Great Lesbian Date Movies: Coming of Age
BY: JACLYN POPOLA
Oh heartbreaking, adolescent, closeted lesbian days of yore. Once upon a time you were twelve-years old and didn't understand what you were feeling; or you were thirteen and couldn't comprehend why all your girl friends were crazy about spending their time around boys, when all you wanted was to spend time around them. Or you were fifteen-years old and pushing it down and out from your mind. Then maybe you turned sixteen, or seventeen, and slowly began to understand.
The existence of these films (not accessible to me when I myself was young, since Netflix did not exist then) has helped many awkward and confused young girls make the transition from close-mouthed to no-longer-closeted. Don't worry, you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy them, their merit and their message is universal for any age group.
"THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE"
You know Tina from the L-Word? Well her real name is Laurel Holloman, and in this film she plays a tomboy by the name of Randy, a very out lesbian pothead who works at a gas station. When popular, privileged Evie (Nicole Parker) pulls up in her Range Rover one random day, Randy's world does a 180 and they begin a tender, intimate relationship. While Randy's family is accepting, Evie's mother (along with the rest of their backwoods town) is opposed to the girls' budding homosexuality, causing them to go into hiding. Based loosely on Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.
- Randy: I don't want to shock you or anything, but I really want to hold your hand right now. I've been wanting to hold your hand all day.
- Evie: I've held hands with a girl before.
- Randy: With a girl like me?
- Evie: No I guess not. But what's the worst that could happen?
- Randy: We could get the shit kicked out of us is all.
- Evie: Just for holding hands? I don't believe that.
- Randy: God Evie, you are so sheltered.
- Evie: [holding out her hand] Then unshelter me.
"BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE"
It may seem abrupt when mousy lesbian bookstore clerk, Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) and nomad buth, Kim (Christina Cox) move in together only moments after meeting, but the relationship that blossoms as a result of their spontaneity is nothing short of amazing. The love scene on the floor when they paint each other's bodies with chocolate sauce is set to the beautiful song "Ice Cream" by Sarah McLachlan, and it is incredibly passionate -- and not at all messy. Unfortunately, Maggie's mother is in the midst of a nasty divorce and needs a place for her and Maggie's brother to stay -- so they move in, too. Anyone who's ever had a difficult time coming out to their parents will relate wholeheartedly to this film, because that is exactly what Maggie goes through. The subplot to this is an MTF transsexual who's in love with the bookstore owner, and the drama around an order of GLBT erotica that is being held up at the border because customs official are labeling them as obscene and pornographic.
- Carla: Ouch, it's the plight of the bisexual. Gay girls won't play with you.
"ALL OVER ME"
Claude (Alison Folland) is a fifteen-year old lesbian, and her best friend Ellen (Tara Subkoff) is a fifteen-year old tease. Although Claude is perfectly content spending all her time with her BFF, who kisses and cuddles with her on several occasions, Ellen soon begins getting hot and heavy with her new boyfriend and the friendship deteriorates. Luckily, Claude has her gay rockstar-type neighbor, Luke (Pat Briggs) and gay co-worker, Jesse (Wilson Cruz who played "Ricky" on My So-Called Life) to help her through. Eventually she meets very friendly and very gay pink-haired Lucy (Leisha Hailey, singer for the band "The Murmurs", and yes, also from The L-Word) and after an intense moment where Claude breaks down crying in Lucy's bedroom while listening to Patti Smith's "Pissing in a River", they get together and Claude realizes what she'd been missing out on while tagging after Ellen all this time.
- Luke: So you guys are like sisters?
- Claude: No, we could never be sisters.
- Luke: Why?
- Claude: Because she's too beautiful. I'd be like some freak accident or something.
When you think of coming of age lesbian movies, this drama from 1996 is not the first image that pops into your mind. But rest assured that it is ripe with the desperate longing of homoeroticism between "Legs" (Angelina Jolie) a restless soul who appears at the local high school one day, and Maddy (Hedy Burress), the good-girl-art-student whose classroom Legs enters. When circumstances in the girls' bathroom throw five strangers into a sticky situation with a sexually abusive teacher, a friendship is instantaneously formed. Toss in a heroin addiction and budding feminist ideals and you've got a winner. [Trivia tidbit: this is the film where Angelina Jolie first met Jenny Shimizu. There must have been a good deal of sexual tension on the set of this sexually tense movie, because the two embarked on their own off-screen relationship shortly after filming.]
- Maddy: If I told you I loved you, would you take it the wrong way?
- Legs: I'd take it anyway you wanted me to take it.