Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-03-17
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



The decade in queer movies; film note
Knight at the Movies:
by Richard Knight, Jr.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

The 1990s saw the unofficial birth of queer cinema, a trend that started in the underground, slowly made its way to the mainstream and expanded exponentially throughout the last decade.

Though there still aren't nearly enough LGBT-themed movies breaking through to mainstream audiences ( let alone queer ones ) to suit me, the last 10 years have seen a steady upward momentum in terms of quantity, quality and most importantly, visibility for Our People at the cineplex. Now that the Aughts are behind us as we enter the tens here's a look back at some of the highlights of the past decade in queer movies.

The millennium opened with Big Eden, Before Night Falls and Best in Show—three movies that helped define the years ahead in queer cinema. Big Eden, the charming debut of out writer-director Thomas Bezucha remains my favorite gay-themed romance with its always-potent message of love conquering all; on the other hand, Before Night Falls gave audiences the double bonus of the compelling portrait of queer writer Reinaldo Arenas and an instant star in Javier Bardem, who played him. Christopher Guest's improv comedy Best in Show lovingly and hilariously gave us comedic portraits of both a gay and lesbian couple and the movie also gave out actor Jane Lynch her breakout role. The year 2001 saw the arrival of John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch—his searing, moving and razor-sharp portrait of a transgendered rock singer along with the darling lesbian comedy Kissing Jessica Stein. Other highlights of the year included The Deep End, The Fluffer and director Robert Altman's Gosford Park.

The next three years saw an increasing number of LGBT-related movies with some terrific highlights that included out director Rob Marshall's Chicago, which won the 2002 Oscar for Best Picture and single-handedly brought back musicals to the movies. Nicole Kidman took the Oscar the same year, playing bisexual writer Virginia Woolf in the adaptation of gay author Michael Cunningham's The Hours. ( Meryl Streep played a lesbian character in the film, garnering another of her 2,000 nominations. ) Far From Heaven—new queer cinema director Todd Haynes' masterful homage to the '50s melodramas of Douglas Sirk with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid as her closeted gay husband—arrived in 2003, along with a batch of offbeat LGBT-themed fare: Die! Mommie! Die!, Girls will be Girls, Latter Days, Monster, Normal and Party Monster among them.

A Home at the End of the World and Alexander ( both which featured Colin Farrell playing bisexual characters ) , Mysterious Skin, Bill Condon's Kinsey, Jonathan Caouette's autobiographical documentary Tarnation, Brian Dannelly's Saved! and Hellbent—the first queer slasher flick—were some of the LGBT film highlights of 2004.

Gay movies went to the Oscars in 2005, headed by Brokeback Mountain, the critically lauded financial hit which found Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two lonely cowboys romantically involved with each other, enthralling audiences worldwide. ( Ledger's final film¬≠—Terry Gilliam's gorgeous-but-thin fantasia The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, with Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Brad Pitt filling in Ledger's unfinished scenes—opens Friday, Jan. 8, at the Music Box Theatre. ) Capote star Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar playing the gay icon/author Truman Capote while Felicity Huffman won a Best Actress nomination playing a transgendered woman in out writer-director Duncan Tucker's Transamerica.

Crash edged Brokeback for the Best Picture Oscar, an oversight that, in retrospect, perfectly justifies Our People's protests over the slight. The loss presaged a relative dry spell in queer cinema in 2006 and 2007—though Imagine Me & You, Hate Crime, Infamous, Quinceanera, Running with Scissors, Notes on a Scandal, V for Vendetta, The History Boys, Gay Sex in the 70s, The Quiet, Time to Leave, Kinky Boots, Two Drifters, Save Me, For the Bible Tells Me So, Zoo, The Man of My Life and, especially, the return of John Cameron Mitchell's sexually explicit and rousing ( pun intended ) Shortbus helped keep LGBT-themed cinema alive.

The year 2008 had very little in the way of gay movies ( and forget about lesbian and transgendered films ) though again, there were some decided exceptions to the rule—Brideshead Revisited, The Witnesses, Shelter, Chris & Don: A Love Story, Black, White + Gray, The Life of Riley, and both Mamma Mia! and Wall-E, two of the year's biggest box-office hits— had gay characters or subtext. ( I'm convinced little Wall-E the robot is gay and Eve is his gal pal. ) This was also the year that we got big-screen versions of Sex and the City and its gay African-American doppelganger Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom. The highlight of 2008, of course, was Milk, queer director Gus Van Sant's tremendous biopic of slain gay-rights activist Harvey Milk that won a well-deserved Oscar for Sean Penn and scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black, whose impassioned acceptance speeches helped to momentarily heal wounds after the backlash of California's Prop 8.

