I Watched Lesbian Classic “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love” and Confirmed That Life Is Suffering

Welcome back to Watching Lesbian Classics, AKA an ongoing experiment where one woman tests her threshold for pain. We left off on Jennifer’s Body, a film that perfectly captures the gay experience of two women destroying each other in their quest for love, and for a brief moment, my love for cinema returned. But I didn’t know what waited in the shadows for me. I never do.

As usual, I crowdsourced for our next movie, and Laneia, executive editor of Autostraddle and supposed friend, suggested The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love starring Laurel Holloman from The L Word because it was “cute” and that, “This movie might be the one reason I didn’t hate Tina to the level that I could/should have.” What I did to Laneia to deserve this kind of setup job, well, I guess I’ll never really know. May this review be my first step towards forgiveness.


We open with Laurel Holloman as “Randy” making out with an older married woman in a gas station bathroom. This, by the way, is the most interesting thing that will happen in this entire movie. Let that settle in.

Then Randy dazzles down the street in rollerblades. We come to learn that, to Randy, rollerblading is not a hobby or sport, but an invitation to push boundaries. She rollerblades on gravel, grass, old wood – really anywhere.

She describes herself as “rough around the edges,” and based on her rollerblading style, I believe her. She doesn’t think about the future and is a live in the moment kind of gal. Tite.

Randy lives with her Aunt Rebecca and her aunt’s girlfriend in a house where the hours do not follow a cyclical pattern, as the only time is supper time. They’re enjoying a nice family meal when suddenly the doorbell rings and Randy SCREAMS that she’ll get the door even though the two people who need to know this information are sitting less than an arm’s length away. If I was sitting at a table with someone who screamed as loud as Laurel Holloman does in this scene that they were going to get the door, I’d make sure they were okay before letting them get up from the table because perhaps their vocal chords had burst.

Randy opens the door to Lena, another alt-looking white lady who has a pair of boxing gloves slung over her shoulder, and whom the camera pans allllllll the way down if you know what I mean. (I don’t.) Anyway, for as much attention as Lena’s entrance has been given, we don’t hear about her again for the rest of the movie.

Randy’s in high school – which based on her full grown adult appearance makes sense – but isn’t great at it. Her friend, Frank, reminds her that it’s okay not to be good at something, and that you should think positively despite it. Uh, wow, millennial much?????

Randy is persecuted at school for being gay. When she passes three of her classmates, they start whispering about Randy’s home life saying, “They’re, like, all lesbians there.” Then one of the girls goes, “Just goes to show you.” Full stop. Naturally, another one’s like, “Just goes to show you what?” and then the first one follows up with, “I don’t know. Whatever.” This made it into a script!

Randy’s aunt owns the gas station where we first met Randy making out in the best, most sanitary place to make out with someone, and one day a woman (future note: it’s a teen) stops in to get her tires filled. We find out it’s Evie, a classmate of Randy’s! Randy helps fills her tires because Randy wears cargo pants and kicks tires whenever she sees them. Evie really appreciates Randy pumping up her tires. Randy’s like, “It’s whatever.”

Evie asks if Randy goes to Wallace High School, instead of what I would ask Randy, which is if she was an established realtor around town. Randy’s like, “You mean Wallace PRISON?” Wow, if there was a superlative for Chillest By Far in Randy’s and Evie’s high school year book for teens and not adults, it would have to go to Randy ferrrr sureeee.

At school, Evie is being interrogated by her maybe-boyfriend about why she’s pushing him away. She responds with a series of big-picture questions instead of addressing his question at all, which I think is a great move.

A prosecuting lawyer: I’m going to ask this plainly: Did you launder millions of dollars through the mattress chain store Mattress Firm for the Russian government?

Me on the stand: Can any of us say we really know another person?

Randy is not just bad at the academic part of school, she’s bad at school in general. She’s been late so many times that one of her teachers is like, “No, thank you,” when Randy tries to attend a particular class, and so Randy runs into the bathroom, throws her books on the FLOOR, and kicks in every stall.

Randy finds Evie in the bathroom. “All the good stuff goes down there.” – The writer of this movie. Evie is lamenting over her boyfriend and wondering why some things in life are so hard. Like, isn’t there a scenario in which it’s “love, not obligation,” Evie wonders? Randy agrees. Then Randy says, “Try going out with a married woman.” Evie’s like “Huh?” and doesn’t ask any more questions, even though truly what a thing to drop into a conversation without any clarification.

