Queer Eye for the Straight Hollywood Executive



1995 Hollywood Feature from the always interesting Wachowskis

Film Noir gangster genre with a Lesbian twist - sensual - but for whom?

Review Link

Roger Ebert's review

Connie's Presentations

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Other Movies in this Category that You Might Enjoy


Lianna (1983)

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Lianna (1983): An early film that explores love and desire among women. Indie golden boy from way back, John Sayles Sayles (8 Men Out, Matewan, Lone Star, Return of the Secaucus Seven) wrote and directed the deft story of Lianna (Linda Griffiths), a philandering college professor's wife and a mom who takes a psychology course to save her from imminent suburban ennui but falls for her female professor instead. As the story goes, Lianna and professor Ruth (Jane Halleren) begin an affair that goes awry when Lianna comes across a little too strong out of the gate. Lianna goes on to leave her husband and to explore her sexual and emotional desire for other women. As early lesbian-themed movies go, the ending was not a particularly happy girl-gets-girl story, but Sayles presents the subject with such a gentle inquiry and so much pathos, it's tough not to root for this little movie that could. -T.E.G.


Orlando (1992)

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Orlando (1992): Based on Virginia Woolf's fantasy novel of the same name, Tilda Swinton plays the young nobleman who, at Queen Elizabeth I's command, stays young forever. But Orlando also changes gender and becomes a woman of keen insight and delicate irony. Director Sally Potter got the tone just right here, and of course there is Tilda handling nobility and gender fluidity as only she can. Bon vivant Quentin Crisp has a star turn as Queen Elizabeth. The sets and costumes are superb, which makes the two Oscar nominations in those categories no surprise. -C.H.


Philadelphia (1993)

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Philadelphia (1993): Philadelphia encapsulates so many things that signify excellent filmmaking, but one of them is showing something that is simply true to life: When we get to know people who are different from ourselves, we become better people. Tom Hanks's unparalleled performance as Andrew Beckett, a man who is fighting for his dignity and his life, convinces small-time (and homophobic) lawyer Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, to represent him in a wrongful-termination suit. The film came out before there were revolutionary drugs that helped save the lives of many with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, it followed the initial shock of the epidemic, which led to heightened paranoia on one side, and on the other, a better understanding of the virus itself. Philadelphia is undoubtedly a groundbreaking time capsule. -M.G.

Scott's Comments:
If you haven't seen this movie, it is well worth seeing. It really is a good movie. However, it was not made for the gay audience, much less for persons with AIDS. It is a mainstream movie aimed at the mainstream audience with two hetereosexual stars playing gay. That's why it is in this category and not with Parting Glances. We do appreciate this movie, however.

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
Based on a shocking true story, Peter Jackson's film is a surreal, dramatic depiction of obsessive teen love gone horribly awry. Kate Winslet made her big screen debut as Juliet, a pretty, vivacious girl who shared a strong attachement with moody, pensive Pauline.When their parents became concerned about the nature of their relationship and tried to keep them apart, Pauline and Juliet killed Pauline's mother. Why is a film about such a horribly depressing topic on this list? Probably because many of us can relate to being prevented from embracing our first love because of our sexuality, and how hopeless and desperate repression can make us feel. Also, did we mention Kate Winslet?

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Heavenly Creatures (1994): Gorgeous and captivating, Heavenly Creatures is a study in the psychosis and overwhelming qualities of teenage love, but unlike other cinematic forays with lesbian killers (think Basic Instinct), this one is real and resonant with a crime based on true life that never feels exploitive. Directed by Peter Jackson (long before Lord of the Rings fame), the New Zealand drama features Kate Winslet (pre-Titanic) and Melanie Lynskey (making her film debut at 16, long before Two and a Half Men made her famous) as two teenagers falling in love and creating their own colorful world - it's so iconic it was parodied on The Simpsons in 2009 - who are then pushed to murder (the real-life case it's based on is the notorious Parker-Hulme murder in 1954 New Zealand). -D.A.M.

Serving in Silence

Serving In Silence: The Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995)

Scott's Comments:
Excellent made-for-TV biopic starring Glenn Close and Judy Davis about real life Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer of the Washington State National Guard. At age 46, after a marriage and four sons, she fell in love with another woman, Diane Divelbess. Despite her excellent service record and a PhD in Nursing, she was discharged in 1992. She fought the discharge in the courts and her discharge was overturned as unconstitutional, despite "don't ask, don't tell". She served as an open lesbian until her retirement in 1997 and married Daine Divelbess in 2012 when marriage became equal in Washington State. This is a groundbreaking movie about a groundbreaking activist.

In & Out

In & Out (1997)

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
In & Out (1997): The first big blockbuster comedy about coming out (unless you count Mr. Wrong, which is a read-between-the-lines allegory of Ellen's coming-out), this Frank Oz popcorn flick is famous for the (then-groundbreaking) 10-second kiss between Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck, both big stars at the time. The film is inspired by Tom Hanks's real-life Oscar speech in which he thanked his gay high school drama teacher. In this one, Kline plays the teacher who is outed by a former student at the Oscars, only it's news to him. But something about it inspires him to reevaluate, and it's not just hunky Tom Selleck. Laughs ensue. It's the type of gay movie you can watch with your grandparents. -D.A.M.

