Tag Archives: Hilary Swank

Top 7 Sad Queer Movies That Will Mess Up Your Whole Week

I have a confession to make: I am a sucker for emotional cinema. No matter how heartless I try to pretend I am, the sappy movies make me tear up every time. (I have an aunt who calls this phenomenon “TV eyes” – it helps us keep our hard exterior appearance.)

If you love the movies that bring you to tears, or you consider yourself an emotional stronghold and want to prove it, we’ve found the 7 saddest lesbian movies out there – how many have you seen, and how many actually brought you to tears?

(In order of release – not necessarily indicative of cry-worthy-ness.)

The Children’s Hour (1961)


I’m not sure if this movie exactly counts as a lesbian film, since it centers around a rumor about sexuality, rather than actual sexuality. But, since this movie came out in the early ‘60s and features such huge icons as Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclane… We’ll forgive that.

This story centers around a headmistress and a teacher at a boarding school. Everything is all hunky dory for the two BFF’s (actual gal pals, not like the “gal pals” we hear about these days)… Until a student starts spreading rumors about the two women being romantically involved, and students start withdrawing from the school. Yikes!

Mostly, this movie is sad because back in the ‘60s, this was as close as they had to a real lesbian movie. I’m so glad Hollywood has picked up the slack lately, but this movie is pretty much a downer anyway.

Gia (1998)


For all you Angelina Jolie fans out there, this is the one movie where we got to see her as a sexy, emotional creature… Oh wait, that’s true of a lot of her movies. Still, Gia represented an important (and mostly true!) story of the supermodel, Gia Carangi, as she struggled with her career, her mental health, and her own sexuality. Oh, and not to give anything away if you haven’t seen it yet, but she also has AIDS.

Of course, there is the appeal of seeing Angelina Jolie topless, which is one of the big draws of many Angelina Jolie movies in the first place. But once you add in the powerful message behind it and the fact that this is actually based on a true story, it gets heart-wrenching and super painful.

If you start the movie when she’s topless, and then stop it before she gets onto the plane, this movie isn’t so sad – but if you’re into the whole picture, this movie will undoubtedly wreak havoc on your soul.

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)


Okay, if we didn’t have Boys Don’t Cry on our list, I would be seriously upset at myself. Truly, this is one of those movies that most people will either love or hate – and most of us love it. Hilary Swank plays a transman in the midst of homophobia, transphobia, and general ignorance in Nebraska. Did I mention this one’s based on a true story, too?

The scenes in this movie are created specifically to rip your heart into a million shreds, halfway patch these shreds back together, and then rip them to pieces all over again. Seriously – it’s that good. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s going to make you cry – guaranteed.

Lost & Delirious (2001)

Lost & Delirious

Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore Piper Perabo, and I probably always will. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… Technically, the characters in this movie don’t identify as lesbians – but as two young women who are just madly in love with each other. I think it’s beautiful that they don’t have to put a label on it.

That being said, this movie is pretty sad. Partially because the potential of the cast wasn’t fully realized, and partially because someone dies. (Not going to say who, but… You know… Any time you have lesbian romance in a movie and someone dies, it sucks pretty hard.)

I have a soft spot for anything one of my celebrity crushes is in, so I’m tempted to ignore the critic reviews that say this movie was total garbage. All in all, it tells a tale that many of us have been a part of us at one point or another, and the relatability is enough to break your heart, right? Take a look and form your own opinion about this one.

The Laramie Project (2002)

The Laramie Project

Another TV movie to hit our list – which is still a rarity for the queer community. The Laramie Project isn’t about lesbians, specifically, but it does touch on the murder of Matthew Sheperd – a huge event for the gay community as a whole. With a cast that includes “celebs I wish were my BFFs” such as Christina Ricci and Clea Duvall, this movie promises a stellar performance – and delivers.

Of course, a movie that surrounds the killing of one of the pioneers of LGBT+ visibility, no matter which of our fallen heroes it is, is going to be sad. The Laramie Project is no exception. In addition to the death of Matthew Sheperd, this movie also features survival, against the odds, and the paths we follow to grow as humans.

(Oh, and as a bonus, they also perform a version of “Angels in America”… How meta!)

