Constance Wu’s Andi Chases Elusive Orgasms in Indie Lesbian Film “The Feels”

When a friend texted me at 11:30 on Saturday night to ask if I’d seen Constance Wu’s lesbian indie comedy on Netflix, I assumed I was dreaming and didn’t even revisit the thought until several days later — but lo! Such a lesbian film does, in fact, exist! It’s called The Feels and it’s the story of Andi (Constance Wu) and Lu (Angela Trimbur) and the gaggle of queer and straight pals they drag into the woods in California wine country for their pre-wedding, co-bachelorette party. What could go wrong!

I’ll tell you: Lu makes a drunk and accidental confession that she’s never had an orgasm. Everyone’s floored by the revelation, and especially Andi, who says early on that the sex she has with Lu is the best sex she’s ever had with anyone. In fact, she didn’t know sex could be like this. Everyone tries to help, in their own weird ways, but they’re also all caught up in their own emotional hijinks. Lu’s married sister sleeps with Andi’s best friend, for example. He’s the only dude at the party and he is, predictably: 1) the worst and 2) in love with Andi, a thing he blames on her and criticizes her for. Everyone gets wrapped up in the straight shenanigans, too. The orgasm bomb obviously leads to conversations about a dozen other things: Andi and Lu’s communication style, whether or not they feel safe with each other, what responsibilities they have to make the other person speak up for what they want and need, what other things they’re keeping from each other.

Lesbian mumblecore is practically its own genre at this point, and The Feels glides easily into place alongside Duck Butter, The Intervention, Suicide Kale, etc. with its boundary-less relationships, improvised dialogue, characters who remind you of your own friends, and those stifled hiccups that give way to just enough drama to make the happy ending rewarding. One interesting thing about the way this film’s constructed is each character takes a turn breaking the fourth wall in a confessional-style interview about their first sexual experience and first orgasm. They’re all pretty predictable, except Helen’s, delivered hilariously by queer stand-up comedian Ever Mainard; her character seems a little bit like Kate McKinnon and Fortune Feimster’s bizarro lesbian love child.

This is director/co-writer Jenée LaMarque’s second film (following 2013’s The Pretty One), and she actually raised the funds for it on Kickstarter last summer. Her selling points: She boasted an 80% female cast and a 68% female crew, and she purposefully engineered the film to create opportunities for women, POC and the LGBTQ community. Also: it’s an “improvised comedy about the female orgasm.” Add those stats and that ambition to the fact that she made a highly watchable, brilliantly acted, visually compelling movie and I’m genuinely impressed.

The thing that surprised me the most about The Feels is how relatable it was. I’ve never had Andi and Lu’s specific relationship drama, but I’ve been in that cabin with that friend group more times than I care to count. Surrounded by people you love who also drive you bananas, the family members you constantly judge but need by your side, the lesbians you learn to like just because they’re lesbians, those lesbians lesbianing in the lesbianest ways, and that one dude everyone wants to throw into the river. It’s authentic and it’s tender and while the climax is a little bit rushed — eh hem — it’s a gay happy ending. And that, itself, is still revolutionary.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 726 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. Yessss I love this. I’m so glad you watched the movie and enjoyed it, and I hope more people will do the same now! I would watch anything for Constance Wu, but I thought this was very sweet and funny and insufferable in the most relatable way. One of my favorite parts was when the dude is being the worst and making everything about him and (spoilers sorta), Andi just sorta slaps him arm and is like, “Josh! What the fuck!” In another movie, one not made by and about a majority of queer women, this moment might have been like “oh noo what is she gonna do, she has to see to his mainpain now.” But nope! (I still think she should’ve stopped being friends with him entirely, but I maybe would have trouble doing that too if someone was my best childhood friend who made cute car & dog comics for me).

  2. The relationship between Andi and Lu struck me as really problematic once they were honest with one another. I just can’t ship a couple where someone doesn’t even feel safe with their partner. Maybe they can work things out at some point but I do not see how they should get married anytime soon.

    Helen reminded me a lot of Melissa McCarthy’s character from Bridesmaids.

    • This is a totally valid point, although I didn’t see it as literally “don’t feel safe,” or even that she didn’t feel safe emotionally. I saw it more as her saying that Andi was a really intimidating person with strong opinions, and it was hard for her to open up, as a naturally shyer/less sure-of-herself person. (Later in the convo with her sister she said that she had that problem with everyone, not just Andi). I have def had that vibe (on both sides of it, even — being the more hesitant person or the more open person depending on the context/other person) in different friendships/relationships, and I think it certainly *can* be a problem, but isn’t necessarily. Especially if the quieter/less-sure one makes an effort to speak up for herself at the same time that the slightly-more-of-a-bulldozer-one makes an effort to purposefully make room for and explicitly ask for the other one’s feelings. Kind of like Leslie and Ann from Parks and Rec, ya know?

  3. I downloaded this movie on iTunes as soon as it came out because not only do I love Constance Wu, but Angela Trimbur is honestly like my favorite person on the planet that I’ve never met. Really, if you’re not following her on instagram, you definitely should. She’s the best.

  4. I watched this last week, and I felt SO seen in ways I’m not used to being seen. I was particularly moved by Lu and Andi’s argument, where Lu tries to explain her inability to speak up for herself, and Andi thinks she’s simply being childish.

    I mean, I was also inorgasmic until after I got married so I obviously have a soft spot for a film that acknowledges that these things are real. And I also liked how realistically (IMO, anyway) they handled women’s sexual traumas.

  5. Ok but when are we going to talk about how insanely attractive Ever Mainard is???

    Open request to the universe: Can Ever Mainard be a lady knight on GOT or somesuch and therefore in Armour???

    I have needs.

  6. I’m anorgasmic and I loved this movie

    There’s the thing how, even though my own life situation is different in some ways from lu’s (i’m not lying to sex partners), the fact that this story exists in the world now, opens up the possibility for me to compare and contrast my life with lu’s. Even the act of identifying those differences allows me to understand my story as part of a spectrum of stories, makes me feel seen

    • Yes! I also *loved* that they let her finish the movie without the like ~~once she was honest she can magically have an orgasm now, thank god she’s fixed~~ thing. I loved her talking head where she was like, “still TBD and that’s cool.” So so happy that that’s a thing in the world! Kinda can’t believe it.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.