Whilst I am not a ‘connoisseur’ of WLW media, I have watched one or two shows or films over lockdown last year with WLW representation, and I wanted to share what I thought.
I thought I’d start with Ammonite (2019) which I got bored of half way, the slowness of the pace, the bleakness of the period drama , the film itself having a wonderful minimalistic aesthetic, however the classic WLW tropes crept up on me whilst watching; younger married woman (played by Saoirse Ronan) meets reclusive older woman (played by Kate Winslet), they create sexual tension over fossils, and gradually fall for each other- the cherry on top being the nudity heavy love making scene that seems to appear in most WLW films these days, and whist it may seem a step towards progression, to feature sex between women so blasé in media, I couldn’t help but think about what the Male gaze had to do with any of this. 1/5 stars
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Then I moved onto ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ which some acclaim to be an excellent film. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it as much, featuring Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant as the leading ladies, it was the same period setting, and slow burn romance of ‘Ammonite’, two white women leads (which is seen so often in WLW films, it’s time for more WOC WLW representation!!). The film visually, is pretty and I enjoyed the aesthetic, whilst bleak, I found not as dreary as ‘Ammonite’. I have heard good things about the ending though, but I am yet to get the motivation to finish it. Overall, I’d give this film a 2/5.
I Am Not Okay with This (2020)
One of my favourite Netflix shows ‘I Am Not Okay with This’ features a lesbian (although not ‘confirmed’ it is implied she has no interest in men) main character Sydney Novak played by Sophia Lillis, who develops superpowers, and with the help of her (lovable) best friend Stanley played by Wyatt Oleff, figures out how to manipulate said powers. Along the way Sydney falls for her best friend Dina played by Sofia Bryant. Personally, I found this a great piece of WLW media, as a lesbian I really saw myself in Sydney, and found it refreshing that the show’s main focus was on Sydney’s powers and not her sexuality. Unfortunately, this series has been cancelled by Netflix which was upsetting to hear as I, and many others were so excited to see new developments for Sydney and her friends in series 2. So, it gets 3.5 stars from me, it would be a 4 (or even more) if Netflix hadn’t cancelled it but the first series is very enjoyable, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to watch something but doesn’t want to watch seasons and seasons.
The Half of It (2020)
I almost forgot a film I watched on Netflix back in May 2020, Alice Wu’s ‘the half of it’ which features main character Ellie Chu, played by Leah Lewis as her and her widowed father live and work in the small town of Squahamish, Washington. Ellie helps jock Paul Munsky woo Aster Flores and ends up falling for Aster in the process. The WLW representation is subtle in this film but in my opinion, a perfect amount. The film feels soft in its aesthetic and the end is satisfying. Also, the lead is Chinese American, which is refreshing to see, especially in WLW media. Altogether 4/5 stars for me.
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ is a 1999 WLW romantic comedy film set at a ‘gay conversion camp’, featuring Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall as main characters. From reviews I’d seen some people loved this movie, others not so much. Personally, I enjoyed film, the aesthetic has a touch of surrealism with the overly gendered blue and pink décor. The film itself focuses on the negatives of ‘conversion camps’, making a mockery with over-the-top décor and devout homophobia of its staff. I enjoyed this film and found it comedic as well as serious when it was meant to be. Overall, 3.5/5.
In 2021 I hope to consume more WLW media, including tv shows, films and also books, and to also write more WLW stories myself. I look forward to the future and the emergence of new WLW media, and hope one day WLW representation will be as widespread as heterosexual relationships and not just reserved for a few films or tv shows.