Okay, I’ll put it out there—women loving women (WLW) don’t get a lot of good rep in films (hello, Bury Your Gays, the trope I have a burning hatred for). When we do, we cling to it as if our life depended on it. Case in point: “Carol,” “The Handmaiden” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” are staples of sapphic film Twitter.
So, when I heard that Alice Wu, the director of the highly underrated lesbian romantic comedy “Saving Face” was making a new movie, I was more than hyped. I was elated, overjoyed—I felt like squealing. Wu’s next film, “The Half of It” is a coming-of-age dramedy that sees Ellie, a shy young woman, bust out her writing skills to help her friend Paul write letters to his crush Aster. The catch? Ellie has a crush on Aster too. It’s not every day that you get positive WLW and POC of color representation in a romantic comedy film, have you ever watched an Asian lead fall in love with a Hispanic love interest? Oscar-worthy, if I do say so myself.
The film drops on May 1, which, to me, if you’re starved for fresh WLW representation and a good time, can’t come soon enough. So here’s a list of the best feel-good WLW movies, where no one dies, gets cheated on, or fetishized, that you can binge on before “The Half of It” drops tomorrow.
Spoiler alert: these movies will give you all the feels, I mean all of the feels.
So I’ve already talked about it but I seriously can’t stop. Alice Wu’s directorial debut is a perfect mix of Asian-American culture, romance, comedy and of course, the precarious relationship any lesbian has with their mom. Wil, short for Wilhelmina, is the lead Chinese American surgeon who finds love in Vivian, a ballerina who insists on not keeping their relationship lowkey. At the monthly Planet China gathering that the characters frequent, secrets are revealed and love flourishes—not just for Wil, but for her mom too.
“Billie and Emma”
All-girls’ schools have a unique culture all on their own and this movie gets it right. Samantha Lee’s second film combines ‘90s pop culture, women’s sexual agency, first love and breaking out of the status quo. Lee was very particular about staying true to the experiences of queer women, being a gay woman herself and she made sure that the representation is genuine so she cast Zar Donato, an openly out woman for the titular role of the badass and incredibly charming Billie, making it a WLW starred and directed film. Never in my life did I think that I would be kilig over two girls taking care of an egg.
“But I’m a Cheerleader”
Natasha Lyonne of OITNB fame plays Megan, a teenager sent to a conversion camp by her parents who suspect that she might be gay. She denies this of course, insisting that she isn’t gay, despite her vegetarian diet (vegetables are gay culture) and the pictures of bikini-clad women in her locker. Clea Duvall plays her friend, Graham, who has never been shy about who she is. You can also spot Supermodel of the World, RuPaul Charles here, playing the character of an “ex-gay” to a T. This movie is campy, colorful and sweet, all while nailing its parody of conversion camps excellently. Homosexuals anonymous never looked better.
A cool and kick-ass girl gang who are secretly internationally-renowned spies? If that’s not girl power, I don’t know what is. This movie has everything from cool spy gadgets (“Totally Spies,” anyone?), elaborate schemes, female friendship and an unexpected romance between top-of-the-line spy Amy and supervillain Lucy Diamond. This killer comedy actually gets deep about what it means to be a good person but it’s still a guaranteed knee-slapper that will make your heart melt. Bonus: Devon Aoki speaks with a mesmerizing French accent which I could listen to for hours.
“Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita”
If I could describe this movie by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo in one word, I’d use the word pure. While this film definitely does not shy away from heavy topics like religion, abortion and small-town traditions, Anita’s experience is framed through the lens of innocent childhood love. Angel Aquino’s character, Pilar, represents everything that their small town abhors, but for young Anita, played by Therese Malvar, Pilar is her first exploration into the wonders of love and intimacy.
One of the things that Booksmart nails is a lesbian character whose sexuality is not the only important character trait. The friendship between Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) is the core of the movie. Playing two straight-A highschoolers who realize that their pursuit of greatness has left them with no time to have fun, this movie is driven by quick and clever humor. Their mission to experience all the fun they missed out on, on the night before high school graduation, brings Amy to explore adventures in confronting her crushes and possibly getting the girl she never knew she needed. All in all, this movie is a hilarious women-centric buddy movie that surprisingly speaks to the heart.