Might as well have a cigarette about it, right?

Wrong. They’re caught smoking, and after a trip to the principal’s office, they’re in detention together. They’re stealing looks, and passing notes, and showing each other their doodles, and giggling. Now they’re bonded, Randy says. That’s an entire scene dedicated to the high school detention experience for you.

After detention, Evie asks if Randy needs a ride. Then as if she’s Viola Davis delivering a devastating one-liner about the hardships of life, Randy, re: her rollerblades, says: “They’ve been sticking a little bit, the wheels.”

In the car Evie asks if the married woman thing is real. Randy confirms and asks if that weirds Evie out. It doesn’t weird Evie out, winkie face. Evie says she’ll see Randy at school. “Yeah, definitely,” Randy says, which is one of those phrases that when said out loud as a sign off echoes in your head at least 60 decibels louder than it actually happens.

Wendy, the married bathroom woman, visits Randy at the gas station. Wendy acknowledges that as a 27-year-old woman, she should probably cool it/stop it with Randy’s 17-year-old body. Randy’s fine with it because she’s explains that she has a girl. Oh, does she? If meeting someone, seeing them again briefly, and then signing off in an embarrassing way equals having a girl, then I’ve dated A LOT of women. Wendy storms off with this news and starts the “oh, have fun…” game where you name the bad parts of what someone THINKS is good about their current situation that you don’t approve of. Except Wendy’s like, “Have fun enjoying the movies, sharing straws, and gazing at each other!” and it’s like… you do not get that game.

Evie is at a diner with her “friends” and they ask if she’s hanging out with Randy. Evie’s like, “What are you, the KGB?” and someone very matter a factly goes:

Ahaha. Okay! My apologies.

Laurel is leaving Evie a note to tell her she’s locker 718 and that she should come by the “old gas station.” After ignoring that she even got the letter for days, Evie takes Randy up on the old gas station offer. She takes a look at Randy’s oversized t-shirt and jeans and goes:

Ouch. Seems homophobic.

Except Randy does know something about engine repair. *when the stereotype holds up* As Randy tinkers around under the hood, Evie says, “I got your note,” and cruelly waits for a response from Evie. Just gonna present you with the confirmation that I ignored you for days – care to respond?

Good thing Randy is so badass, otherwise this might be awkward. As a silent peace offering, Evie, a high schooler, gives Randy, another high schooler, The Leaves Of Grass. Then, music completely off the table at this point, Randy says she likes Billie Holiday. Okay, let’s just go ahead and start naming things! Weather, in general: love the variety. Travel? Big fan.

Randy tries to read her Walt Whitman book out loud to her aunt, and I’m the aunt when she’s like, not a chance. Randy takes her book up to her room instead. While reading and smoking a J, Randy goes, “God, this is intense!” Fuuuuck, dude. Also, what is Laurel’s accent? Arkansanadian? Where are we supposed to be here?

Later, Randy admits out loud after three days of knowing Evie that she’s in love with her. Because of this, now Randy only talks through her Walt Whitman book, AKA in riddles.

Evie and Randy go to a diner. When Randy says Evie’s sheltered for not knowing why they can’t hold hands in the diner, Evie says, “Unshelter me.” “Unshelter Me” sounds like a lesbian scrapbook banger. Feeling empowered by the hand holding that happens between them, Randy asks the server for “a Mick,” AKA “a Michelob” alcoholic beer. The server is rightly like, “I’m sorry, what?” and Randy shakes her head like a muppet to be like DOY A MICHELOB ALCOHOLIC BEER. When the server refuses to give her a beer for not having an ID (and I like to think for saying “a Mick”), Randy asks for “a cup of joe.” Lady.

Later, continuing this cool streak, Randy is practicing how to ask Evie over for dinner with variations of, “Hey Evie, check it out, dinner at my house.”  And check it out Evie does.

*Pasta for dinner!!!!! *(my eyes are closing)

Evie is convinced Randy’s aunt doesn’t like her because she’s black. Randy is convinced that that’s not the case. They start chewing gum. I hear tires screeching in the background and think that maybe a heist on the horizon, anything to jazz this story up a bit, but they’re still just chewing gum together. Then they kiss.

Evie goes home to write in her girl-nal. Randy goes home to read poetry. Now they’re talking about children. High school. “Do you think we’ll still know each other when we’re 30?”

