Tag Archives: Grandma

In Review: Lesbian Film Highlights Of 2015 And What We Can Expect From 2016

Did you notice that this year you actually got to see lesbian films outside of the LGBT film festival circuit? And that several of them got nominated for (and even won) awards? And they even had big names attached to them?

That’s right, 2015 was a really interesting (and important) year for LGBT movie-goers as more LGBT-themed films got accepted and publicised by the mainstream.

While that meant that we heard about some duds (such as Stonewall, which was rightfully ripped to shreds by critics), it also meant that some true cinematic diamonds got the spotlight they deserved.

Yes folks, 2015 showed that it actually pays to play gay.

So what were the highlights of 2015?


Just about everyone has high praise for Carol and with its leading ladies having both picked up Golden Globes nominations for their brilliant performances in the movie, but it’s being tipped for Oscar nominations as well.

Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, is one of the most talked about films of the year. Not only does it star Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a May-December relationship (that also has a class divide) but it’s also beautiful shot and the depiction of 1950s America is absolutely exquisite.


Starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore in a May-December relationship, based on a true story, Freeheld tells the tragic story about a police officer named Laurel Moore who is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

With the help of some friends, Moore and her domestic partner Stacie Andree fight to ensure that Laurel’s pension benefit get passed on to Stacie even after Laurel passes.

Prepare to shed some serious tears watching this one.


Grandma is an unusual twist on the buddy movie genre. It stars out actress Lily Tomlin as the titular grandma, who, after the death of her long-time partner and having split up with her girlfriend after four months, has to help out her 18-year old granddaughter.

Her granddaughter is pregnant and needs money for an abortion, but, being broke and having had her credit card confiscated by her mother, the two women have to find the cash for the procedure, opening old relationship wounds and rehashing old arguments along the way.


It’s a TV movie, but Bessie deserves its spot on this list. Out director Dee Rees’ film about blues singer Bessie Smith was nominated for a ton of Emmys and won several, including the Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. Great acting, amazing music and big names like Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique made for a splendid film. Any worries that Bessie Smith’s bisexuality would be underplayed are squashed after watching this film. And she’s not the only queer lady in this biopic either.


Dianna Agron’s queer drama about a young woman living in Nevada, who becomes romantically involved with a female drifter, played by Paz de La Huerta. It’s a small town girl – bored with life – story.

The film, is written, produced and developed by Purple Milk aka Natalia Leite and out producer Alexandra Roxo, two independent filmmaker from Brooklyn. Together they have worked on documentaries, like the upcoming Serrano Shoots Cuba, and the web series Be Here Nowish (which you can watch on KitschMix.tv), which they wrote and also starred in.

Liz In September

Despite autumn being the best season of the year, this one doesn’t offer much to smile about as the titular ‘Liz’ is a lesbian who has terminal cancer. Things aren’t going much better for her love interest either as she has lost her son to cancer.

It sounds pretty miserable on paper, true, but Liz In September has gotten a warm reception from critics at least, especially for the performance of Patricia Velasquez (who came out this year) so it’s worth a watch.

All About E

Romance! Criminal hijinks! A queer woman of colour triumphing over a racist buffoon! All About E has got it all, as it stars the titular ‘E’ and her gay best friend as they get into trouble after accidentally steal money from the club where E works.

A gay Mission Impossible this is not, but it is a great deal of fun and you’ll really enjoy seeing E and her ex-girlfriend rekindle their relationship.

7. Summertime

Blue Is The Warmest Colour take a seat; Summertime (La Belle Saison) is the best gay, French film on the block. Featuring farm girl Delphine as she leaves her parents place in the countryside to come to the city, the movie follows her as she meets a feminist named Carole who she promptly falls in love with.

The Girl King

There are (and this is a rough approximation) 1 billion and one films about heterosexual historical figures getting married, cheating and dabbling in royal politics. So why can’t queer characters get the same movie tropes? Lucky for us, The Girl King solves that problem, focusing on the (very real) Queen Christina of Sweden as she assumes the throne at a young age following her father’s death.

