Top Ten Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck: Best Lesbian Movies Part #2

In August we bestowed upon you Ten Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck. Predictably we garnered a healthy dose of appreciation and enjoyment as well as a sharp injection of aggressively/excessively punctuated dictums of disbelief that your favorite lesbian film did not make the list, or, alternatively, that we had included a film you deemed unworthy. Well Autostraddlers, when you use 5+ exclamation points in a sentence, we can’t help but pay attention!

No but really, we all like different things, and this list reflects our continued efforts to share some of our — and your — favorite things with you. With a few exceptions, this list reflects most of the films mentioned by two or more commenters that we felt qualified to talk about. This isn’t the Lesbian Oscars or The Bible, which we all must live under at least here in America where 53% of the population thinks Jesus Christ is President, when in fact that is not true, he left the White House when Obama was elected.

What are those exceptions? Well; Chasing Amy and Kissing Jessica Stein. I know, I know, it was a big moment for you & your gayness, and we love both of those films, they’re awesome fun movies. But we want our list to focus on movies that aren’t about women who literally do realize bisexual is just a phase (Kissing Jessica Stein) or that are written, directed and centered around straight white men who want lesbians to give penis a chance (Chasing Amy). Sorry! Also Riese has a special comment at the end about why we refuse to include Lost & Delirious.

Your time has come. We have returned to separate the wheat from the shaft, to extract your suffering lesbionic cinematic soul from the depths of terrible.

Just FYI, our first round picks included Fucking Amal, Boys Don’t Cry, But I’m a Cheerleader, Gia, D.E.B.S., All Over Me, Saving Face, Bound, High Art and If These Walls Could Talk 2.


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Top Ten More Queer Girl Movies That Don’t Suck

[Part One Top Ten Queer Girl Movies Is Here]+

1. I Can’t Think Straight (2007)

A movie needs to major things to work: well written characters, and actors who bring those characters to life, and I Can’t Think Straight has both AND a vivid and multifaceted cultural backdrop.

I Can’t Think Straight follows the turbulent relationship between independent thrice-engaged Jordanian Tala (Lisa Ray) and shy Leyla (Sheetal Sheth). Whereas Tala keeps getting engaged and calling off her weddings a the last minute, Leyla vacilates between wanting to pleas her family and harboring secret desires to become a writer and bang chicks.

The two first meet through Leyla’s current boyfriend, a friend of Tala’s. Sparks fly. Leyla’s Muslim and Tala isn’t into religion (but lives in the Middle East where it’s omnipresent) so they end up doing that thing in movies where they argue at each other and throw sultry glances across the room signaling their unknown attraction.

I cant think straight

What snowballs into a friendship quickly turns sexy when the two women (on a trip together) end up sleeping together. But (as these things always are) it’s complicated; Tala is engaged and getting married in two weeks.

Do these crazy kids get together? I’ll just say there’s no depressing ending. Just great acting, quick edits, tons of funny moments and compelling political conversation that never verges on tedious.

This is truly a great lesbian film. It did not suck. It did not suck at all. (-Intern X)

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2. My Summer of Love (2004, British)

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My Summer of Love’s poor little rich girl Tamsin [Emily Blunt] spends her boarding school suspension becoming really good friends with bored, working class Mona [Natalie Press]. Their version of friendship includes kissing in rivers, lots of drinking and smoking and acting fancy, a nice little love and death pact, and motor scooters.

The hills are apparently a big deal over in England because there is lots of hill-wandering involved in this love. At one point, these very hills are graced by Tamin/Emily Blunt totally lying there with her breasts out like it’s no big deal. It’s a big deal.

Like all bad girl stories, this one ends with a bucket full of lies, but it’s all the spinning out of control that makes this movie feel a little bit magic and a little bit real. (-Intern Hot Laura)

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3. Unveiled/Fremde Haut – (2005, German)

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Unveiled (Fremde Haut/German) is a beautiful film. An Iranian woman, Fariba, is caught having an affair with a married woman. Double no-no for Iran. So she flees to Germany to avoid persecution. Unfortunately she uses forged papers and lies about why she is seeking asylum, so the German authorities threaten to send her back. The only way she can stay is by taking on the identity of a male refugee, living in some sort of hostel, and taking an illegal job in a sauerkraut factory to make money for a fake passport with her actual identity.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Until Fariba, passing as Siamak, meets a girl. Obvs. Girls always complicate things, yeah? Unveiled is a very moving film with one of the most intense and emotional love scenes I’ve ever seen, and a hopeful, bittersweet ending. The subtitles are definitely worth it. (-Intern Elizabeth)

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4. Itty Bitty Titty Committee, (2007)

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Don’t write it off because of its silly title – Itty Bitty Titty Committee is a badass lesbian film. Melonie Diaz is especially endearing as Anna, a directionless young lez who finds herself by joining a radical feminist group, called c(l)it. (At least no one can complain “I’ve seen that plot before!“) If you’re a die-hard riot grrrl fan, you’ll definitely appreciate the film’s soundtrack, one its strongest assets.

