This year is truly shaping up to be a phenomenal one for LGBT representation in cinema. “Tangerine,” “Nasty Baby,” “Tom at the Farm,” “Do I Sound Gay,” and “Grandma” (which comes out this Friday) will all have grace theaters by the end of this month, and all of them are sincerely fantastic new editions to the LGBT cinema canon. But we’re not done with 2015 yet….
It’s not very often there’s more than a couple LGBT films in a given year with major talent and distributors behind them, let alone 5 in just one season. But 2015 has the collective likes of Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Todd Haynes, Susan Sarandon, Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hooper, Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell and, yes, Roland Emmerich lending their efforts to a quintet of mostly promising tales of LGBT folks — and for once, the “G” in that acronym does not dominate. In fact, two of the 5 center on lesbian characters and another two on trans characters. The only film with a gay male at its center is also the one that is already pissing a lot of people off for having just that. That said, all five films have white protagonists.
It’s definitely going to make for an interesting few months of moviegoing, hopefully more for better than worse.
Here’s what to look out for:
Who made it? Up and coming British director Gaby Dellal, with a script she co-wrote with Nikole Beckwith (“Stockholm, Pennsylvania”).
When’s it being released? The Weinstein Company will send it out September 18th after a world premiere in Toronto.
Who’s in it? Elle Fanning in what could be a career highlight performance as a struggling transgender boy, alongside Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon as his mother and grandmother, respectively.
What’s it about? Here’s the official synopsis: “‘About Ray’ tells the stirring and touching story of three generations of a family living under one roof in New York as they must deal with the life-changing transformation by one that ultimately affects them all. Ray (Elle Fanning) is a teenager who has come to the realization that she isn’t meant to be a girl and has decided to transition from female to male. His single mother, Maggie (Naomi Watts), must track down Ray’s biological father (Tate Donovan) to get his legal consent to allow Ray’s transition. Dolly (Susan Sarandon), Ray’s lesbian grandmother is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. They must each confront their own identities and learn to embrace change and their strength as a family in order to ultimately find acceptance and understanding.”
The trailer looks very promising:
Who made it? The one and only Todd Haynes, working from a script by Phyllis Nagy that adapts the late, great Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt.”
When’s it being released? It already premiered in Cannes, but US audiences can check it out in theaters November 20th (via The Weinstein Company).
Who’s in it? Oh, just Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Not to mention Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson.
What’s it about? The one and only Blanchett stars in the titular role as a 1950s-era married woman who begins a romantic relationship with a young store clerk played by Mara.
Haynes typically renders hallmarks of American culture in surprising ways that unearth the hidden codes governing human behavior. “Carol” is no exception. In the pair of measured looks that conclude the movie, he offers a sharp reminder that while this story is complicated by its setting and particular circumstances, the underlying ingredients reveal a profound desire for companionship familiar to all.
Check out the film’s recently released trailer:
Continue to the next page, svp…
The Danish Girl
Who made it? Tom Hooper is following up “Les Miserables” with the film
When’s it being released? Via Focus Features on November 27th (after world premiering in Venice)
Who’s in it? Eddie Redmayne is aiming for back-to-back Oscars in a juicy lead role here, with Alicia Vikander (having quite the year), Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ben Whishaw rounding out the cast.
What’s it about? Based on the novel by David Ebershoff, “The Danish Girl” is a fictionalized account of the life of Lili Elbe (Redmayne), one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Set in early 1920s Copenhagen, the genesis of Elbe’s transition comes when illustrator and artist Gerda Wegener (Vikander) asked Elbe — her husband, then male-identified and known as Einar Wegener — to stand in for a female model. The popularity of the portraits led to Gerda painting her husband in further pictures as a woman. Einer develops an attraction for a female physical appearance and begins living as woman, and Gerda supports her decision — although their marriage becomes strained when Gerda comes to the realization that Lili is no longer the person she married.
There’s no trailer yet but expect one pretty much any day now.
Who made it? Peter Sollett (“Raising Victor Vargas”), from a script by “Philadelphia” writer Ron Nyswaner.
When’s it being released? Lionsgate is releasing the film on October 2nd.
Who’s in it? Another recent Oscar winner, Julianne Moore stars along with Ellen Page, Steve Carell, Luke Grimes and Michael Shannon.
What’s it about? The film is based on the true story of Laurel Hester (Moore), a police officer in Ocean County, New Jersey. Following her diagnosis with terminal lung cancer in 2005, Hester repeatedly appealed to the county’s board of chosen freeholders in an attempt to ensure her pension benefits could be passed on to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page). A short documentary about the same story won an Oscar back in 2007.
Here’s the film’s trailer:
Who made it? Roland Emmerich — yes, the man that made “The Day After Tomorrow” and “White House Down” — is taking on the story of the Stonewall Riots.
When’s it being released? September 25th via Roadside Attractions after a Toronto premiere.
Who’s in it? A cast largely made up of up-and-comers: Jeremy Irvine, Jonny Beauchamp, Ron Perlman, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Joey King, Caleb Landry Jones, Matt Craven, Atticus Mitchell and Mark Camacho.
What’s it about?Official synopsis: “Kicked out of his own home, young Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) flees to New York, leaving behind his beloved sister (Joey King). Homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the watering hole of the local drag queens, gays, lesbians, and everything in between: The Stonewall Inn. However, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. At the bar, Danny meets the suave Trevor (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) before catching the eye of Ed Murphy (Ron Perlman), Stonewall’s repulsive manager who colludes with corrupt police, exploits homeless youth for financial gain, and is even suspected to have had a hand in some of their “disappearances.” It spirals out of control when the police unexpectedly raid Stonewall. In a storm of anger and with the toss of a single brick, a riot ensues and a crusade for equality is born.”
The film has already caused a stir of controversy for its alleged white-washing of queer history, which should only accelerate as the film nears release.
Here’s the film’s trailer, followed by a parody of said trailer that touches on the noted controversy: