This post is part of the 2012 Queer Film Blogathon hosted by Caroline at Garbo Laughs and the folk over at Pussy Goes Grrr. In honour of it, I’ll be writing about my five favourite films that are classed as having LGBT themes.
5 – Black Swan
Aronofsky’s unsettling psychological thriller, a tale of drive, obsession and psychosis, with the classic ballet Swan Lake masterfully used in the background, was one of my favourite films of 2010. From the incredible performance from Portman to the expertly crafted suspense and the bizarre sex scene (that didn’t seem at all erotic to me), where Nina, perhaps in a dream, is sleeping with Lily, and in a moment that shows the decline of her sanity, and perhaps the rampant nature of her ego, pictures herself where Lily is. Used to wonderful effect as a character device and a shocking moment. If you haven’t seen this film already, do seek it out, so much about it, from Portman’s performance, to the stellar opening scene, this is something that simply should be seen.
4 – Midnight Cowboy
One of my favourite Best Picture winning films, Midnight Cowboy is nothing short of excellent, from the gritty script to it’s iconic moments, like the much parodied, oft-imitated line, “Hey! I’m walkin’ here!”. It tells the story of a young male prostitute, played very well by Jon Voight, although he occasionally emphasizes the wrong elements of his character too often, and his sickly friend Ratso, played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman, giving one of his best performances ever, as they try to survive in New York together. The chemistry the two of them share is wonderful, and truly elevates the film, and adds, what feels like a very subtle homosexual relationship, although it is never shown explicitly, these elements seem present throughout the film. From its opening scene to its devastating final moments, Midnight Cowboy is a true classic.
3 – All That Jazz
My favourite movie musical of all time, All That Jazz, the film everybody class Fosse’s 8 1/2 is a visually arresting, masterfully choreographed tale of drive, drugs, women and work, with Roy Scheider giving a stunning performance as Fosse’s self confessed author avatar – Joe Gideon. Perhaps not explicitly LGBT, a case can be made for it, considering things like Gideon’s rampant affairs (which can of course be read as overcompensation). All That Jazz also boasts one of my favourite finales in any film, as Gideon gets a final sendoff, singing an excellent last duet (but to say anything else would spoil it). From its choreography to its performances and excellently used soundtrack, All That Jazz is a wonderful tale of an artist caught in a free fall.
2 – Brokeback Mountain
The greatest romance film I’ve ever seen, and the only film that I almost cried at, Brokeback Mountain is one of my favourite films of the 21st century. Ledger is at the top of his game and Gyllenhaal delivers his best performance yet. The story is simple – it is a story about a love between two men. And it is a wonderfully crafted, understated film, for which Ang Lee rightly won an Oscar. I struggle to write about this film, I can’t really articulate my feelings towards it as I’d like to, but it is wonderful in every respect. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
1 – Mulholland Drive
Lynch’s labyrinthine masterpiece, and one of my favourite films ever made, is rather difficult to explain, with a complex non-linear structure, and the thematic depth and deeper levels one expects from the master auteur. Watts gives an Oscar worthy performance as Betty/Diane, who changes, throughout the course of the film from a perky Hollywood hopeful to a bitter, devastated woman, jilted by her lover Rita (played excellently by Laura Harring), who has all of the fame she so desires. The mind and subconscious of Watt’s characters are explored in abstract and literal manners, from her love scenes with Rita to the excellent scene in Club Silencio. This is not a film for everyone, but if you like it, you will love it.