Indie hits (and misses)
Appropriate Behavior gets the MVP award this year for queer indie films. (I just made this award up, but still.) Written by, directed and starring Desiree Akhavan (an AfterEllen alum), the film focuses on a young bisexual woman named Shirin, who is feeling aimless and heartbroken after breaking up with her girlfriend. Bitingly funny, Appropriate Behavior has picked up numerous awards, and premiered at this year’s Sundance. It hits wide release this January.
Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same director Madeline Olnek brings us the hooker buddy film, The Foxy Merkins.
If you ever wondered what would happen if your two favorite co-stars were actually in love, then Anatomy of a Love Seen is the film to check out. After a whirlwind love affair that started on set, actresses Zoe and Mal have a painful breakup. When the director (played by the actual film’s director Marina Rice Bader) calls them in to reshoot the love scene, emotions run high. The film has great performances all the way around, plus an interesting (and totally sexy) plot.
What if instead of taking one path, you could explore the different ways your life could pan out? That’s what happens in Heather Tobin’s film Route of Acceptance, when Ryan (Emily Alatalo) gets to see three different ways her college decisions could greatly affect her future happiness. Different places, different lovers, different mindsets. As our writer Kim Hoffman described it, it’s a lesbian “choose your own adventure” film.
Amreeka director Cherien Dabis stars in her latest film May in the Summer, about a woman who travels to Jordan for her wedding, and the chaos that ensues within her fractured family. Alia Shawkat plays May’s closeted lesbian sister, who eventually comes out to her family in the midst of the trip.
Once Upon a Time in Queens is a mob tale, with a twist. When mafia man Joe Scoleri (played by the great Paul Sorvino) returns home after two decades in prison, he finds the world around him has changed pretty dramatically. His only child, Rita (Babette Renee Props) is an out and proud lesbian with a loving partner, something Joe never knew. The evolving relationship between father and daughter is the real emotional crux of the film.
Serena’s (Magda Aponowicz) family is pretty awful, as we see in the drama A Reason. The young lesbian has been on the receiving end of abuse by her older and controlling brother and father. As the family gathers to read the will of their still-alive aunt (played by the great Marion Ross), Serena’s sibling duke it out over who gets a bigger piece of the pie. Serena, on the other hand, rises above it all.
Adventure awaits Jenni (Alma S. Grey) and Sam (Ashley Morocco) in the film, Broken Gardenias. An unlikely pair united by their mutual need to escape, they embark on a quest to find Jenni’s long lost father. Complications arise (don’t they always?) and the growing bond between the two women is put to the test.
Starring out actresses Guinevere Turner and Cathy DeBuono, Crazy Bitches harkens back to the age of early ’90s horror flicks. A group of former sorority sisters (of course!) and their gay bestie spend a weekend in the woods, and find out a serial killer is on the loose. Secrets, lies, and lots of alcohol fuel the group’s paranoia (and body count) grows.
To say “See You Next Tuesday” is actually a coded way to call someone a not-so-nice name. That theme of acidic, snarkiness carries through this indie film about a dysfunctional family of women. Mona (Eleanor Pienta) is an aimless 20-something who has been doing her darnedest to ignore her very far along pregnancy. When she falls on hard times, she turns to her lesbian sister (who likes to hurl racist insults at her African-American girlfriend) and their royally messed up mother.