While the story gets just a tad unbelievable when the group gets into explosives (with some pretty shoddy special FX), it’s hard not to have fun as the adorable gays celebrate to the tune of Team Dresch’s “Hand Grenade”. Oh, they also have sex – with nudity! – to “The Inch” by Peaches. And for your shallow side, the group features a wide array of homosexiness. The film deserves a medal alone for featuring hot butches and bois, who are so woefully underrepresented in film. IBTC may come off over-the-top and esoteric to some, but with its upbeat, empowering attitude, it’s a breath of fresh air in lesbian cinema. (-Intern Lola)

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5. Aimee & Jaguar (1999, German)

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What could possibly be more tragic than a film about forbidden lesbian love? Oh, that’s right, a film about forbidden lesbian love between a Jewish woman and the wife of a Nazi officer…set in Berlin during World War II. Part love story, part historical drama, and all beautifully filmed, heartbreakingly conveyed storytelling, Aimee and Jaguar is based on a book of the same name that follows the actual lives of devoted mother Lilly Wust and Jewish resistance fighter Felice Schragenheim. The two take on the pseudonyms Aimee and Jaguar to conceal their identities in the series of letters exchanged during their romance.

Putting girl love into the context of one of the most troubling times of our history, Aimee and Jaguar accomplishes what not enough lesbian flicks manage to do: tell a story with layers and layers and layers of depth filmed through a gorgeous, gritty lens. It’s not just about love, it’s about what we give up for love and the extremes that bring us there. It’s what lives in our histories conveyed through a dark encounter. Director Max Farberbock remembers what it is that keeps our community together: stories and experiences. Aimee and Jaguar is an exceptional narrative that reminds us that we’ve all been through something and that being right or being a hero is complicated. (-Katrina Danger Casino)
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NEXT: Loving Annabelle, Tipping the Velvet, Imagine Me & You, Desert Hearts, Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, and Lost & Delirious!

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99 Comments

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    I saw Lost & Delirious and I cried when that Ani Difranco song came on and Paulie was sobbing in the middle of the night. Then she started running through a forest a lot and did this weird dance thing at the end and I stopped being interested.

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    I’ve only seen ‘Loving Annabelle’, which I want to see again because once wasn’t enough to settle on how I really felt about it.

    I’d really like to know where in Sydney I can find these movies, because the local DVD store doesn’t stock them.

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    the absolute winner of all time is DESERT HEARTS. If you’ve never seen it, you just don’t know what you’re missing out on. LOST AND DELIRIOUS is the most over-rated ‘classic’ ever, and I always shake my head when it comes up on *every* lesbian movie list.

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        ah, but trust me, on the big screen it’s a winner. it has a really solid story, and it’s beautifully and carefully made. it’s not just about the main characters: the smaller roles are great too – the best friend, the ranch owner, etc. there are very few lesbian films that are as good. and i watch a lot of them, every year.

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          I liked Desert Hearts and I don’t like anything. Really! I mean some of the movies on this list I very much disliked.

          DH wasn’t fantastic, but it was definitely on level with your average straight drama/romance movie.

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    I hated Lost and delirious too.The girl didn’t get the girl.Grrr…I have seen all of these movies.I’ll add another one Goldfish Memory.Irish accents were voted the sexiest in the world this year and this movie has sexy Irish actresses and was a pretty good movie to boot.

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    My Summer of Love? Really? I watched that and was horribly disappointed. I just get sick of watching some confused girl get her heart ripped out. And what was Blunt’s character’s motivation for such bad behavior. Then there’s the bit about the bar tending brother who suddenly decides to be a radical Christian…doesn’t it all seem a bit tired and desperate?

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    I haven’t seen Desert Hearts but I’ve read the book (christmas present from mom after I came out, thanks a bunch) that it was based on and it… was only kind of okay at best.
    Lost and Delirious was mostly over-dramatic and disturbing? wtf was with that bird? definitely had a rough time sitting through that one.

