For so long, the Christmas cheesy film has been very straight, very white, usually revolving around 2.2 children. But finally things are changing and here are some ideas for some festive queer in your seasonal viewing. At last, same-sex stories are hitting the mainstream and this is something we need to celebrate.
The Prom is an over-the-top song-and-dance cheese-a-thon (yup, cracking out the multi-hyphenates for this one!). A troupe of self-obsessed Broadway has-beens are looking for a new project to give them a social media boost – and decide to help teenager Emma. The school prom in her small town in Indiana has been cancelled by the PTA because they don’t want her to take her girlfriend – prom must be mixed sex couples, or it isn’t happening at all. It’s a musical extravaganza, fronted by Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman – and it is a hoot! But (yes, there is a but) Corden is a straight man, camping up his gay character in a way that made me grind my teeth, and he tries to steal every scene (even putting truck-driving Emma in heels and a prom frock – don’t get me started) but I did still have a ball watching this. On Netflix.
Happiest Season features Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), happily in love, until Harper invites Abby home for Christmas. On the way there, Harper admits that she isn’t out to her family and Abby must pretend to be her ‘orphan roommate’ for the holidays. Throw in Harper’s father’s political campaigning, her ever-present ex-boyfriend and, more excitingly, Aubrey Plaza as Harper’s ex, and things are about to get complicated. There has been criticism about the toxic nature of Harper shoving Abby firmly back into the closet, but overall it is a sweet-natured film that shouldn’t have to represent all queer cinema. I did a watch-along with a friend for this and it was great fun – and it is written and directed by But I’m a Cheerleader’s Clea DuVall. Available to rent.
A New York Christmas Wedding is a very rare mainstream film about a bisexual woman, and none of the three leads is white. Jennifer is soon to marry David, but his parents are rushing them into a glamorous Christmas Eve wedding. Jennifer remembers her first love, Gabrielle, and, to her surprise, finds herself launched into an alternate reality where she is engaged to Gabby, but they are battling their Catholic church to allow them to marry there. Jennifer must repair the damage done in her past and work out which life will be the one to make her happy. It’s sweet and fun, and both couples have lovely rapport and, hey, representation! Available on Amazon Prime.
Finally, no Christmas can be Christmas without a repeat viewing of Carol because … well, Christmas for me begins with Rooney Mara’s Therese in a cute Santa hat and Cate Blanchett’s Carol mouthing ‘nice hat’ while accidentally (?!) leaving her glove on the counter. Oh, and if you fancy a deep dive, the Script Apart podcast have just recorded an interview with screenwriter Phyllis Nagy who adapted Carol for the cinema.