Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review- Do I Love You? (DVD)

Do I Love You? (DVD)
74 mins.

In the vein of GO FISH and I`VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING, this charming lesbian film deals with the everyday complexities of love, sex, and relationships. This festival favorite won the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival award for Best Director (Lisa Gornick), and realistically chronicles the lesbian life in today`s London.

I thought this would be a good movie. It says it’s a lesbian romance on the cover and the DVD pics suggest it is. Um… no, it’s not. It’s a sort of lesbian Woody Allen meets Seinfeld type of movie in that it’s kind of artsy, neurotic and a story about nothing. I think this was supposed to be an humorous, satirical look at city lesbian life, but missed the mark. It did have some funny moments and I think it’s a film worth watching. But I didn’t get what the focus of it was; it seemed to just ramble all over and I didn’t see the point of much of what happened.

This movie is about the main character, Marina, trying to answer some questions about who she is, life, being a lesbian, men, mortality and so on through an intellectual deconstruction of her life. Yes, it was that exciting. :/

I don’t mind stories like that. And I kind of did enjoy the voice of Marina, who is actually the writer and director of this film. She does have a way of expressing herself that had some appeal. But it would have been nice if it went somewhere, or if the character/s had some growth in that.

A secondary focus is supposedly on a realistic portrayal of the lesbian scene in London. If that’s the case, it might be realistic, but it’s not very flattering. It shows only the worst of what I believe might really be the case.

All the characters, most of them lesbians, seem to not have any sense of commitment in their relationships or lives. They’re all cheating, or thinking of cheating on their partners. They all come across as selfish and clueless about how they affect their partners and each other. They seem to willy-nilly blow off live-in partners without care about how they might feel. Even the ones who get dumped don’t come across as devastated, they simply have an “oh well” attitude, which made me wonder what the hell these people are doing with each other. Why even be in a relationship?

It’s like they’re all a bunch of superficial users. None of the characters had any redeeming qualities, including Marina, who comes across as completely selfish and self absorbed.

Mostly this is about Marina. She goes about questioning why she’s a lesbian in weird ways. She’s in a relationship with Romy in the moment, but she decides maybe it’s a good idea to try and sleep with men to figure this out, even though she’s been a lesbian for years and seems to have had no problem with that previously. It never comes across as her trying to figure out if she’s gay or not, just WHY she’s a lesbian. I don’t think you can answer WHY you’re straight or gay, so this seems a sort of pseudo intellectual contrivance to have some sort of premise for this movie, or there’s no story.

So she gets into bed with these guys she knows or meets who know she’s a lesbian but she can’t go through with it, every time freaking out and leaving even though those guys really want her. Huh? She’s even decides to cheat on her Romy with an attitude like, well, that’s what we do. But when Romy asks her, she says no, because she’s only been in bed with men, she hasn’t had sex with them even if it was her intent originally.

She also tries to get answers from her parents, which got a bit weird at times. They seem to take her being a lesbian in stride, but are kind of flaky about her neurotic ramblings about everything. Her father asks her what lesbians do in bed, and she gets very specific about how she becomes her inner man who wants to thrust her throbbing penis into the open female. Squick on talking to the father so explicitly.

She grills her partner about what it was like for her to suck men’s balls before she got into women, which makes her partner uncomfortable. And they nonchalantly decide to split up like they never did give a shit about each other. I didn’t feel any connection between them anyway, so no big shock.

Other story lines: a straight copy writer writes a series of articles with a lot of intellectual mind fuck about Freud and how being a lesbian is like narcissism, in that a woman who loves a woman is like loving herself. This writer hooks up with a lesbian and sleeps with her to get fodder for her articles. What’s weird is that the lesbian who sleeps with her got pissed at that article, calling it rubbish. And when the lesbian confides that she fantasizes about a man sometimes sexually, this article writer brings her boyfriend to have a threesome. He nonchalantly, like he’s doing this lesbian a favor says he doesn’t mind just watching if that would make her feel more comfortable.

Like just totally clueless characters all around in this story.

I don’t know, if you can get it for free from the library, which I’m glad I did, it might be worth watching. I wasn’t bored with it, it just didn’t make too much sense. I don’t know if the writer/director is a lesbian herself, but she did a sorry job of portraying lesbians in a good light with this film. Not that it’s her job to do so and not that it isn’t a realistic portrayal, it might be, I don’t know. The lesbians that I actually know are all in long term, loving, committed relationships, so that’s my personal experience of the lesbian world. It seemed though she went out of her way to make all the lesbians in this movie look bad, which is kind of sad.

My sister told me that it’s a running joke amongst lesbians that there are no good films about lesbians. That they are either too stereotypical or show the worst of them. I’m starting to realize what she means.

Heat level: 1- minor sexual scenarios… no nudity

Grade: C-


Cathy in AK said...

The part about talking to dad about what lesbians do in bed got me right there. Ew! As far as I knew, my dad figured I had two virgin births until the day he died, which is fine by me :P There are just some things we don't discuss with parents, IMO.

LVLM(Leah) said...

Yeah, exactly, although I do know some people with that kind of relationship with their parents. Not me. heh.

This was a weird film all around. Disappointing.

However, I just watched a real gem. A+. Will review it in next few days. Wish they were all like that.