Written by Mandy McGee
There really isn’t much in the way of Queer themes in mainstream media and sometimes what is there isn’t very positive, especially when it comes to polyamorous/open relationship themes. Fortunately mainstream media in recent years have been showing a bit more of Queer themes and characters. I wanted to show off some of the ones I have enjoyed. If you know of more that are positive please tell us in the comments.
Most of us have grown up with the cult classics and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is in that genre as well as “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch" was first written as a rock musical created by John Cameron Mitchell, and the music and lyrics were written by Stephen Trask and premiered in 1998. In 2001, Mitchell released his adaptation of the musical as a movie in which he stars as Hedwig as well as directed it. You can read the history behind it here. I first saw this as a stage show and fell in love with it, then found out that there was a movie version too. This is one of my favourite movies and if you have not seen it, I think you should.
Another movie by John Cameron Mitchell that does not receive enough attention is "Shortbus". He had major hurdles to jump over in the industry in order to get this movie distributed and even get at least an NC17 rating. I think this movie is beautiful and romantically-sexual. A group of New Yorkers end up coming together, helping each other find their sexual happiness. It explores romance and sexuality in a way that no one has in media.
Another beautifully captured movie is “But I’m A Cheerleader”. This movie is a fun satirical romantic comedy about a high school cheerleader who does not know she a lesbian, yet. Her straitlaced parents and friends are convinced she is a lesbian and needs an intervention. They send her to a therapy camp that is supposed to cure gay kids and make them straight. Despite therapy, she comes to embrace her lesbianism and falls for another girl in the camp. There is also a very beautiful and romantic sex scene in it as well.
One more movie I want to talk about is “Head in the Clouds”. This is the first movie I have seen that has a positive take on polyamory. It is a romantic drama set in the 1930’s about a photographer, a school teacher and a refugee from Spain who become best friends as well as lovers. With World War II approaching they get separated when trying to fight against fascism.
One more movie I want to talk about is Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others), a German silent film made in 1919 by Richard Oswald about a violinist that falls in love with his male student. His life gets turned upside down when his student blackmails him. This was the first film to show homosexuality in contemporary society. This was a supposed to be a plea for acceptance of homosexuality. You can watch the movie and read more about it here, it is only 50 min in length.