A true rebel, despite her title, Christina is pretty fond of peace (despite everyone around her wanting war), wearing men’s clothing and sword-fighting too, but you’ll mostly likely be interested in her romance with Countess Ebba Sparre who becomes one of her ladies in waiting.


Skin Deep

Yes, this is another movie where a lesbian and straight girl become friends and there’s some sexual tension, but Skin Deep is a lot more than that. The film is about two women – with their own dysfunctions – meeting at what should be the worst time ever, yet somehow its not.

The Summer of Sangaile

Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, near her parents’ lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and in the process finds in her teenage love the only person who truly encourages her to fly.


Oppressed by her family, dead-end school prospects, and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of free-spirited girls. She changes her name and dress, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping to find a way to freedom.


This documentary explores comedian Tig Notaro’s extraordinary journey as her life unfolds in grand and unexpected ways, all while she is battling a life-threatening illness and falling in love.

The Same Difference

When you’re part of a marginalised group, ‘there’s a high chance of discrimination’ is almost inked in small print at the bottom of the sign-up sheet, as is the nature of the thing.

The Same Difference by first-time director Nneka Onuorah, sheds light on an issue we rarely see discussed in this medium: hypocrisy in the black lesbian and bisexual community. A code of behavior and appearance exists and it’s strong, but as the movie shows us, there are women living outside of these boxes and they often aren’t received well. The film also looks at the judgment bisexual women, pregnant aggressive, and stud-on-stud couples face.

So what films should we being looking out for in 2016?

About Ray

About Ray tells explores the questions of identity and family ties. With Malificient actress, Elle Fanning, playing a New York City teen Ray, who is transition from female to male. Naomi Watts will play Ray’s single mother, Maggie, who must come to terms with raising her only daughter as a son. Long-time LGBT ally, Susan Sarandon will play Maggie’s mother Dolly – a music manager who lives with her lesbian partner and has a hard time understanding her grandchild’s decision.

The release date for About Ray has been pushed around, but it finally looks like Dec. 31 will be the day. Give me a break–most of you will be watching Susan Sarandon play gay in 2016.

First Girl I Loved

In short, First Girl I Loved is about a 17-year-old who falls in love with the most popular girl at school. The backstory about the lives of three young girls from Phillip Island and follows their trip to Hawaii — the first step on their journey to making a break as professional surfers.

Discover the trials and tribulations of training, competitions and injury whilst gaining an insight into life on the tour through the eyes of three girls. With magic footage and stellar photography, First Love will surprise, entertain and inspire a generation of female surfers.

Almost Adults

Almost Adults, starring Carmilla favourites Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis, is also set to come our way in 2016. The film is about a platonic love story between two life long best friends struggling to keep their friendship together as their lives head in different directions.

Also, look out for out actress Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters, and hearing Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory.

How Female LGBT Characters Were Represented in the Media in 2015

Once upon a time, the discussion surrounding LGBT representation in the media was a numbers game and all we wanted to know was how many LGBT identified characters were depicted on the big and small screens.

But now, as more and more networks and studios have begun to feature LGBT stories in their works, the question is all about how those LGBT character were represented, rather than how many we could count.

With this said, Hollywood movies did well on both fronts in 2015. LGBT characters weren’t just main characters in a fair handful of movies  but there was nothing particularly eye-rolling or offensive about any of them either (we’ve come a long way from 2010’s The Kids Are All Right and 2013’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour).

Carol (which features Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women who fall in love in the 1950s), Grandma (a lesbian poet accompanies her granddaughter as they try to drum up funds for the teen to have an abortion), Tangerine (two trans women go about finding their pimp) and Freeheld (a true and tragic story about a lesbian couple’s fight for benefits) have all gotten serious mainstream attention.


Admittedly this is a small handful of films out of the hundreds released this year (we’ll have to wait until next year for GLAAD’s full breakdown on LGBT characters in films from major studios) but as mentioned, it’s a long way away from a few years ago.

TV also made some strides particularly in terms of queer women of colour and establishing queerness with younger audiences. On Orange is the New Black, Poussey and Soso seemed to be on the verge of a romance, as did Suzanne and Maureen.


Meanwhile, How To Get Away With Murder’s lead character, Annalise Keating, rekindled her romance with her college girlfriend, and notable mentions go to Person Of Interest‘s Sameen Shaw who kissed Samantha “Root” Groves after episodes upon episodes of subtext and two of FOX’s new shows Grandfathered and Rosewood both featured black lesbians.

Viola Davis

Then, when it came to cartoons, Adventure Time got an entire miniseries that focused on queer vampire Marceline (and her canon relationship with Princess Bubblegum) and Steven Universe revealed that Garnet is actually a big lesbian up of two little lesbians who are so in love they can’t bare to separate.


Also on SU there are Pearl’s (seemingly non-platonic feelings) for Rose, Amethyst and Peridot’s crushes on each other and the fact that Steven and his best friend Connie joined together (fused) to become ‘Stevonnie’, a character of colour who uses ‘they’ pronouns.

And not to forget The Legend of Korra, with the show ending with two bi women of colour (one of whom being the show’s main character) holding hands, signifying their canon relationship.


That said, overall, TV was a mixed bag (though this is perhaps due to TV having LGBT women leading to a higher probability of TV writers mucking it up).

Although Faking It‘s writing team have said that Amy is a lesbian, they still decided to use Amy’s portrayed bisexuality as a chance for her girlfriend to be biphobic. And less offensive but still unsettling is the fact that of the characters on shows being portrayed as bisexual (such as Annalise Keating, Sarah Pfefferman on Transparent) you’d be unlikely to hear them actually say the word ‘bisexual’ .


And while there’s a case to be made about TV showing that labels don’t matter,there are too many examples of this happening to suggest that that is always the case.

Moreover, Empire completely got it wrong as not only did lesbian billionaire Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei) kiss Lucious Lyon (after showrunner and The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken hyped up the character’s arrival and her sexuality, no less) but it didn’t do (butch lesbian character) Freda Gatz justice either, seeing her get beaten in a rap battle just to further another character’s manpain.


Also showing how TV got it wrong was Pretty Little Liars which, in addition to being a total story-writing trainwreck during season five, it was incredibly transphobic as well as the show’s main characters managed to misgender a newly out trans women and use her dead-name too.

So, if we had to rate the year in LGBT media (with LGBT female characters at least), then 2015 would get a solid 7: it’s pushing the boundaries and getting better, but clearly work needs to be done.


Tough Choice! Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Nominated In Same Category For Movie ‘Carol’ At Golden Globes

Hurrah, the nominations for the 2016 Golden Globes Awards, have been announced and leading the charge is Carol – a lesbian romance set in the 1950s – with both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara being nominated in the same category for Best Actress.

Also vying for the award is Brie Larson (Room), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)


Carol is also nominated for Best Director, Original Score and Best Motion Picture.

Lily Tomlin has been nominated for two awards, Best Actress in a Television Comedy for her role in Frankie and Grace, and Best Actress in Comedy Movie for her role in Grandma.

She will be competing with Jennifer Lawrence, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Maggie Smith for  The Lady in the Van.

grandma 01

Queen Latifah (Bessie) competes with Lady Gaga (American Horror Story: Hotel), for Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie.


The Danish Girl lead Eddie Redmayne is also in contention for leading Best Actor Drama. He goes up against Bryan Cranston, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, and Will Smith.


Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The show is also nominated for Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical alongside Transparent.


The winners will be announced in a live televised ceremony on January 10, hosted by Ricky Gervais. This year will be the first since 2012 that is not hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, but Gervais is no stranger to the stage; next year will be his fourth time as host.

