‘Rough Night’ Normalizes The Lesbian Narrative

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On opening weekend of Rough Night, I was scheduled to travel to Nashville to celebrate my college best friend’s bachelorette party in epic fashion. While my bisexuality is just another part of my identity to those closest to me, it was a bit of a novelty to those I either met on the trip, or only knew as acquaintances. While I don’t mind being the token gay girl on a group trip, sometimes I just want to be allowed to be, well, me. Being bisexual is part of who I am, but it doesn’t signify everything about me. That’s why when I watched Rough Night, I was enamored with the grace and casual dignity in which they handled the relationship between two of the main protagonists.

Rough Night Frankie

If you haven’t seen the film yet, you might be under the assumption that the titular lesbian character in this film is Kate McKinnon, but her character Pip’s sexuality is never really acknowledged in the film. Fans of the Comedy Central show Broad City will recognize Ilana Glazer as Frankie, an outspoken, progressive activist who is smart, sassy, and in love with her best friend, Zoë Kravitz’s sexy, scrupulous bisexual character Blair.

Frankie and Blair are part of the group of close knit college friends who reunite for Jess’s (Scarlett Johansson) bachelorette party in Miami, and they have a romantic romp in their history. The chemistry between the two is noted by various characters throughout the film, but their sexuality is not. A fully fleshed, romantic storyline is weaved into the narrative about two queer women who have a past, a passion, and now a platonic friendship with something more bubbling underneath. The journey of Frankie and Blair’s relationship is treated just like any other in Rough Night, which makes the raunchy, female-filled comedy stand out like a breath of sexually accepting fresh air. 

Although Blair’s bisexuality is an assumption, it’s never explicitly stated, but I assumed given her current custodial conundrum with her ex-husband regarding their son. No one asks if she’s gay, straight, or bi,  just like no one ever asks Jess about her sexual orientation since she’s engaged to a man. Shouldn’t all sexual assumptions be treated the same? In Rough Night, they are. Pip inquires about a romantic past between Frankie and Blair because she sees the chemistry and assumes they used to be together, without having to confirm either of their sexual orientations first.

Rought Night Group

Frankie and Blair aren’t the only characters whose sex life is presented in a healthy, taboo -free way. The neighbors who own the beach house next to the one the girls have rented for their weekend have an open relationship marriage that’s depicted as free and flourishing. Although the film does trip itself up in its decision to stumble into the bisexual stereotype of promiscuity, it works in this case because of Blair’s confidence and the cool enthusiasm and sexual respect and security of everyone involved.

Rough Night, along with stealthily embedding the full circle evolution of a lesbian relationships that gives lesbian and bisexual ladies some serious relationship goals, pushes boundaries and flips gender roles in all the right ways. Jess is the poised politician with the cocaine bumping, college partying past who raises hell at her bachelorette party, and her fiancé is the reserved trophy husband who spends his bachelor party doing a wine tasting and panicking over his wife-to-be’s escapades. The film deals with the sobering dynamics of evolving friendships, insecurities, and promotes the openness of love all while creating catastrophes and cracking dirty jokes that rival the likes of any Hangover movie.

Go watch Rough Night to see a nod of support to every type of relationship, so we can show Hollywood that sexual diversity sells.

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