Sunday School: So I Watched a Movie Last Week
Alternately, Sunday School: Queerview Mirror Edition.
Weekend is a 2011 film by British writer-director Andrew Haigh.
I keep trying to sort out how I feel about it enough to encapsulate it in a single pithy sentence, but I’m pretty sure this is the first review of anything I’ve written since I was in grade school that wasn’t a Livejournal post with too many exclamation points. No professional, I. You guys should count yourselves lucky that you’re not just getting a list full of <em> abuse.
At its heart, Weekend is about queer identity. No, scratch that: Weekend is about the courage it takes to build and navigate a queer identity in a world that gives zero fucks about the courage it takes to build and navigate a queer identity, contextualized in a one-night stand that won’t quit.
In the red corner, we have Russell, a mild-mannered lifeguard fond of baths and high-grade marijuana. The challenger is Glen, an in-your-face artist type and card-carrying Angry Gay Dude(TM). They have a lot of sex and do a fair amount of drugs and have conversations about life, the universe, and everything. The whole film is a long will-they-or-won’t-they tease about if and how they’re going to fall for each other; the twist, of course, is that they don’t have to in order to change one another’s lives forever. The standard rom-com script–the “Notting Hill moment” that Glen disdains and Russ can’t imagine–proves to be wholly irrelevant to their relationship and their lives.
It’s very sweet and very moving and very profound, and it’s also hot like fire. The second it was over, I wanted to watch it again.
“I just want to roll around in it forever,” I say to my mother. I’m having trouble conveying the full extent of my enthusiasm.
“What, the porno?” she asks, paying more attention to the road than to my flailing in the passenger seat. She was out running errands most of the day and only caught about a minute and a half of the movie while she was getting herself a cup of coffee.
“It’s not porn,” I say, frowning, “it’s just…British.”
“Looked like porn to me.”
“Well, you did walk in at pretty much the worst possible time.” I cringe on the inside as I say it–as far as I’m concerned, there was no “worst” anything in that movie, and if there was it certainly wasn’t that sex scene–and quickly add, “But you wouldn’t have blinked if it had been a straight couple.”
“They were naked and moaning,” she says flatly. “It was porn.”
“No,” I say. “It was a beautiful film about personal politics and love and courage and a lot of things.”
“If you say so.”
“I’m serious, it’s a really good movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better statement about queer identity. You should watch it, I think you’d–”
“Rachel,” she says, “I have absolutely no interest in that movie.”
I open my mouth to reply, but it feels like my lungs have stopped working.
She has no idea how badly she’s just hurt me.
I don’t know how to tell her, so I stop talking.
I feel like such a coward.
Featured image from Weekend, which is available on Netflix Instant and wherever fine DVDs are sold.