls in Love’s” producer, Maria Maggenti. Maggenti actually gave money to help this movie get finished. Well it is a good thing she did. In the growing lesbian market, we are seeing more and more aspects of the coming out story. But not just that, we are beginning to see that lesbian relationships are not perfect. The young women in this movie learn that sometimes people don’t love you, they use you. It may remind some of their own troubled relationship. Almost all of us know the story of a straight girl teasing the lesbian with the possibility of a relationship. It happens so often, it’s become a cliche.

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Bar Girls (1994, 93 minutes)

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Summary:

L.A. lesbians hang out at the local bar, meet, fall in love, become jealous and cause all kinds of trouble. One couple in particular (Rachel and Loretta) finds itself in trouble when a handsome stranger, JR, (Camilla Griggs) attempts to seduce Rachel.

Review:

I can and will speak for and against L.A. I do live there. One thing I want to say is that I am tired of seeing Little Frida’s (coffee bar) in movies and television shows. It always looks different than it is, and I don’t happen to like hanging there. I may be the only one in L.A. though. (Update to my old review: apparently, I wasn’t the only one that hated it since that place is long gone). Anyway, I can’t think of a movie made by lesbians that makes us look worse. I know that the attempt was to make it into a funny movie and at times it does work.

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Better Than Chocolate (1999, 101 minutes)

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Summary:

“Better Than Chocolate” is a light hearted comedy about the lives of queer folks in Vancouver. Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) and Kim (Christina Cox) meet and quickly fall in lust as Kim quickly sketches Maggie on the street. Kim is a wandering artist and has no place to stay so logically she stays with Maggie. Maggie doesn’t really have a place either but the solution arises when she sublets an apartment from a sex worker, who becomes a source for some of the movie’s humor. Maggie’s bigger problem comes when her mother and brother decided to move in with Maggie. Deeply in the closet, Maggie juggles her new love with the secrecy in her family.

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Claire of the Moon (1992, 107 minutes)

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Summary:

A women writer’s retreat finds two unlikely roommates falling in love. Claire (Trisha Todd), a “straight” woman, and Noel (Karen Trumbo), a lesbian, find each other irresistible in spite of all their differences.

The Review:

You know, I have seen this movie countless time. I saw it two times at the theater and several times on video. If I had reviewed this movie the first time I saw it, surely my review would be different than it is now. Even my last viewing probably influenced this review. To say that this movie is bad is a complete understatement. The screenplay is filled with unintentional laughs. When I first saw it, my friends and I were cracking up every five seconds. The dialogue is forced, nothing these women say seems to be natural or real. The characters are so caricatured, they are hilarious. Claire and Noel, the leads, are the most realized people in the movie. Unfortunately, they too suffer from stereotyping (straight, gay, quiet, loud etc.). The other writers fall into their particular categories: the southern belle, the new age hippie and the innocent house wife. And of course, there is Maggie (Faith McDevitt).

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Bound (1996, 108 minutes)

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Summary:

Corky, a lesbian ex con, is hired to work in an apartment as a plumber where she meets Violet, your regular lesbian mob guy girlfriend. Soon, their attraction consummates into a hot affair. Violet wants to leave the mob behind, so they decide to steal 2 million dollars from the Mob and wonder if they can really trust each other.

The Review:

It would be really easy to dismiss this movie because it was made by two guys, the Wachowski brothers. I won’t make that mistake. This movie was originally written with a man in mind for the part of Corky. So did they just cast a woman instead of a man and leave everything else the same? NO, they hired Suzie Bright to help them make the lesbianism seem real. I myself don’t know if Suzie Bright is an expert on these things (even if she claims to be) but I do see the payoff on screen. Corky is very believable as a butch lesbian. Gina Gershon does such a great job that only at one point does she slip from the character. Jenniffer Tilly originally read for corky and ended up playing Violet. In a lot of ways she lucked out because that is a juicier role.

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Personal Best (1982, 124 minutes)

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Summary:

Two athletes compete for a place in the Olympics. In the process relationships are born and destroyed.

The Review:

I will always remember this movie. It was the first time I ever saw two women kissing, and I don’t mean a friendly kiss. I was sixteen years old and it gave me the biggest kick of my life. I was so thrilled, I didn’t even mind the length. Well, I am much older now and I am not as easily impressed. WARNING: be prepared to sit for a long time. This movie seems very long, much longer than the 2 hours it actually is. The truth is that since the first time I saw it, I have only seen it one other time from beginning to end. I can’t seem to get through it.

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Love and Other Catastrophes (1996, 76 minutes)

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Summary:

Female roommates struggle to find love and keep love through the course of one day. One searches for the perfect man, while the other, Mia (Frances O’Connor II) tries to keep her girlfriend, Dani (Radha Mitchell) without offering commitment.


The Review:

As you have probably already noticed, films involving queer women are often low budget independent films. This little Australian movie is no exception to the rule. Filmed for $50,000 in two weeks, the budget’s limitations are quite apparent; especially during the introduction and the closing sequence. Those scenes are shot on video and mostly serve as filler to make the movie seem longer. Nevertheless, even those scenes have some charm and do provide a little more insight to the lesbian aspect, which is after all what this reviewer is here to do. It seems very autobiographical as the lead character is a film student and the movie does spend some time discussing the merits of certain directors. The rest of the movie concentrates on one day in the life of five college students. Of course, their lives revolve mostly around their love lives. I remember the college days well, so I can attest to the obsession with romantic entanglements.

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It’s in the Water (1998, 100 minutes)

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Summary:

Azalea Springs is sent into a panic when a gay man jokingly announces that the town’s water made him gay. The rumor takes a life of its own as more of the town’s citizens come out of the closet.

The Review:

One of the enjoyable things about this movie is that it is not just a lesbian movie. Unlike all of the movies I have reviewed, this movie is the story of lesbians and gays. The intentional comedic tone of the movie also sets it apart from other lesbian movies. The film is packed with witty lines and “in” gay jokes. The reference to Bewitched (with its large gay cast) exemplifies this movie’s love for all things gay. As a self-affirming tale, this is a tribute to gay people. This is not a serious movie about the consequences of being gay but rather an amusing account of how a small town reacts to its growing gay and lesbian population.

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Lianna (1982, 110 minutes)

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Summary:

A college professor’s wife, Lianna, falls in love with a female professor, sparking a personal journey into identity.

The Review:

This may be the best lesbian movie very few people have seen. It is directed by one of America’s best directors, John Sayles. While many movies focus on a love story, this is one of the few that focuses on identity without being framed in romance. In movies, fighting for your rights or finding the courage to come out is often fueled by the passion of your one true love. When Lianna falls in love with a woman for the first time, it marks the beginning of a complicated journey into self discovery;

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Sophie and Sian

I was reading afterellen today and found out about the little young teen couple on Coronation Street. I spent most of the day catching up on youtube. It’s very cute. The girls, Sophie and Sian have really great chemistry. The story hasn’t really set a wrong foot yet. The coming out is almost done now and they supposedly will settle into a relationship. This is where all the stories go wrong, so we’ll see. They are teenagers on a soap, so I expect they’ll break up at some point, the question is how will this happen? Will they insult me as a lesbian? I have more hope for this as British soaps seem to do it better than American soaps. I can say the same thing for the German soaps. One more subscription to follow on youtube, let’s see how this ends up.

There are lots of comparisons to Naomily, but there is something different about this pair. They seem more innocent and less raw. I loved Naomily’s first season but something about the fans or the show in the second season turned me off. I don’t think it’s necessary to compare though. It’s great that English teens have two great teen couples to look up to. I wish I’d had it as a kid.