Evie goes to the gas station to ask Randy on a trip for her birthday at the exact mome Wendy comes by to apologize to Randy for her husband. (He knows about Wendy and Randy and went a lil’ tough guy on Randy.) Awkwardardardardardardard. After Wendy leaves, Evie asks Randy if she’s in love with her. “No, I love you,” Randy says, and with a rev of an engine in the background I pray that it’s a Thelma and Louise style crash into this scene.

Evie is being grilled by her friends about her saying she’s in love with Randy. When Evie says, “I don’t give a shit about the prom,” one of her friends says, “You’re ruining your life!” Ahaha, yes – are you even friends in a high school movie if you don’t shame someone into thinking prom is the pinnacle of life? Evie’s friends “break up” with her.

Imagine this: someone asks if you wanted to go to a diner in the afternoon and watch high school non-drama unfold and you can’t leave. That’s this movie.

Evie’s mom is going away for Evie’s 18th birthday weekend and I think I know why Evie is doing her best to shoo her mom out of the house so quickly. To do it with Randy.

When the screen cuts to the two of them on the floor, I think, “This better not be of the two of them looking at old pictures of Evie,” and, of course, it is. Oh, good, I was wondering if there was food in the main fridge and the freezer downstairs, and now I know there is thanks to an entire scene and conversation dedicated to it.

Now they’re smoking a joint. Now they’re high. The only good thing that’s happened in this movie is when they’re cooking while still high and Evie says, “Oh, this is a really good cook book by Antoine,” and Randy’s like, “Who’s Antoine?” Lol.

Now they’re high AND drunk after breaking into Evie’s mom’s wine cabinet. In this vulnerable moment, Evie reveals all of her friends left her today, to which Randy responds, “Yeah, well, I’m not going to graduate.” Both then agree they’re stoned. Now they’re playing the “close your eyes and tell me when I get to your elbow” game.

Ah, yes, now they kiss and continue into bed to engage in the famed crossed-legged lesbian embrace. While renaissance music plays? I feel so bad for people whose only content about women on women sex was this scene being scored by a Medieval Times busker.

Evie’s mom comes home and she’s pissed. The general consensus is: the house is a mess, you drank my wine, it’s a girl, I’m going to kill you. Evie and Randy leave together to a motel.

Randy calls Frank for help, and he, dressed like Mario, tells her she’s in BIG trouble with her aunts for failing school.

By the way, what do these three women do that they’re able to stand in front of the phone all day? They’ve literally had one customer at their gas station this entire movie, and she was getting free air in her tires – how can they afford to live in a house?

Evie has to figure out what she’s going to say to her mom and I have to figure out what, exactly, I would be willing to do instead of watch this movie. An hour in the dentist’s waiting room. Drink as many La Croixs as it would take to fill a bathtub in one sitting. Make a snowman with my bare hands out of the snow that’s been icing over for weeks. Walk across an oiled kitchen floor carrying a latte that I’m bringing to a person I don’t want to disappoint or embarrass myself in front of and also the kitchen is super long. Listen to someone try out every ringtone on their phone on a public bus. These and other scenarios.

Now everyone’s at the motel looking for Evie and Randy? It’s now a hostage situation. Randy makes Evie swear that she’ll love her forever on Leaves of Grass before they go outside.

And now this:

And then:


Laneia, my angel. Please accept this apology.

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 207 articles for us.

53 Comments

  1. Ah, first love.
    I still have a soft spot for this movie after renting it from my local library repeatedly with very, very red ears as a closeted baby gay back in the day.
    That title is pretty unforgiving.

  2. Aaaaah! My dad had to record this movie on the VCR for me (my parents are divorced and he had the then fancy pay tv) He had to record „When night is falling“, too, and „All over me“, and copy every Meg Ryan article from the TV magazine at his office‘s copy machine for my collection. I was surprised myself when I came out. Him? Not so much.

  3. When I was first coming out, I remember specifically watching this movie because the name of the woman who plays Evie is Nicole Parker and at the time I had a titanic-sized crush on a black girl with the exact same name. I remember really enjoying the movie (haven’t seen it since though) but after reading this review I might have just been drunk on my new gayness and that gorgeous woman who wouldn’t have me.

  4. While it’s a personal priority to lambast lesbian films at every opportunity, I recall not hating this one.

    I think it was possibly because the dodgy copy I watched many years ago was of such low quality/frame-rate that it gave me strong silent movie / Harryhausen stop-motion animation vibes that I appreciated.

    I guess the advice here is just imagine Medusa might suddenly pop around a corner to give any film an inflated sense of suspense and peril.

