Mainstream LGBTQ films may not be as plentiful this fall as they were back in 2017 but several releases this season will be looking for LGBTQ patronage, as well as Oscar attention.
The most high-profile of those may be “Judy,” released on the 50th anniversary of the passing of iconic Judy Garland. The movie – which just screened for the first time publicly at the Telluride Film Festival – is already receiving strong notices and raves for its star, Renee Zellweger, playing Garland. In director Rupert Goold’s film, based on Peter Quilter’s stage play “End of the Rainbow,” Garland is on the skids, personally and professionally, and has arrived in London circa 1968 for five weeks of sold-out performances. The LGBTQ angles may be minimal but gay men should flock to this – and expect Zellweger to figure prominently in the Best Actress Oscar talk.
Winner of the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival this year, as well as the Screenplay Award, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is another film with all sorts of Oscar buzz. In France in 1770, painter Marianne is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne has to paint her without her knowing. To do so, she has to observe her – day by day – until the two become closer. From director Celine Sciamma, best known for her 2011 film “Tomboy,” “Portrait” and its slow-burn lesbian romance should be a highlight of the season. Before it bows late this year/early next, it will have its Southeastern debut at Out On Film Oct. 1.
Another Cannes darling is “Pain and Glory,” by beloved gay director Pedro Almodovar, about a film director who looks back at his life and the choices he has made. Antonio Banderas – playing a gay character again – stars and Penelope Cruz – another of the director’s muses – has a few scenes as the central character’s mother in flashbacks.
“This is Not Berlin,” directed by Hari Sama, opens for a week-long run at the Midtown Art Cinema this weekend. Xabiani Ponce de Leon stars as Carlos, a 17-year-old living in Mexico in the mid-80s, who doesn’t fit in. When he goes to see a band at a night club, his life changes forever and he becomes more politically aware. The LGBTQ elements are secondary but it’s edgy and well made.
Among other offerings, “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” takes a look at the controversial politician, extending to his ties with Donald Trump, while the lauded “End of the Century” charts two men who meet in Barcelona and realize that they are not strangers.
Finally, although few have seen it yet, gay director Bill Condon’s “The Good Liar” could be a sleeper surprise. In it, out actor Ian McKellen plays a con man who meets a wealthy widow – played by Helen Mirren – online. As he sets about preparing to rip her off, he finds himself unexpectedly beginning to care for her, complicating his scheme. Russell Tovey – another out actor – is in the supporting cast. Cordon directing Mirren and McKellen and Tovey in the same movie? Count me in – way in.
Fall Film Dates
“Where’s My Roy Cohn?”
Out On Film
September 26 – October 6
“Pain and Glory”
“End of the Century”
“The Good Liar”
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”