Angels in America (2003)

Angels in America

Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a movie, but a TV mini-series. Still, this offers an inner look to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s as it pertains to characters who you’re probably going to love right off the bat just because of the actors who play them. (I’m talking Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, and Mary Louise Parker here.) There are also plenty of intersecting sections of the “at-risk community” shown here, and it will rip your heart out – just like any other movie, TV show, or other type of content that deals with the AIDS crisis.

I have yet to watch this one myself, but after looking into it, I’ll definitely have to add it to my own list.

Monster (2003)


Okay, here’s another mostly-true story that happens to be one of my favorites. Monster tells the tale of Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron in a hardly-recognizable get-up) and her girlfriend, Selby (Christina Ricci) through their unconventional and highly criminal relationship.

The scary thing about this movie is that it really was a true story – one that’s been referenced in over two dozen different movies and TV shows – oh, and Charlize Theron won an Oscar for this movie. It’s not too often that Oscars are won by true crime stories, but this movie shows power.

The real Aileen Wuornos was America’s first female serial killer – something that’s not exactly a source of pride for most of us, but personally, it helped me be thankful that I’ve never gone down that path – although parts of it were quite relatable to me. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? This movie is a true classic.

Hilary Swank Says There is a ‘Long Way to Go’ on Transgender Acceptance

Hilary Swank has spoken up recently about her portrayal of a transgender male in the 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry.

Swank was largely unknown when she starred in the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a trans man who was beaten, raped and murdered by his male acquaintances after they discovered he was transgender.

During an appearance on Thursday’s all-new Meredith Vieira Show, Swank was asked about the progress made for the transgender community since the film’s release.

I think we have taken strides since that movie, like you said 15 years ago. We have a long way to go. It’s astonishing to me that we are here in 2015 and there are so many issues that need to be looked at and handled and we shouldn’t dictate who people should love.”

Swank has been a proud supporter of LGBT rights for many years. In fact, she recently received the GLAAD award and Outfest award for her work in the famous film.

When asked if she ever expected the movie to spur so much conversation, she would have to say no.

I had no idea. If I had known that at the time, I probably would have collapsed from the enormous responsibility of that,”. “It was an enormous responsibility just to play someone who had lived and been murdered so brutally and whose life was taken short because of their choice of whom to love.”

In a world filled with many more issues, Swank argues that Americans should spend their time on far more important causes instead of preventing equal rights for the LGBT community.

Let people love people and let’s focus on what truly needs looked at and help homeless people, homeless pets, sick people. Look at the rest of the world, let’s focus on those things.”

When It Pays To Be A Lesbian At The Oscars

Crazy as it seems, but historically a heterosexual, cisgender, actress playing a lesbian or bi women in compelling biopic had the potential to get her into the field of Oscar nominees. That’s not us devaluing the films or acting though, just merely an observation. So, seeing the Oscars are now done and dusted, we took a chance to look back at Oscar’s historic lesbian / bi movies.

Monster – Charlize Theron


Monster is an epic drama about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, and her lesbian lover, Selby Wall, was played by Christina Ricci.

Theron won many awards for her portrayal, including the Academy Award for Best Actress.

The Hours – Nicole Kidman


The film is about how the book Mrs. Dalloway affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives. The film starred Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore, with Kidman playing Virginia Woolf, who although married, had a sexual relationship with acclaimed writer Vita Sackville-West.

The Hours received nine Academy Award nominations including best picture, and Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for Best Actress.

Boys Don’t Cry – Hilary Swank


Boys Don’t Cry is the dramatization Brandon Teena life, a transgender man played by Hilary Swank, who pursues a relationship with a young woman, played by Chloë Sevigny. Directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen, the picture explored the themes of freedom, courage, identity and empowerment. Both Hilary Swank and Chloë Sevigny went on to be nominated for Oscars, with Hilary winning her first Best Actress Oscar for the role.

Vicky Christina Barcelona – Penélope Cruz


Penélope Cruz gained a Best Supporting Actress award for her turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona in 2008. In the movie, Cruz’s character enters a polyamorous relationship with Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem.

Mulholland Drive – David Lynch


Mulholland Drive is a psychological thriller written and directed by David Lynch, and stars Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring. The surrealist film was highly acclaimed by many critics and earned Lynch the Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director Award) at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Why we mention this movie, well Mulholland Drive launched the careers of Watts (who went on to be nominated twice for oscars) and Harring.