See below the full list of nominees who made the cut for this year‘s awards:


Best Picture, Drama

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Picture, Comedy or Musical

The Big Short
The Martian

Best Director

Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro Innaritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Actor, Drama

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Actress, Drama

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Actor, Comedy

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Actress, Comedy

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress

Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Screenplay

Emma Donoghue, Room
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Original Score

Carter Burwell, Carol
Alexandre Desplat, The Danish Girl
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto, The Revenant

Best Original Song

“Love Me Like You Do,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love,” Love & Mercy
“See You Again,” Furious 7
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Writing’s On the Wall,” Spectre

Best Animated Feature Film

The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Foreign Language Film

The Brand New Testament
The Club
The Fencer
Son of Saul


Best TV Series, Drama

Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
Flesh and Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Actor, Drama

Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, Narcos
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Actor, Comedy

Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Rob Lowe, The Grinder
Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Actress, Comedy

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Supporting Actress

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Regina King, American Crime
Judith Light, Transparent
Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Idris Elba, Luther
Oscar Isaac, Show Me A Hero
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Patrick Wilson, Fargo

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Sarah Hay, Flesh and Bone
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Queen Latifah, Bessie

Lily Tomlin: Coming Out As Gay Would Have ‘Literally’ Killed My Mother

Hollywood actress Lily Tomlin says she waited until after he mother died to come out as a lesbian.

Lily Tomlin 99

Speaking to the Telegraph, she said:

My mother would have died. Literally. If she’d lived to see me come out. Bless her heart, she was Southern, basically fundamentalist, but she was very witty and sweet and kind and she adored Jane. She died 10 years ago. She was 91. So that was always kind of a dilemma for me.”

The Grace and Frankie star, who shot to fame as a comic in 1969 before later finding success with cult hit films like Nashville and 9 to 5, never had a grand ‘coming out’.

Lily Tomlin 97

However, she has quietly spoken about her sexuality for a number of years – and married her long-term partner Jane Wagner on New Year’s Eve 2013.

The actress also said earlier in her career she turned down films that said “thoughtless things about women”.

They sent me two or three Neil Simon scripts over the years. When you’re first in the business you’re so innocent and free, the script would literally leap out of my hands into the trash can. Then afterward you get to know more and more people and you make more compromises.”


grandma 01

Tomlin is currently promoting her new film, Grandma, in which the 76-year-old plays a pot-smoking lesbian feminist poet – hurrah!

Grandma is released on December 11

‘Carol’ Features a May/December Lesbian Romance, Is an Oscar Contender

When it comes to TV shows, queer women don’t have it so great with representation as the few characters we do see are typically young, white and femme. When it comes to film, the picture is even worse as one the rare occasion that we see queer female characters in films, they almost always end up cheating on their female partners with men, or they barely get one line to say.

But as luck would have it, there will be plenty of lesbian representation to choose from in the run up to ‘Oscar’ season, where films are released with the best possible chance at being nominated (and eventually winning) an Academy Award. Several films are garnering Oscar buzz, including Carol, Freeheld and Grandma.

Carol, which stars Cate Blanchett in the title role, is based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, The Price of Salt.

Set in 1952, Carol, who’s 46 and married, meets and falls for a shop clerk named Therese (played by Rooney Mara) who is 30 years old. That plot alone would be interesting to watch – the two women have a class difference as well as that age gap – and it seems that critics have really taken to it.


Not only did Carol win the Queer Palm awards at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year (which is awarded to the best LGBTQ+ movie at the event), but reviews of the movie have also been incredible positive. One review suggested that Blanchett and Mara carry the film with ‘glamorous allure’ while another said that the film is a ‘masterpiece’ from director Todd Haynes. It’s also said that to be a strong Oscar contender.

And then there’s Freeheld which stars Julianne Moore and Ellen Page (in another May/December relationship), a drama based on a real story. In real life, a police officer named Laurel Hester was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and wished for her pension benefits to be passed on to her domestic partner Stacie Andree. Not only is this film a real tearjerker (albeit a hopeful one) but the cast is made up of many actors who have won or have been nominated for Oscars – something which could positively influence Oscar voters into supporting the film.

Julianne Moore and Ellen Page freeheld 02

Grandma, meanwhile, stars Lily Tomlin (who is gay in real life) as a 75-year old lesbian grandmother who breaks up with her 40-year old girlfriend and goes on an adventure with her granddaughter as they try and raise $600 before sundown.

Stellar performances are presented throughout this movie but according to critics, Tomlin really shines, which is why some are quite certain that she’ll get an Oscar nomination too.


Unfortunately we won’t know which films are nominated until sometime in January, but the fact that these three movies are in the running at all is brilliant.