Aimee & Jaguar

Aimee and Jaguar (1999)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
The historical film is based on a real-life tragic love story that was detailed in memoirs found after WWII. The cinematography and acting were impeccable, the story undeniably moving. This tearjerker won both actresses Best Actress awards at Berlinale and was also nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes that year. A Holocaust story like we hadn't heard before, it also proved lesbians have been part of even the worst of times in the history of the world.

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Aimée & Jaguar (1999): Based on Erica Fischer's biography of the unbelievable story of forbidden lesbian love in World War II between a Jewish woman working with the underground and a Nazi officer's wife, Max Färberböck's film is as devastating as it is beautiful. Maria Schrader stars as the defiant Felice Schragenheim, who meets Juliane Köhler's German housewife Lilly Wust and instantly falls in love with her. The unabashed Felice begins a silent affair, at first sending flowers to Lilly and signing the card as "Jaguar." Eventually, Lilly falls for her "Jaguar." An incredibly impassioned story that depicts women fearless in their love, the film offers moments of sheer joy as well as utter terror, as the love affair is doomed from the start. -T.E.G.

If These Walls Could Talk 2

If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
HBO's TV movie featured an all-star cast in vignettes of lesbian life throughout three different decades. Dealing with ideas of life-long partnership ignored by one's family, conceiving a child, attempts to become part of a feminist party and other political statements, If These Walls Could Talk 2 is an important piece that people could still learn from, 12 years later. It won Vanessa Redgrave an Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award, and the entire cast and crew were awarded the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards for its "excellence and innovation." Also it was probably the last time we'll ever see Anne Heche direct any part of a lesbian film.

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
David Lynch's psychological thriller explores the romantic relationship between Naomi Watts and Laura Herring's characters through the means of nonlinear vignettes. Critics have spent a decade trying to parse the "true" story from the surreal elements of the narrative. The film was nominated for a truck-load of Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Critics Association awards.

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Mulholland Drive (2001): Director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) has generated a cult following for his surrealist projects that often shine a spotlight on the unusual and bizarre - and Mulholland Drive may be his most celebrated thriller. Set in Los Angeles, the neo-noir film follows the mystery of a beautiful woman (Laura Harring) who, suffering from amnesia and being chased by unknown threatening forces, seeks to unravel the mystery of her identity with the aid of an aspiring actress and recent arrival to Hollywood (Naomi Watts). In the course of their investigation, the women develop a relationship that becomes intimate, and Lynch's dark lens lets the viewer catch glimpses of the dangerous consequences that can come with obsession. -D.R.

Scott's Comments:
Roger Ebert gave it four stars, his highest rating: Click here for his review. Strangely enough, I agree with almost everything Roger Ebert says, which is why I wouldn't give it more than two stars. For some reason I want my movies to actually make some sense. But then that's why I'm no Roger Ebert. I strongly suggest you read his review before spending the time watching Mulholland Drive. Reading the review before watching will not spoil the movie for you, since the movie isn't supposed to actually make sense. That said, it is a fascinating, sexy movie very similar to Bound, and you may find it extraordinary.

The Hours

The Hours (2002)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
Based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film looks at the lives of three women across three generations, all of whom are connected by Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. Among the stories is that of the lesbian relationship between Meryl Streep's Clarissa Vaughn and Allison Janney's Sally Lester.

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
The Hours (2002): Boasting nine Oscar nominations, The Hours is a powerhouse of acting that boasts the talents of Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman, who won Best Actress for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf. Based on the novel by gay author Michael Cunningham and directed by Stephen Daldry, The Hours depicts characters across the span of the 20th century who are all drawn to members of the same sex. And like Ed Harris's character, a gay poet dying of an AIDS-related illness, each is drawn toward the precipice of suicide. But what easily could have been a flat tale of woe taps into a deeper font. Masterful storytelling and performances stress the combined human powers of love, obligation, and regret in maintaining one's grasp on life and all the hours therein. -D.R.

The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Description from After Ellen's Best Lesbian/Bi Movie Poll:
Nic and Jules are a lesbian couple living a happy life in California with their kids, but things get complicated when their two kids track down the man who donated sperm to Nic and Jules for both of their pregnancies. The film was nominated for four Golden Globes and four Oscars, including Best Picture.

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
The Kids Are All Right (2010): This dramedy directed by lesbian filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko about a married same-sex couple and their children was an instant hit among critics upon its 2010 release. The ensemble cast of Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo, who portrayed the hitherto unknown sperm donor who fathered the couple's children (Mia Wasikowaka and Josh Hutcherson), was praised for its heartfelt and realistic portrayal of a family faced with the crisis that occurs when a stranger comes to town and threatens the foundation of the family unit. The strong acting and story made the film a major contender during awards season, in which it garnered a Best Actress win for Bening at the Golden Globes and four nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture. -D.R


Beginners (2010)

Description from The Advocate magazine's The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers:
Beginners (2010): This thoughtful story of a father who, after his wife dies, comes out to their son (Ewan McGregor) was inspired by the real-life experiences of filmmaker Mike Mills. It follows Christopher Plummer, who won an Oscar for the role, as a senior relieved to finally embrace his identity, and who is trying to keep up with a new (and much younger) boyfriend while learning what it means to be gay at age 75, just five years before he would die of cancer. All of a sudden dad is writing political letters and even tries out a gay club. Why not? -Lucas Grindley

Out of the Closet - LGBTQ Portrayals in Movies After the Stonewall Riots (1969)

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Connie Hossier, Instructor
Scott Badman, Instructor