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      That’s really interesting, because while watching Desert Hearts I was like “I think the book is probably better.” Also I think a good top ten list would be “weird presents my parents gave me after they knew I was gay.” I got a rainbow emory board. Not kidding.

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    oh, and also? thanks for NOT including WHEN NIGHT IS FALLING. A truly terrible film that also ends up in the ‘top 10′ list way too often. Unlike the over-looked and under-appreciated I’VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING (same director, much earlier). Now that one you can get on Netflix. Rent it!

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      Ohgawd, When Night Is Falling. I watched that last week and just died laughing through the whole thing TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE.
      I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, on the other hand, YES. Creatively weird and delightful. Might be one of my favorite lezzie flicks.

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    I thought My summer of love was creepy as hell and would probably put it on my list of worst lesbian movies, right up there with April’s Shower.

    I’m kind of curious why When Night is Falling isn’t on this list. It’s a very sweet, well written and well acted story.

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      ah i LOVE imagine me and you too. Glad its on this list because had a sneaking suspicion that it might not be a good film, despite how much i loved it. Lena Headey is the reason I started watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which is also ace, although sadly not gay in the least.

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        I always have that sneaking suspicion, too. But I just love it so much. I watch it when I get stressed out because it makes me happy. I think I like it because it’s exactly like every other romantic comedy out there but it’s GAY. Which is in many ways comforting.

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    I was just talking to someone about Chasing Amy tonight! I think I heard Kevin Smith say once that he made it because his brother is gay, and he was sad that he had no visibility. I’m not sure how he thought he would solve that problem by writing about a hot blonde femme lesbian who fucks men, but I guess it was nice that he tried?

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      Have you seen Go Fish? It’s a black and white indie film and kind of interesting as a look into 90s lesbian culture. Anyway, there is a scene where a “lesbian” character feels the need to defend her identity because she slept with a guy and enjoyed it. I guess, like that scene, I feel like Chasing Amy is about labels and how the lesbian community can be as oppressive as the straight community in some ways.

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    Excellent! Thank you for giving my girlfriend’s Netflix a workout. I’ve only seen Loving Annabelle (which I hated), Imagine Me & You (which is lovely), and Tipping the Velvet.

    For anyone who’s interested in Tipping the Velvet, the book is much better than the miniseries…and the miniseries is already a ton of fun. I also loved Fingersmith. Sarah Waters is a good bet for lesbian historical fiction with some naughty bits.

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      Yeah I’ve read and seen Tipping the Velvet (obvs) and Fingersmith and it was all good fun. I saw Affinity and it wasn’t as good. I haven’t read the book. What’s the other book… oh there’s Night Watch and The Little Stranger. Haven’t read those either, have you? Are they worth picking up?

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    If you haven’t seen Aimme and Jaguar, rent that shit immediately. Favorite Lesbian themed movie ever. And it’s based on a true story. Yes, it is sad but it is also incredibly executed.

    Tipping the Velvet is also fantastic. As is Fingersmith which should also be on the list.

    One tiny correction though. Sally Hawkins won a Golden Globe not an Oscar for Happy Go Lucky. I should know because I was livid when she wasn’t even nominated.

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      Oooh, I’m kinda glad Fingersmith didn’t make the cut. (For one, I’m not sure either mini-series should be on a ‘movies’ list, but I’m being a stickler…) I just thought the book was SOOO MUCH better, whereas with Tipping the Velvet, the book was only SO much better. I thought Mr. Rivers was terribly miscast — the character was meant to be significantly older. GRUMBLE.

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    So you liked Summer of Love but not Lost & Delerious? Idk.

    Anywho, Tipping the Velvet? Best. Lesbian. Movie. Ever.
    And anyone who’s seen/loved it on logo, should netflix that shiz because there are crazy sex scene montages that they don’t show on network tv.

    Tipping the Velvet the novel? Seriously. Awesome. Book. Way more awesome, hardcore and risqué than the movie. Sheesh. So good.

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      for me, “my summer of love” gets way more points than “lost and delirious” because at the end, the queer girl gets in the last word. she’s pissed off, obviously, but i got the feeling she was gonna be just fine. “lost and delirious,” on the other hand, just felt like a realllly long to tell me what i should have guessed when i saw the title: bitch crazy.

      but “tipping the velvet?” um yeah, fantastic book.