As mentioned, queer female representation in Hollywood is abysmal – especially when it comes to older women (and older women in relationships with younger women too) – and so it’s incredibly uplifting to see that some some filmmakers are bucking a trend. Roll on 2016.


Could ‘Lesbian Themed’ Movies Rule Next Years Oscars?

Indiewire have updated their 2016 Oscar predictions, and they predict a very real possibility that over half of this year’s female acting nominations could go to portrayals of gay women.

Lesbians have represented at the Oscars before. Charlize Theron won for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos, Nicole Kidman played Virginia Woolf, and Annette Bening almost won for her rule in the The Kids Are All Right. 

Also read: When It Pays To Be A Lesbian At The Oscars

So who has been tipped?

There is a possibility that openly gay actress Lily Tomlin could get a nomination for playing someone openly gay in Grandma. Which is actually a first – a lesbian actress being nominated for playing a lesbian character – shock horror!

Tomlin would also become the only second gay person to be nominated for playing a gay person. Ian McKellen is currently the only other example.

In Paul Weitz’s Grandma, Tomlin plays a lesbian poet who goes on a road trip with her granddaughter after she breaks up with her long-term partner.


This is her first lead role in a film in over 27 years, and she’s incredible in it. Sony Pictures Classics is surely going to rev up a campaign for her come fall, in hopes of giving 75 year old Tomlin her first Oscar nomination since 1975, when she was nominated for Nashville. Our fingers are firmly crossed.

Also read: Watch | New Clip Released from Lily Tomlin’s New movie ‘Grandma’

If Tomlin does get nominated, she would almost certainly be competing against Cate Blanchett, who got insanely good reviews out of Cannes for Todd Haynes’ Carol. Blanchett plays half of a 1950s lesbian romance in the film, the other half being played by Rooney Mara, who beat out Blanchett for Cannes’ Best Actress award.


Mara is a very likely nominee too, though The Weinstein Company could very well campaign her in supporting.

Also read: Watch | First Teaser of Cate Blanchett’s new Lesbian / Bi-Feature Film ‘Carol’

Either way, this is three possible lesbian nominees.

And then there’s Freeheld, which we’ll likely be released at the Toronto Film Festival.


The movie stars last year’s best actress winner Julianne Moore, who is paired with Ellen Page. The film is a classic Oscar bait story of real life lesbian Laurel Hester (Moore), a police officer in Ocean County, New Jersey. Following her diagnosis with terminal lung cancer in 2005, Hester repeatedly appealed to the county’s board of chosen freeholders in an attempt to ensure her pension benefits could be passed on to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page).

Also read: Will Ellen Page’s “Freeheld” Be A Surprise Box Office Hit?

The film is actually based on a documentary short that won an Oscar, and is written by the same man who got a nomination for his screenplay for Philadelphia.

We obviously won’t know until we see it, but both Moore and Page sure seem like contenders for best actress and best support. That would also make Moore the only person to receive two nominations for playing queer characters.

Watch | New Clip Released from Lily Tomlin’s New movie ‘Grandma’

In her first leading role since 1988’s Big Business with Bette Midler, comedy legend, Lily Tomlin, plays Elle Reid – a bisexual feminist poet  – whose work is like catnip to women’s-studies majors and the like.

She is breaking up with her far younger girlfriend and still dealing with the death of her longtime partner, when her granddaughter, Sage, unexpectedly shows up needing $600 before sundown to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. The duo spend the day trying to get their hands on the cash as their unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets.

Like Tomlin herself, Elle is an out lesbian long before it was widely accepted, and her daughter, Judy, had Sage through an anonymous sperm donor. And now it is Sage’s turn to make a critical decision about her own body and the life of her unborn child — a decision, “Grandma” unambiguously argues, it is hers and only hers to make.

I know I’m putting myself on the line, kind of. But I trusted (writer-director by Paul Weitz) and I liked the material. First of all, he had written it with me in mind, and he wanted me. Then as we worked through the material, it just seemed like a good thing to do.”

Lily Tomlin

The film co-stars Julia Garner, Laverne Cox, Marcia Gay Harden and Judy Greer.