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Lesbian Movie Reviews: Died / Recanted / Unhappy/ Came out - Kissing Jessica Stein

Friday, December 18, 2015 - 08:00

I was hoping I'd finish my current gym book in time to be this week's review, but it's a bit of a slog. (That is foreshadowing that the review will not be entirely positive.) I only have two more of these pre-written lesbian movie reviews, but I actually have a whole stack of lesbian videos I haven't watched yet, plus some that I've watched but haven't written up. Maybe I'll have a chance to get a few more into the queue over vacation next week.

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I’m re-posting (sometimes in expanded form) a series of reviews of lesbian-themed movies that I originally drew up in answer to a request for recommendations of "good movies involving lesbian romances that don't end up with the protagonists deeply unhappy, dead, or both." To this set of criteria I’ve added the question, “Is the story primarily about coming out?” This set of index questions will necessarily involve some spoilers, but since I'm not reviewing any current releases, I think the statute of limitations has expired.

Many of these items are not currently in print. I'll link each to their entry for reference. But for those currently available, Wolfe Video is the go-to distributor for lgbt movies.

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Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) Straight girl Jessica gets frustrated with men and dabbles in same-sex dating with heretofore straight Helen, who falls more on the "questioning" side rather than the "experimenting" side. A romantic arc develops that goes through stumbling courtship, consummation, arguments about being closeted, coming out, a rapid slide into a platonic relationship, breaking up over that, and Jessica ending up back with a man while Helen keeps on with women. A mixed evaluation as only one of the two sticks the lesbian landing. No death, one recantation, a bit of unhappiness, and a fair amount of coming out. The movie comes across as a bit of a stereotypical cautionary tale about getting involved with apparently straight women, but it's funny and comes from a solidly female gaze.