  5. Yeah, this movie is one of the ones that convinced me as a baby gay that I just didn’t like lesbian films. I briefly mourned the loss of representation and went back to my regularly-scheduled content.

  6. I want your commentary on everything ever tbh

    And “girl-nal”????? HOW IS THIS THE FIRST TIME THIS WORD HAS COME INTO MY LIFE unacceptable

    I only tried to watch this years ago cause I am in love with Nicole Ari Parker and I think I’ve actually seen it more than once but I don’t think I meant to I keep going back for Nicole though

  7. I’m pretty sure I saw this movie. In a festival or something. But for the life of me I can’t remember a single thing about it other than the title. And Frank’s stache. Strange thing to remember about a lesbian movie ! Perhaps it’s because it reminded me of my own upper lip area.

  8. Watching this movie for me always felt like when you go to a party and your friend leaves you but you get approached by a cute person that you know is well-liked in your community so you think “oh! Maybe this’ll turn out to be an okay night after all!”

    But then that person says “have you ever thought that maybe life is just a simulation?” As if no one has ever before thought this Very Original Thought and you spend the next hour or two trapped talking to this person about pseudophilosophy and probably at some point they try to explain chakras to you even though they’re white. And you just stand there, nodding, watching everyone else have fun and wondering what happened to that cat you were petting earlier. But you can’t be rude or just walk away because everyone loves them! So you sit and wait to be released from this prison of your own creation.

  9. This kind of hurt to read because I watched this movie approximately 1000 times in college and it was so important to me when I was newly out and super earnest and had pretty much never seen any queer people in movies before. I know objectively that it’s not great, but I’ll always love it.

  10. This movie has a very special place in my heart and I want to shared a little detail that maybe can explain the quality of this one and a lot of queer independent movies in that era. According to IMDb/Wikipedia this movie had an estimated budget of U$S 250.000 in 1995, that’s a little more than U$S 400.000 today, so what a kind of movie can anybody make with that?

  11. After reading this recap I realized the reason I’d remembered the film fondly was that I’d confused it with All Over Me.
    Plus this was the moment in Laurel Holloman’s life where she was like “oh hey I’m maybe not totally straight” and as a babybi I had high hopes for that

  12. “Just goes to show you.” Full stop. Naturally, another one’s like, “Just goes to show you what?” and then the first one follows up with, “I don’t know. Whatever.”

    I have heard an actual real life conversation like this but given that some of my high school could of given Harmony Kendall a run for her money I might have actually heard it more than once.

    O_O

      • I’ve never had a conversation like that just witnessed them from the shadows.

        Using non-sequitur idioms like it’s a job seems fit with the few Midwestern folks I’ve met during carnival season on parade routes. Y’all can be really nice even when you’re startled and concerned it’s kinda cute.

  13. I have to admit I paid actual money to see this in a movie theatre when it came out (ahem), because I was visiting San Francisco at the time (from NZ), I was doing all the queer things, and this was a MOVIE that was in a REGULAR MOVIE THEATRE. Not a film festival movie!

    Anyway, it sucked. Laurel Holloman’s acting was awful. The story was meh. The gum-chewing thing nearly made me puke (sorry, Americans, that was a crap thing to export to the world).

    Good things: Nicole Ari Parker – that woman continues to look fabulous.

    Unusually in American media, they addressed class (not that awesomely well, but they tried), featured an inter-class relationship, an interracial relationship – one that reversed the standard tropes of race and class.

    Even today, interracial relationships are rarely portrayed in American media, unless it’s a *thing*. It’s really noticeable. As for lower/working class, it seems that you get rednecks and thugs over there and that’s about it.

    But none of that made up for the fact I wasted actual American dollars on that film when I could have had a couple of drinks in a cool bar.

  14. If Im honest, I actually really loved this movie. I didn’t know how thirsty I was for a depiction of a interracial lesbian themed love story until I came across this one. I’m aware that it’s not perfect, but I feel like some of the critiques were a bit too harsh. I don’t even care if I’m lame for it, this movie will always be great to me.

  15. Ah okay I appreciate your honesty however. This was the first gay movie I ever watched and I genuinely love it and related to it so so much as a junior in high school. It may not be the best but a lot of us have a real soft spot for it

  16. I love when you comment on how bad and ill-suited the music is during the sex scenes. And I’m sure some scrapbook lesbian singer songwriter has written “unshelter me” even if it never got released.

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