See it pays to play gay…

Why Is Hollywood So Bad at Casting Trans Actors as Trans Characters?

In terms of numbers, movies and TV shows are improving when it comes to LGBT characters. But while there are plenty more LGBT characters on our screens (both big and small) there are some glaring issues with their portrayal that stick out like a sore, offensive thumb.

Namely, there’s the fact that the majority of the LGBT characters we see are white, bisexuals either don’t exist or are promiscuous harlots and transgender characters are commonly robbed of their own storylines in favour of being on the end of some unfortunate transphobic jokes.

And, when trans characters do get their own stories, it’s rarely done right. There’s also the fact that time and time again, we are seeing what few trans characters we have be portrayed by cisgendered actors and actresses, which is disrespectful to the identities that they are portraying and disrespectful to the many trans actors who’ve been denied a chance of fame.

In this vein, the films that come to mind are ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (Hilary Swank played a trans man), ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ (Jared Leto played a trans woman), ‘TransAmerica’ (Felicity Huffman played a trans woman) and upcoming films ‘The Danish Girl’ (Eddie Redmayne plays a trans woman) and ‘Three Generations’ (Elle Fanning plays a trans man). The fact that these films are just the tip of the iceberg – is absolutely shocking.

Worse still is that not only are these opportunities for the visibility of trans actors essentially being gifted into the hands of cisgendered actors, the movies themselves often have serious issues. For example, both Huffman and Leto received high praise for their roles (Leto even won an Oscar) but these are movies where little to no respect is giving to the trans characters.

The official synopsis for TransAmerica literally calls Huffman’s character “transsexual” whilst Leto’s character Rayon is constantly misgendered and disrespected throughout the film and at one point the lead character even suggests using a gun to give Rayon a sex change.

Arguably, cisgendered actors are not the only piece of the problematic puzzle but they are an example of Hollywood’s failures.

Much in the same way that you wouldn’t expect a white person to understand what it’s like to face all of hardships and micro-aggressions of a racist society, you shouldn’t expect cisgendered actors, directors and producers to be completely clued in on how to portray trans characters. This is not necessarily their fault(s) but it can and should be rectified by working with trans actors, filmmakers and consultants.

A good example of this is Transparent. Transparent airs on Amazon Instant (and therefore isn’t included in the statistic that .001% of the 796 broadcast series regulars are transgender) but it features cisgendered male actor Jeffrey Tambor in the lead role.

However, not only is Tambor’s character Maura supported by best friend Davina (who is a trans woman played by trans actor Alexandra Billings), but it features trans man Dale (also played by a trans actor) as a potential love interest for Maura’s daughter too. And, the show itself was made by creator Jill Soloway because of her own experience of having a trans parent and Soloway also made the decision to hire trans staffers for behind the camera work too.

So if Transparent can get it right (along with Orange is the New Black, which features TWOC inmate Sophia Burset) why can’t others? The main reason for this is clear – using trans stories for dramatic effect is bold and gains awards but hiring trans actors to actually play those roles is considerably risky.

Many point out that unlike with same sex relationships, there is little voyeuristic quality to displaying trans lives and characters. Questioning your gender or dealing with body dysphoria does not – for straight, cisgendered audiences at least – have the same pull as ‘two girls fall in love and make out a whole bunch in the process’. But shouldn’t we be asking for these stories to be presented for the sake of awareness and not whatever cishets think?

Absolutely. It could be pushed that the huge success of OITNB and Transparent can be attributed to the fact that they are good shows and gain from having trans characters rather than including them at their detriment. Looking at the roster of trans-related media out there: The T Word, Laverne Cox’s documentary on trans youth, ex-Navy SEAL Kristen Beck’s memoir about her transition (which became a best seller) and Tyra Banks is also putting together a trans docu of her own, it’s apparent that there is an appetite for hearing these stories. For their actual value and not for creepy, intrusive reasons either.

Could we see more trans characters – and with them, trans actors – in the future?

Demand determines everything in Hollywood and as executives look at what’s selling (queer stories) there’s good chance that they will ‘buck the trend’ and produce some good results in the process. That might seem a little optimistic but as traditional and TV movies look to compete with the inclusive shows on Netflix and Amazon Instant, it’s more than a little bit possible.

Cross your fingers and watch this space.