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So 'You' Like It-Spoiler Warning-

At the 89th Academy Awards, the Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to the film ‘Moonlight'. The environment around us is changing from when homosexuality was taboo, to starting to admit that our society is not only composed of a ‘majority’ but also of a ‘minority’. Due to the emerging perspective focused on gender rather than sex, movies pointing out sexual minorities are increasing. Since HT is covering ‘minorities’ this month, reviewing movies about sexual minorities was considered appropriate. (Among diverse types of sexual orientation, such as *LGBTQI, only movies addressing homosexuality were reviewed.)

*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning one’s sexual Identity

Carol

The movie ‘Carol’ is a historical piece set in New York back in the 1950s. Its storyline is simple: Carol, shopping for her daughter’s Christmas present at a department store, happened to meet one of the sellers named Therese, and the two fall in love. However, Carol was in the middle of a divorce at the time and her process of ending the marriage became the overall conflict.

There was no such line from the movie with a direct homosexual message, such as “I prefer women over men.” However, the story is built on the implicit assumption that the protagonists are homosexual. Namely, the movie expresses the heroines’ sexual orientation metaphorically or indirectly rather than in a straightforward narrative.

If these two were a heterosexual couple, this movie would not have been filmed since there is no tangle factor for a story to be made. Carol and Therese did as any other lovers do: first, they had a couple of dates, then Carol invited Therese to her house. For Christmas, Carol presented a camera for Therese to win her heart. Later, Carol suggested Therese join her trip and while there they had a physical relationship. In some way, what they had was endlessly ordinary, but the film continues as the men around the women characters make an issue of their relationship.

*Reporter’s Character Analyzation:

Carol is a character who agonizes over deciding between the admittance of her sexual identity and the claim for her daughter’s custody as a mother. Several lines Carol said imply her woe over intrinsic identity. For instance, when Janet, an acquaintance of Carol, said that her husband hates her smoking, Carol responded ‘So you like it’. In this movie, Carol makes the most significant decision which becomes the turning point of her life.

On the other hand, Therese was used to comply with the demands of others. Carol
treats Therese as if she looks at her old self. Therese who could not refuse boys flirting with her, though she has no interest in them, grows up through Carol. With the camera Carol bought for her and the pictures she took of Carol, Therese finally fully blooms as if a flower by becoming who she wanted to be, a photographer.

*Reporter’s Pick! The Best Scene from ‘Carol’
The best scene is when Carol attended a meeting with her husband and legal counsels to have an agreement on divorce. The outcry of a mother with an unapproved identity is very intense.

Moonlight

The movie ‘Moonlight’ consists of three chapters. I. Little, II. Chiron, III. Black. These are the names the hero was called during his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The movie is about ‘The unwelcome life of black gays and how weak they are in the black community’.

‘Moonlight’ plainly indicates the devastated life of black homosexuals. The hero Chiron was brought up in the slum area under a drug addicted single mother’s negligence. There were only three people Chiron could count on: Juan, a middle-aged drug dealer whom he met by chance, and Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa. The third person was Kevin, the only friend of Chiron and his secret crush.

The world, however, constantly estranges Chiron, starting when he was a child being teased as ‘Little’ to when he becomes a high school student. The black community made Kevin punch Chiron, then the others joined in, swinging randomly. When an infuriated Chiron smashed the bully with a chair in revenge, the African American community isolated him to a reformatory.

After returning to society, Chiron intentionally hid his identity thoroughly. He consistently built himself with exercise and even carried a gun. The hero, who is not known as Chiron anymore but named Black, became a drug dealer out on the street, selling what destroyed his mother.

*Reporter’s Character Analyzation:

Chiron came back to Miami to visit Kevin, who got in touch a decade after the assault incident. He confessed that no one touched him since Kevin. This means that Chiron had lived with his sexual identity concealed for ten years in order not to be ridiculed since the affair.

After the confession scene, Chiron and Kevin cuddle and comfort each other. The movie ends with the overlapped picture of Little, young Chiron, standing at the beach under the moonlight, turning his head to gaze at the camera. This signifies that the hero’s concealed identity has revived and he faced himself. Maybe the real reason why Chiron visited Kevin was to meet the true Chiron hidden somewhere.

*Reporter’s Pick! The Best Scene from ‘Moonlight’
Reporter’s choice is when Chiron swims with Juan. Juan tells Chiron to be the center of his own life. In succession, he also tells him not to let anybody decide who he is going to be. Also, Juan tells a story about moonlight, which is the movie title. As black can be blue under the moonlight, you can be whoever you want to be under the moon. After everything, what Juan said penetrates the whole story.

Brokeback Mountain

The film 'Brokeback Mountain' was released in 2005, so it is sort of a classic among the movies addressing homosexuality. Compared to the movies above, this film’s performance is old and descriptive. The movie starts with its setting in Wyoming in 1963, representing the secret feelings between two cowboys in the oppressive society of the 1960s.

Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar first meet each other when working together for a grazing management company at Brokeback Mountain in 1963. They realize their feelings toward one another after accidentally sleeping together in one tent, which they did because the rancher warned them not to build a fire at night to avoid the Forest Service. However, Jack and Ennis were drawn off the mountain a month earlier than promised because of the rancher’s suspicion of their relationship. Jack and Ennis split up after a struggle.

They were reunited 4 years later by Jack’s postcard, however, both were married fathers at the time. Jack and Ennis maintained their relationship by having secret love affairs back at Brokeback Mountain, which they excused to their wives as fishing trips. Their secret fishing affair, with no actual fishing, lasted for 20 years until Jack’s death.

*Reporter’s Character Analyzation:

Jack is the character who actively expresses his feelings and is willing to confront the world. It was all Jack who first touched Ennis, contacted him after 4 years, and suggested to get divorced and run their own ranch alone.

However, Ennis who experienced the sight of a corpse of a homosexual cowboy at the age of 9, warns Jack of the risk if their relationship gets revealed. Even after Ennis got divorced with Alma his wife, who noticed the relationship between two boys, Ennis is still reluctant to go public with his sexual orientation. Until the last moment, Ennis doubts what really happened to Jack, presuming Jack did not die of a mere accident but from the social violence towards homosexuals.

*Reporter’s Pick! The Best Scene from 'Brokeback Mountain'
The best scene is when Jack and Ennis have a big fight. Jack, who got tired of waiting, shouts that their everything started from Brokeback Mountain and it is all they got. The line reflects the meaning of the place and also explains why it became the title of the film.

Last summer, I happened to become friends with two lesbians. We became intimate enough to share lots of personal matters, including relationship troubles. However, on the most rainy day of that summer, one of the friends became honest with me. She told me that she envies my trivial concerns about relationships with a boyfriend. We cried a lot that night and I have never felt sorrier for them. At the same time, I grumbled against our society which made me feel guilty. I do not love to feel superior and neither of my friends love to feel deprivation. All of us are giving the same love.

Since then I could not be frank with my friends. I hope our society keeps advancing to a point where homosexuality alone cannot be considered enough material to turn a story into a movie. Also, I look forward to becoming blunt with my friends again.

Seoh Jiwon  jwseoh67@gmail.com

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