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    i still think When night is falling should be on this list, glad to see at least one person agrees with me. haven’t seen Tipping the velvet yet, but i have seen Fingersmith and yes, the book is SOOOO much better. speaking of Sarah Waters, i also really liked Nightwatch. Lost and delirious was a bit too dramatic, but i didn’t think it was a bad film.

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    tipping the velvet is amazingly hot, and stands out, even on this list, for its quality. i hated L&D and loving annabelle pretty equally, but maybe something is wrong with me. also i absolutely love bound and high art. maybe because they, again, are superfuckinghot. also, my summer of love doesn’t do a whole lot for me as a queer movie, but i still think its pretty impressive compared to say, go fish. go fish also scared the fuck out of me because i was young, in the closet and skittish, so that does reveal a bias.

    also, can i note that i watched the vast majority of these movies after renting them surreptitiously at my grandparents’ house after waiting for my family to go to sleep? when i was like, 16 and i thought i was straight? what?

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      oh yeah i love tipping the velvet. i’ve only seen pieces, i loved the book so much i was scared to see it that it might be ruined.

      high art and bound were on our first list, i liked them too because they had dark haired andro lesbian destructive naked seductresses in them which i think is my type

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    Speaking of Shamim Sarif (i just cant think straight) The world unseen-(also based on a book) is very good as well although I cried all over myself during it. Don’t worry Riese I still go to movies alone.

    I saw the secrets (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0782867/) which is a movie set in Israel the lesbian plot is there but it is more about the women and the struggle that they encounter in a ultra orthodox Jewish society the end is kinda brutal. For those of you in NY Quad Cinema regularly shows queer themed movies that do not get wide release.

    I LOVE MOVIES.

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    Imagine Me and You is probably one of my favourites. It’s right up there with Gia and But I’m a Cheerleader. That scene after they make out in Luce’s flower shop when Luce tells her not to forget her and Rachel says “I won’t remember anything else..” Oh my god, I die every time I watch it.

    Also, I obviously need to watch Unveiled (as well as aimme and jaguar) because foreign film is probably my favourite type of film. I’ll get right on that.

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    Nobody else likes L&D? I did, can’t think of any clever reasons why, just did. Desert hearts blew me away the first time I saw it but I’ve put off watching it now I’m older & more experienced (?!) in case it has lost its impact. So many of these films are special because of the time in my queer life/development that I’ve watched them in. Nina’s Heavenly Delights is supersweet and awesome but doesn’t seem to have made a very big impression on anyone else. I think that my top ten list of movies that didn’t suck would be everyone elses top ten that did. Agree that most of the above are generally non-sucky although incredibly true adventures is boring and tipping the velvet creeps me out.

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      I love L&D. I also don’t have a good reason why. It’s just the feeling it gives me, I guess. An emotional reaction, nothing intellectual. I just fell in love with all the characters, even crazy-ass Paulie.
      Also, I know this is like a year later, but still.

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    I have also always thought lost and delirious sucked. For me, its only redeeming qualities were that it was filmed at Bishop’s and Jessica Pare is from Montreal. Falconry has no place in lesbian cinema. That’s all I have to say.

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    The only one of those films from above that I would consider a terrific film is My Summer Of Love. The others, for the most part, have strong scenes here and there. Some off the path selections would be Memento Mori, Blue Gate Crossing, Water Lilies, Edge of Heaven, Set Me Free and Bizarre Love Triangle. As for Lost and Delirious, I would rank that film up there with Almodovar’s Talk To Her, Malick’s The New World, Lynch’s Inland Empire, Linklater’s Before Sunset, Van Sant’s Gerry, and Martel’s The Headless Woman as among the top films of the decade. What Pool does is take the cliche and flip it on itself without changing the fate which in and of itself is a difficult proposition. To top it off, Pool decides on no distancing tools and instead embraces the emotionalism of the individual (the embrace of such hothouse emotions carries over to the purposely heavy use of symbolism – the cliches are appropriated for the heroine to revel in – instead of being condemned to be applauded). The film therefore becomes that most bewildering of species, a coming of age story that radically shifts into a document of the destruction of idealism. In many ways it may be the single most angry statement against homophobia ever put on screen. If seen solely for plot, and without a consideration of it’s deconstruction of the evil lesbian plotline or it’s emphatic use of metaphor being in service of that deconstruction, it could be seen as just another lesbian tragedy. However most persons that love the film see it as exhilarating, a repudiation of the exploitative and a statement about how conformity is the true villain.

