Sapphic Cinema: “Imagine Me & You”

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You know that part in The Lord of The Rings when Galadriel hands Frodo a vial full of light from the most beloved star of the elves? Well, if Galadriel had been a lesbian (still not over Cate Blanchett, btw), that vial would have been the distilled essence of Imagine Me & You, the 2005 romantic comedy which served as our light in dark places for a very long time.

So many queer women have an Imagine Me & You story. It was released at the moment when our culture began to cautiously depathologize queerness and was one of the first (and still one of the only) glossy, mainstream films with lesbian content that a closeted girl could easily access. My version of the story stars with the day I saw that iconic hand-holding poster at my local movie theater, where it was almost certainly placed by mistake since there was no way in hell my little Appalachian town ever showed it. But I was enthralled by the poster—I still remember where it was placed in relation to the popcorn machine—and I was terrified that someone would catch me looking at it. (Other people were suspecting Certain Tendencies in me long before I suspected them in myself.)

It was two years before I had my Big Gay Revelation, and within a week, I had located and done a frame-by-frame analysis of the film. (My little sister came out around the same time, and since I couldn’t bring myself to touch the copy at Blockbuster, I had her girlfriend burn me a copy, which I still have, even though it is scratched right on the kissing scene.) So when I, and a lot of women my age, watch this movie, we’re not just seeing the action unfolding onscreen, but our own histories, and the part this movie played in them.

imay1MY ROOT.

IM&Y is a romantic comedy in the grand British tradition of Four Weddings and A Funeral, replete with quirky family members, outrageous friends, and comparisons of wedding dresses to meringues.

imay2

The woman in the dessert-like dress is Rachel (Piper Perabo, whose face is so precious to me I cannot bring myself to watch Lost and Delirious since I am traumatized by the mere thought of her sadness), whose life is so perfect it makes even her a little nervous. She is beautiful, and is a successful journalist (back when that was still a thing it was possible to be) and owns a large number of very cozy-looking sweaters. Her father is Giles (Anthony Head plays him as so stutteringly emasculated that for years after watching this I though he had a speech impediment). But he’s a great father, and he dances like a gibbon, as all fathers should.

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