The final year of the decade brought us another batch of award-worthy contenders—with A Single Man and Precious sure to be Oscar-nominated along with Valentino: The Last Emperor as a possible Documentary Oscar nominee. There were several other notable LGBT-themed films in 2009—Outrage, Taking Woodstock, Bruno, Hannah Free and Little Ashes, among them—for queer film enthusiasts to trumpet and which give Our People much to anticipate at the movies in the decade ahead.

Film note:

Chicago Filmmakers kicks off the new year Saturday, Jan. 9, with Confessions of a Lesbian Director: Films of Chris J. Russo. The evening, which is part of the ongoing Dyke Delicious screening series, will include a program of six of the short films of Russo, many of them autobiographical in nature. Russo will appear in person. Titles include Straight Down the Aisle: Confessions of Lesbian Bridesmaids, Size 'Em Up, A Woman Reported, I Just Want To Be Alone: The Trailer, Directed By Dorothy Arzner: Scenes from the Directors Lab and 25 Random Things I Did During My Big Fat Lesbian Depression. As with other Dyke Delicious programs at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, the evening begins with a social hour at 7 p.m. followed by the 8 p.m. screening. Visit or call 773-294-1447.

Check out my archived reviews at or . Readers can leave feedback at the latter Web site.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


PASSAGES Terrence McNally dies of coronavirus complications at 81 2020-03-24
SHOWBIZ Martha Stewart, Angelica Ross, gay wrestler, Rosie, COVID-19 items 2020-03-24
Pride Films and Plays to suspend performances of two productions 2020-03-18
Billy Masters 2020-03-17
Siskel closed until April 10 2020-03-17
SHOWBIZ Janelle Monae, Harry Hains' death, Sam Smith, COVID-19 cancellations 2020-03-17
Onion City Film Festival postponed, Chicago Filmmakers issues statement 2020-03-12
SHOWBIZ Halsey, GLAAD, Jonathan Van Ness, Carol Burnett, 'Stranger Hearts' 2020-03-10
SHOWBIZ Angelica Ross, Madonna, 'Love, Victor,' trans writer/activist, Judge Judy 2020-03-03
WORLD Bollywood film, UK employers, assault, Rainbow Railroad 2020-02-25
SocialWorks' Black History Month Film Festival through March 1 2020-02-19
Billy Masters 2020-02-19
NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION Actress brings Da'Vine performances to various roles 2020-02-19
Reeling co-director stepping down 2020-02-17
NEA supports dozens of Chicago arts organizations 2020-02-14
SHOWBIZ Sean Hayes, Rihanna, Cher, Billy Porter, Laura Dern 2020-02-11
'Parasite,' Zellweger, Elton among Oscar winners 2020-02-09
Facets names new executive director 2020-02-08
'We Don't Want Your MTV' Feb. 10-15 2020-02-07
Billy Masters 2020-02-05
'A Night with Oscar' viewing party Feb. 9 2020-02-05
TELEVISION Freeform airs LGBTQ, Chicago-filmed film 'The Thing About Harry' 2020-02-05
SocialWorks' Black History Month Film Festival until March 1 2020-01-30
SAG-AFTRA issues new intimacy guidelines 2020-01-29
'The Color Purple' in theaters Feb. 23 2020-01-28
SHOWBIZ Judith Light, RuPaul, queer docufiction film, Lil Nas X, Mika 2020-01-27
Latinx Short Film Showcase on Feb. 1 2020-01-24
Planned Parenthood, We Testify release "Ours to Tell" short film 2020-01-21
Actors honor their own at 2019 SAG Awards 2020-01-19
WORLD Trans activist killed, Israeli center, Brazilian priest, Netflix film 2020-01-14
SHOWBIZ Taylor Swift, GLAAD, music festivals, CW renewals, Jake Gyllenhaal 2020-01-14
'Michael Hutchence' soon out on digital, DVD and Blu-ray 2020-01-13
Oscar nominations out, with favorites and surprises 2020-01-13
LGBTQ critics name film, TV honorees 2020-01-11
WINTER THEATER PREVIEW Classics and revivals abound this season 2020-01-07
Parasite,' 'Peanut Butter' and pachyderms, best and worst movies of 2019 2020-01-07
SHOWBIZ Best LGBTQ films, Eddie Murphy, Obama's songs, DJ retires 2020-01-07
Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John among Golden Globe honorees 2020-01-06
Alla Kovgan dances with Cunningham 2019-12-27
10 Questions with Vic featuring Kit Williamson 2019-12-24

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.