The only downside of watching films is the time spent on picking the perfect one. Am I sure this one will do? Will I fall asleep halfway through? After watching a dozen trailers and picking a promising enough masterpiece, comes the tug-off-war with yourself: am I sure I couldn’t find a better one? What if another held my attention way better? Do I have time to watch two? Nope. Now what?

I can’t promise to fully save you from this hassle, but I can try and narrow down the myriad of options to a couple of films within the lesbian category. I won’t claim these films live up to all of your expectations, because in most cases judging a film is a matter of taste, but you can use this small sample as a crutch when choosing.

With the development and spread of the internet people became more openminded, their interests more diverse, their world-view more accepting, which led to a rise in demand for lesbian films. Most of them are arthouse films, so if you’re a fan of those you’re doubly lucky.

 

Thelma

 

One piece from the above-mentioned category is Thelma, a Norwegian film directed by Joacim Trier. It has received mixed reviews but one thing could be set in stone: if a film can elicit emotions, be it good or bad, delicate or outrageous but in no way neutral, then it is certainly worthy of your attention. When even after the credits have rolled you’re still sitting there, pondering the meaning of what you have just seen, then no matter how hard you’re trying to claim the opposite, that film was valuable.

This is also such a film. It’s not mediocre, and neither are you, just like our heroine, Thelma. Living in a religious bubble, she discovers the depths of her sexuality along with her supernatural abilities after becoming the student of the University of Oslo. As she steps out of the safe atmosphere of her family, little by little she must face the feelings that would turn her world upside down, the expectations borne of religion, guilt and accepting her lesbianism. The film presents repressed sexuality, the fear of negative reactions of the family and society, the terror of self-discovery in a very exciting way, in stark contrasts, ever-changing, strobing pictures. Sometimes it slaps you in the face with the truth, sometimes it only implies Thelma’s feelings, packaged and hidden. If the borderline terrifying depiction internal struggle of the mind wasn’t enough, the biblical allusions that keep popping up will surely make you think.

P.S.: If you’re susceptible to epilepsy I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re a fan of arthouse films, this one will be an exciting bit of entertainment for you.

 

Becks

Beck’s life didn’t quite turn out the way she imagined it would. After breaking up with her girlfriend our musician moves back in with her mother, and so the ‘be an out lesbian, perform at your friend’s bar and try not to screw your life up even more’ kind of small-town existence begins. It’s not much of a spoiler if I tell you that Becks can’t pull it off. The film earns its place in the romance category as we are introduced to Elyse (Mena Suvari), the bored small-town housewife. It’s an exciting film, because our heroine gets herself into something she really shouldn’t… Small-town life doesn’t only consist of picturesque landscapes, but also the fact that gossip sweeps over the town faster than category five tropical storm Irma. Becks must make a decision, because things stop being fun if she isn’t happy and can’t live her life the way she wants to.

 

Almost adults

The name of Elsie Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis puts a wide smile on every lesbian’s face. Okay, maybe not all of them, but most of them.

No. This isn’t about the Carmilla film, although that would certainly deserve a place on this list. The light-hearted Canadian dramedy I’m talking about is actually ‘Almost Adults’.

In this case the above-mentioned actors play completely different characters and *sad sigh* they aren’t even romantically involved. On the other hand, the friendship developing between them is even stronger. Or is it? What if Mackenzie (Elsie Bauman) neglects one of, if not the most important person in her life, her best friend, while she’s busy exploring her sexuality. The unshakable friendship connecting Cassie (Natasha Negovanlis) and Mackenzie seems to loosen up. It doesn’t help that Cassie’s relationship isn’t going the way she pictured it. Elsie Bauman portrays the character of a lesbian girl experiencing her first love perfectly. With its light, playful humour the film will have you glued to the screen from the get-go. Keep in mind that this is the work of a first-timer writer-director duo, so don’t expect a professionally executed film that’s completely free of tropes. Other than that if you have 90 minutes to spare, it works just fine as some light entertainment.

 

Las Estrellas

For last I have not a film, but a telenovela. A Spanish telenovela, no less. With a lesbian arc. There’s no denying we have arrived into the developing, open-minded reality of 21th century Europe.

I may have gone a bit overboard, let’s move on to the telenovela.

The serial Las Estellas first aired in May 2017, the last episode was filmed in January. The premise is simple: after the death of their father, five siblings (Virginia, Carla, Flor, Miranda, Lucía) are saddled with the running of a hotel, through which they get to know each other on a deeper level and learn to deal with each other’s quirks.

We aren’t necessarily interested in the basic premise as much as we are in the hotel’s new cook, Jasmin. Out of the five siblings the focus is now on Flor, who has Tourette’s: her unexpected outbursts, caused by her condition, are what make the show even more realistic and light-hearted. The over-complicated storytelling that’s so characteristic of telenovelas is also present: Flor is about to marry Dani, but Jasmin confesses her love for her. Which makes her realise she has feelings she can’t explain for the girl.

It’s a cute show but bear in mind that it has all the obnoxious characteristics of telenovelas: from the unneeded amount of tantrums to the nonstop flow of tears. In return we get a light-hearted love story with countless subplots and twists.

 

Translated by Zsófia Ziaja

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