Patricia Velasquez captivates in “Liz in September”

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I watch a lot of “lesbian movies” every year. No surprise there. And as much as I look forward to new releases, I also always find myself re-watching some of the classics. That said, there’s a thought that’s always in the back of my mind going into a new movie–would I watch it again next year? More often than not, the answer is no. I enjoy a lot of movies, but it’s rare that many of them come to mind on a Sunday evening when I’m sitting at home, bored, and looking for something to do. So when I find a repeat worthy flick, I’m honestly thrilled. Most recently, that movie was Liz in September (Liz en Septiembre).

Based off Jane Chambers’ play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, this Venezuelan film is deep, funny, and filled with several great performances. Director Fina Torres gives us a delightful supporting cast and two perfectly cast leading ladies. And how about recently out Patricia Velasquez (The L Word and The Mummy) playing title character Liz? Brilliant choice.

Liz is definitely the love ‘em and leave ‘em type. This brings about an interesting dynamic within her group of friends, as she used to be married to the closeted Dolores, whose younger girlfriend Coqui constantly hits on Liz. The shenanigans all take place on a lovely beachfront hostel run by their friend Margot. Friends and partners Alex and Any are also there to egg Liz on. It really is the lesbian weekend getaway you’ve dreamed of (unless you’re looking for Dinah Shore numbers).

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What no one except Dolores knows, however, is that Liz is sick. For her, this vacation is as much about fun with friends as it is about rest and peace. But Liz’s plans change when the beautiful Eva shows up.

Eva’s forced to stay at Margot’s after her car acts up and goes in for repair. She’d been driving to meet her husband, which obviously sets the stage for some later drama. For now though, she has no idea she’s just stepped foot into the Isle of Lesbos. It’s pretty funny for those in the know.

Eva’s first interaction with Liz is hardly romantic. Liz is doing some fishing when Eva notices her and releases her catch! But it’s not quite the activist move the upset Liz judged it to be. She doesn’t know it yet, but Eva is particularly sensitive to death, having recently lost her young son to cancer.

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They get over the bad first impressions quickly. Liz’s friends catch the hint of attraction between the two and goad her on. Cocky Liz bets them she’ll bed Eva in three days. 

But Liz gets more than she bargained for with Eva. She moves her. We see that when they get stranded on an island and just bond. Nothing physical happens, but they can’t lie to themselves anymore regardless.

Sadly, the real world awaits. Eva’s husband comes to pick her up and it’s time to say goodbye. By now Liz’s friends know there’s something more there and push her to go after Eva. She doesn’t.

Instead we get some straight roadside sex. That’s all it is though. Eva knows her husband’s been cheating and that they both have never moved on from the death of their son.

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To everyone’s surprise, she returns to the hostel and to Liz. They can finally start to live out their passion for each other. But with Liz’s health on the decline, you know the happiness can’t last long.

A particularly interesting moment in this film is that they share their first kiss after Eva discovers Liz’s pills in her medicine cabinet. She knows exactly what those pills are for and chooses to pursue Liz anyway. Their love only gets stronger from there.

I have to point out that this movie is a treat because of its additional storylines as well. Dolores is working up the courage to come out and rebuild after her failed relationship with Liz. Margot dreams of the one that got away, Yoanda, and drinks a bit too much. Cute couple Alex and Any want another child. And the friendship, the friendship is strong amongst them all. Except perhaps with Coqui (seriously Coqui, what’s your damage?).

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But that love story–it’s powerful. Yes, this one will stay with me.

Liz in September is currently playing at LGBT film festivals but will soon be available from Wolfe Video.

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