As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to offer something to make your holiday DVD gift buying process a little easier: the Top 10 Lesbian Movie Kisses. Or at least, my Top 10, which should get you started.
One can never have too much of a good thing, which is why it’s hard to limit the list to ten when ranking cinematic lesbian kisses. And there are so many sub-categories to consider, such as the goodbye kiss, the kiss on a dare, even the kiss of death (see Elektra). But if I had to drag a box full of well-worn DVD’s with me to a deserted island, these are the ones that would keep me warm. Unless Kate from Lost shows up. Then she can keep me warm.
10) Eulogy (2004) – Debra Winger and Glenn Headly
Ever since Debra Winger shit-kicked her way into our hearts as Sissy in Urban Cowboy, lesbians everywhere have hoped to see her in some actual Sapphic lip-lock. (And, no, the CPR “kiss” with Theresa Russell in Black Widow does not count.) In Eulogy, Winger plays the bitchy older sister Alice to Lucy (Kelly Preston) who brings her lesbian lover (Famke Janssen) home for their father’s funeral. Winger thinks gay marriage is a joke and that Lucy’s “sex toy” shouldn’t be in attendance at the family event. Later, when alone in a car on a rainy night with her old friend Samantha (Glenne Headly), the reason for Alice’s bitterness comes to the surface. Samantha asks Alice if she remembers their teenaged years and “that time in the basement.” Winger asks in her trademark husky growl, “Were we doing something like this?” then climbs on top of Headly and plants a long lusty one right on her lips.
9) Desert Hearts (1985) – Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau
It’s the classic that has preceded the packing up of many a U-Haul. Desert Hearts was the lone lesbian romance on the big screen before the lesbian “chic” trend of the 1990’s, so it should be regarded as required viewing. Set in Reno in the 1950’s, prim scholar Vivian (Shaver) seeks a quickie divorce in the small gambling town. At a dude ranch for divorcees, she meets the impetuous, unapologetically lesbian Cay. Vivian tries but can’t resist Cay’s charms. After being booted off the ranch by Cay’s jealous mother, Vivian checks into a cheap hotel and tries to drink away her desires. Cay is soon banging down her door, and when Vivian tells her to go away she whimpers, “I can’t!” with a defiant stomp of her cowboy boot. Of course, Vivian lets her in and the kiss we’ve been waiting for is incredibly realistic – it’s long, sweaty and without a musical soundtrack. It feels just like the “real deal” that Cay has been looking for.
8) If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) – Michelle Williams and Chloe Sevigny
Old-school butch Amy (Sevigny) meets young feminist Linda (Williams) in a bar in 1972, and their distant lesbian galaxies collide. Suave and chivalrous Amy is discounted as a relic by the gender role-smashing lesbian feminist coeds in Linda’s circle. Mocked, derided, and chided into a peasant blouse (for God’s sake!) at a potluck hosted by Linda’s friends, Amy leaves feeling just as misunderstood by them as all the straights.
Luckily, Linda’s thinking is at least two decades ahead of her “sisters” and she declares her love of Amy and her rebellious spirit right there on her suburban front porch. She plants a sexy, defiant kiss on the lips of her butch lover in front of one of the nasty, homophobic neighbors. Activism is sexy!
7) The Hunger (1983) – Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve
You know that inexplicable desire you have to be seduced by a gorgeous French vampire? You can probably trace it back to The Hunger. In this queer classic, Deneuve is Miriam, a sexy bloodsucker on the prowl for a new mate. She meets scientist Sarah (Sarandon) at a book signing and puts a spell on her—literally. Sarandon finds herself sipping brandy while Deneuve plays Delibes’ Lakmé on the piano. Her description of the opera becomes a classic pickup line (try it!) that has Sarandon out of her skimpy white t-shirt within the beat of a thudding human heart. As the score reaches a crescendo and gauzy white curtains whip around them, they share an immortal kiss that will change Sarandon’s life. Yes, from that moment forward, Sarandon will be the standard answer to the question, “Which woman on the planet do you most wish were a lesbian?”
6) Henry and June (1990) – Maria de Medeiros and Uma Thurman
“I want to be innocent, like you June” purrs French writer Anais Nin (Maria de Medeiros) to June Miller (Uma Thurman) as they slow dance in a gay nightclub. Henry Miller broke literary taboos, but it was his estranged bisexual wife who took Anais Nin to dizzying new sexual heights. Clothed in velvet dresses, drunk on red wine and their romantic imaginations, Anais and June finally ditch their husbands and whip each other into an erotic frenzy in the back streets of Paris. On the night before she sets sail for America, world-weary June tells Anais, “I’ve done the vilest things, the foulest things. But I’ve done them superbly.” Anais (awed by June’s animal magnetism) and June (in love with Anais’ poetic soul) dissolve into a tormented, languid kiss on the dance floor. If you’ve read Nin’s erotica, you’ll recognize June in all the tall, knowing blondes who seduce petite, demure heroines. And you’ll know what happened after this kiss…