Wednesday, February 24, 2016
LGBT at the Movies
The back-to-back films at the Empire in Belleville have been Carol, starring Kate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and The Danish Girl with Eddie Redmayne. Of course there are a number of other actors offering strong performances in both films, but those three are the most recognizable.
Both are set in other eras, one before WWII and the other after, and both deal with sexual orientation and gender identity. The latter, Carol, is about two women who fall in love, one of whom is married to a man, and the rather tortured nature of their relationship in a time when homosexuality is considered a psychiatric illness and a moral failure.
The Danish Girl is about a married man who comes to must address his conviction that he is a woman, even though he still loves his wife. If homosexuality is "the love that dare not speak its name" then being transgendered is an abomination.
I appreciated Carol more, but that may be because of my stubborn discomfort with transgender issues. My gut hasn't caught up with my head on this one yet, but I'm convinced it will, and a thoughtful film such as this one will help. Ruth noted, rightly, that these are both love stories, first and foremost, not "issue" stories. We both found Carol to profound in an understated way, and she was deeply affected by The Danish Girl. The message is that humans will demonstrate great courage to be who they are within, despite societal prohibitions and suspicions.
This is an important reminder for those of us who follow the Christ who so often challenged the mores and prohibitions of his time. As we walk the Lenten road to Holy Week we can ask what this means for us in real terms in our time.
Perhaps this isn't so much LGBT at the movies, as explorations the power of love and personhood.