Maybe it's because a few of my friends hyped it up too much, but I thought Blue is the Warmest Color was a pretty disappointing movie. A friend of mine gave me the graphic novel for Christmas and though it's far from perfect, it was an incredibly compelling story. If you aren't made uncomfortable by the subject matter and by the prospect of a couple of graphic scenes, I highly recommend it. I actually cried at the end, which, given my cold, stony heart, is sort of impressive.
So I watched the movie, since I'd heard so much about it. And the first third of it was fairly true to the story-- it was okay, overall. And then it all went downhill; the film became more focused on objectifying the girls than telling their story, and on twisting the original plot into something more palatable for a straight male audience (which, go figure, because that's the director's own demographic). There were so many plot holes that I was surprised it had won anything at all.
The author of the graphic novel, Julie Maroh, wasn't pleased with the film either, for what I thought were some pretty valid reasons.
It's difficult because there aren't many LGBT movies that have broken into the mainstream the way BitWC has, and so LGBT representation is very limited and often based on negative stereotypes. The importance of representation is too nebulous a topic for one blog post, but the main idea to take away from it is this: the problem is not inherent in the stereotyped representations-- the problem is that these are, by and large, the only representations shown, which creates a one-dimensional, negative view of entire groups of people.
So if accurate coming-of-age LGBT film is a niche that interests you, I happen to have some (largely depressing) suggestions, all of which were written/directed by women who belong to the demographic they depict:
- Pariah (2011) - "A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship,
heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression."
I saw a screening of this last year and loved it. It's a great film.
- Mosquita y Mari (2012) - "After being assigned as study
partners, two Chicana high schoolers find a bond that confuses them at times."
Arguably, it's not very good, but it's well-shot and emotionally potent.
- Circumstance (2011) - "A wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain
a teenager's growing sexual rebellion and her brother's dangerous obsession."
I watched this recently and it's my personal favorite of these recommendations. I have no idea whether or not it's an accurate depiction of life in modern Iran-- but it is an amazing story, and I have a serious weak spot for good cinematography.
- Saving Face (2004)
- "A Chinese-American lesbian and her
traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash
against cultural expectations."
I actually... haven't seen this. But one of my friends said it's a great rom-com, which I'm sure is a nice change from all the dramas. Plus Joan Chen is in it. She's in Twin Peaks. She's fabulous.