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Lesbian Movie Reviews: Died / Recanted / Unhappy/ Came out - When Night is Falling

Friday, August 7, 2015 - 08:00

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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When Night is Falling (1995)

Uptight college professor Camille, in a fit of uncertainty and confusion about her relationship with her boyfriend, meets free-spirited circus performer Petra for whom it is love at first sight. Petra pursues and Camille succumbs, followed by a hostile confrontation with her (now ex?) boyfriend. But in the end, with the circus leaving town, Camille runs away to join it. (Note that despite the "lesbian" in my review series title, Camille seems rather solidly bi rather than lesbian. I don't recall whether that aspect is directly addressed.)

No lesbians die, but Camille's dog's death is deeply intertwined in the plot’s symbolism. Definitely a coming-out/seduction story. No recanting within the scope of what the movie covers, and implications of happily-ever-after, but you have to have doubts about the stability of the relationship given the mis-match in personalities.

In essence, this is the queer version of the manic pixie dream-girl. As such, while the same-sex twist is refreshing, the story has a bit of a stale feel (even for 1995). The overall tone comes across as a bit dark and angsty, giving the viewer a fair amount of uncertainty over how things will turn out. And the secondary message about women making choices between their careers and their romantic lives isn't exactly progressive. But there are some lovely sensual scenes.