I like a good play on words. But I didn’t cue up Tru Love for its wit. Instead I looked at the hour twenty-seven run-time and thought, “I can handle this – a nice little palate cleanser between episodes of ‘House of Cards’ and ineffective job hunting.” Little did I know (and how is it always so little in these cases?) that my experience would balloon into a numbingly dragged-out two hour soap fest, replete with healthy pauses for Google research (yes – the movie was made in Canada!), harried text messages to out-of-town friends seeking tax counsel, and general existential crisis about mortality and feelings of otherness. Some of these ponderings were related to the film.
Tru Love is the story of a noncommittal, late-thirties lesbian named Tru looking to connect. Despite her mild Canadian manner and conservative bang n’ bob tresses, life hasn’t always been easy. Orphaned at twelve, banished for homosexual activity at fifteen and a cutter in her early twenties, she’s got a shit-ton of baggage and she likes to work it out on whatever warm body floats her way, although from my perspective her sex life seemed to mainly entail waking up in different pairs of pajamas with other frumpily dressed bedfellows. Sample (fully-clothed) pillow talk: “I had a great time Jenny.” “Jenny? It’s Jamie.” Crazy Tru. When will she learn that life isn’t just about casual sex and comfy pants? IT’S ONLY ABOUT COMFY PANTS. But enough about me.
Eva Green: where ya been all my life? Sometimes, I think I live under a rock because when a specimen so fine as Ms. Green (Casino Royale, Camelot) escapes my mental clutches for this long, I have to wonder how strong my devotion to pop culture really is. And she’s not just a complete babe – sister can act to boot! Alongside, Homoflix regular Juno Temple and bombshell supporting players Imogen Poots and Maria Valverde, she tears up the screen in melodramatic brooding so committed, it’s sure to make you reach for a stiff drink and that old copy of Nightwood faster than you can answer Cracks opening line: “Do you have desire?”
Set in a random British boarding school in 1934, Green’s Ms. G is a rogue hottie in a sea of sexless Protestants, known for her amazing stories of exploits abroad while managing a dorm of rich, abandoned young women led by Temple’s grumpy bitch alpha princess Di. Her only definite responsibility at the school seems to be leading the girls on diving expeditions. (You can pause and let that sink in. Really. I don’t mind.) Anyway, Ms. G and Di have a “special,” if unconsummated, flirtation and clear love of water sports, but all shit breaks loose when a prodigious Spaniard hits the scene, making waves as a Catholic and foreigner with a past to boot. Fiamma (Valverde), an asthmatic with flawless skin, is immediately loathed for being the most cosmopolitan lady on campus, inspiring jealousy and rage in her overly sheltered, hormonal peers. Ms. G is of course completely smitten with the well-travelled 16 year-old, but Fiamma quickly discerns that G might have at least one screw loose, catching her in a white lie of inflated storytelling that will eventually have tragic consequences for the sharp minor. What follows are fucked up mind games involving an inhaler, a decadent dorm party, an implied lesbian rape and a prolonged, terribly upsetting Lord of the Flies chase scene. And this at 3 in the afternoon on a Thursday! My heart, my heart!
Ah, sweet mistress Procrastination. It’s a Friday night and I’m home alone, feeling blissfully inept at applying to something called the Princess Grace Fellowship. So what better way to while away an hour and forty-five than cue up a little IN action. What’s on my plate tonight? I’ll tell you – The Sex Monster, starring my old fantasy flame, Mariel Hemingway. Last seen (by me) in Personal Best, time has only done magical wonders for the tawny blond, elevating the baby-voiced icon into some MILF-transcendent category due utter homage. Yes, rum does make me hyperbolic, but we’re out of Old Overholt, so there you go.
Laura (Hemingway) is a devoted wife/part-time sculptress and in this film that means we see her prepare a lot of salads and occasionally invite people into a studio. Her husband Marty is a stressed-out developer, obsessed with getting Laura to take her salad-tossing out of the kitchen and into the bedroom – with Marty and a plus-one. That is, a lady plus-one. After a serious amount of coaxing, a surplus of liquor and a late-night swim the couple finds itself in bed with Didi, a sweet piece of tail and Laura’s coworker at the hair salon where she works. Initially tentative, Laura’s eventually munchin’ like a pro, putting Marty way to shame and sending Didi into a serious conundrum. Initially Marty is stoked, but his enthusiasm quickly wanes when he discovers his wife is a. a champ and b. not gonna be shy about going back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Laura turns out to be a serious box nymph. Unfortunately for us connoisseurs, all the action goes down (never has the phrase been so appropriate) right under our noses in a series of shots where Marty comes up gasping for air only to see his wife plugging away like an Olympic diver. I wish more women knew their potential.
I’ll be honest. Judging by the cover art that was posted on Netflix, I thought Heartbeats was a lesbian movie. Nope. Just has some really pretty boys in it. And yeh, that was kind of a letdown. In fact, I hesitate to even call this movie a gay movie. It’s basically a Québécois version of Threesome, with way better cinematography. It only really earns its gay chops by including a gay sex scene, lit moodily, that starts with crying. Classic.
I guess I should run through the kind of standard movie review stuff first, before getting to what you really want to hear. This film is gorgeous. Director/star Xavier Dolan has made a beautiful film that has some beautiful people in it (hubba, hubba Niels Schneider as Nick!), and the performances in the film are intricate, nuanced and compelling – definitely a level of skill that rarely dons the cloak of “gay cinema.” And the outfits outfits are awesome. Werk.