If BEHIND THE CANDELABRA can't even find a distributor...
BY NATHANIEL ROGERS
Have you properly reflected on the year that was as we switch numbers? I tend to make a whole month of it and haven't quite done the difficult work of trimming down my favorite 17 or so movies into that small "top ten list" box yet, so let's concentrate on movie characters for our annual tradition:
TEN BEST LGBT MOVIE CHARACTERS OF THE YEAR
*this list contains some spoilers*
Previous Years: 2012, 2011, 2010
Queer cinema is having a rough where-to-now period. After Brokeback Mountain, an inarguable hit with nearly $200 million in worldwide box office eight long years ago, we had reason to hope that we were entering a new golden age of LGBT awareness, a true place at the table. And we were, of course -- gay marriage in Utah? Wow! -- just not onscreen. When Oscar famously denied Brokeback its rightful win who knew that it would prove such an ill omen for queer movies? Almost immediately afterwards, gay mainstream filmmaking fell into swift decline. The contributing factors are complicated and well-theorized about but it's led to a dearth of gay films in movie theaters -- you know you're in trouble when no one wants to distribute Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic BEHIND THE CANDELABRA (reviewed) which came with easy marketing hooks and major stars.
While complex gay characters get good play on TV, mainstream movies are a weirder place for gays. Consider Catherine Zeta Jones's evil lesbian psychiatrist in Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, who would have provided a juicy clip for The Celluloid Closet (1995) had she appeared in an older movie, or disposable characters like the butler The Wolf of Wall Street whose purpose in the movie seems to be... what exactly? The (comic) gaybashing adds nothing to the film.
Special Mention: I'm dedicating this list to two movies I missed that friends have sworn by. The acclaimed Cuban feature UNA NOCHE, currently available for instant streaming on Netflix, has a gay subplot I've only heard good things about and my friend Glenn swears by Xavier Dolan's LAURENCE ANYWAYS, a three hour epic about a transgendered woman born "Laurence" (delicious Frenchman Melvil Poupaud) and her girlfriend "Fred" (Suzanne Clement). My apologies also to sadfaced YOSSI (Ohad Knoller) but the Yossi & Jagger (2002) magic just wasn't there in his titular sequel.
THE LIST IS AFTER THE JUMP...