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    Where were you when I needed you, Riese?! I read nothing but raving reviews of Lost and Delirious, bought it, and promptly labeled it the wost movie ever. IT’S JUST SO BAD!

    Though, it was at least laughably amazingly bad and did inspire my friends to create a facebook group and learn to say Say it to the RAPTOR! in four languages, so I guess it had its value. And the book it’s based on is waaay crazier even.

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    The first time I saw Desert Hearts, it was passed to me on a bootleg VHS tape. We didn’t have these movies or the ability to get them in the bad old 80′s. That’s when I came out. Hell, I just enjoy the fact that these movies are getting made.
    It strikes me as funny to even say that. I’m just shy of 40.

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    So what do you all know about The World Unseen? It’s the same director, same actresses, slightly similar plot as in I Can’t Think Straight, which caused a major deja vu moment for me the first time I saw a promo for the latter. Did the director just think, “hey, I have a bigger budget this time around; let’s try this again, only this time let’s make a film that isn’t a total snooze?”

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    Whatever happened to “Fingersmith?” As a response to the last list, “Saving Face” is my favorite ever. I love it so much that I’ll even watch the interviews over and over.

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    actually…lost and delirious is my favorite movie of all time. it’s an amazingly pure true story of teenage true love and how when something falls..so do you…into a crazy manic scared depression. madness. it’s amazing. heart-fealt, REALISTIC, beautiful, romantic, tragic, intellectual, and the beauty of their rapter…wow…it’s amazing. this is a bad review. lost and delirious takes my breath away!

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    Wolfe doesnt ship here to australia :(
    ive seen most of the movies though, you can get them off ebay. :)
    Im from a kinda small town and they have Loving Annabelle and Imagine Me And You at our video store, so im sure you can find it somewhere.

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    there was a movie i loved when i was first realising that i liked girls. it was set in new york, featured a lot of drugs and not going to school and shootings, and two girly lovers who were all troubled-teen-like and spent a lot of time in a crumbling-down apartment belonging to the mother of one of them.
    one of them was super emotionally abusive to the other one.
    ulgh, my descriptive skills are incredible, right?
    any idea what movie this is?? it was actually pretty good… but that could be my 18-year-old self talking.

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    hey guys, no need to be so harsh toward Lost & Delirious!
    It was very dark and heavy at times and unnecessarily depressing,
    but at the same time it was incredibly well acted, the girls were beautiful, and the storyline was actually good.. it’s young obsessive love, what did you expect to happen to them? Not to mention Paulie was unstable to begin with
    I loved the movie

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    Seen everything but tipping the velvet and lost & delirious. Going to see the former now. Ignoring the latter.. i hate sad movies, that’s why i refuse to watch the last season of the L world. In my fictional world, jenny went off on a book tour, Shane and Carmen got married and Dana is at a game somewhere. There is no waterfall.

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    Watched all the movies on the list except for Desert Hearts and Aimee. Meh I probably not going to watch them. As for My Summer of Love I remember watching that during the summer thinking what the hell. Did they just think of some random controversial stuff and decide to call it a movie.
    As for Loving Annabelle i’m pretty sure the only reason it’s on the list is for the sex scene- that is all.

    Really L&D was great- I figure the only reason you lot saw it’s rubbish is because it reminds you of an old unrequited love… comeon we all have a little Paulie in us.
    Piper made that movie *goes into a swoon*

    Yeah so theres my rant 2 years later haha. btw WATCH LIPSERVICE WHENEVER YOU NON UKR’S CAN!

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    Why doesn’t Gray Matters ever get attention? It’s probably my favorite ‘lesbian’ comedy and it has one of the most realistic storylines of all of these without all the angst. Plus, the main character was VERY cute.

    As for My Summer of Love, umm… no. I was not into it at all. The main character grossed me out so much that I could barely even watch it all the way through, and the movie took so many twists and turns that it felt like a Spanish soap opera. I’m not sure why, but the redhead just came off as creepy and weird to me.

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    Oh, Tipping the Velvet. The book is amazing. Love. The movie… I also love. It almost falls into the category of “so bad it turns back around into good!”
    TtV turned me on to Rachael Stirling… yum. Her voice, seriously, she could just read to me all day!

    When I was a tiny, questioning, baby-queer I remember getting Two Girls in Love and High Art and watching them locked in my room with the sound turned down so my parents wouldn’t hear. Memories. :)

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