A Double Feature Recommendation

Recently, I’ve come to realize that I don’t support enough of the wonderful LGBTQ+ movies that I am fortunate enough to  have seen. Therefore, I am going to promise, right here and now, to make more of an effort to change that on this website. I want to do my part in making sure that everyone’s stories be seen, heard and talked about. So today, I will recommending a double feature of  The Pass (2016) and Moonlight (2016). 

I’ve seen both these movies recently (Moonlight was a rewatch), and I was surprised at how much they complimented and reminded me of each other. While they are of different cinematic qualities and represent different complexities of homosexual identity in a highly masculine world, I feel that they share a few things in common. Not only do the stories and talent involved hail from theatrical origins, but each film exhibits heart wrenching romances that evolve over three different time periods.

Before we go any further, I want to note that this double feature recommendation is different from the usual, because these two films both warrant the viewer to marinate on the subject matter once the credits roll. I advise you to take a couple hours in between each film, so that you may fully digest and recover from the previous emotional journey before beginning another one. Although you will be (more than likely) sobbing like a baby by the end of the day, I can guarantee you that it will be a day well spent. I hope you check them out.

The Pass (2016)

Image courtesy of SXSW Film Festival: Russell Tovey and Arinze Kene as Jason and Ade in British play turned movie, The Pass (2016).

4.3/5| Drama| Romance| 1hr 28m

Director: Ben A. Williams
Screenplay: John Donnelly
Cinematography: Chris O’Driscoll

The Pass tells the story of Jason (Russell Tovey), a highly ambitious British soccer player who lets his views on society get in the way of true love between him and his childhood teammate/ best friend, Ade (Arinze Kene).  Adapted from John Donnelly’s critically acclaimed play of the same name, The Pass takes place in three different hotel rooms over the course of ten years and features a knockout performance from Russell Tovey (who many of us recognize HBO’s Looking). This film really stood out to me because it doesn’t exactly end the way you expect it to, but ends perfectly nonetheless. I always admire films that aren’t afraid to steer away from bittersweet endings because that’s what life is all about. With a simple, yet tight three act structure and minimal background shenanigans, The Pass is able to fully explore the claustrophobia and pressure cooker longing of a man at the mercy of his profession and his role in society. You can watch this film right now on Netflix.

Moonlight (2016)

Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders as the teenagers Kevin and Chiron in <i>Moonlight</i>
Image courtesy of A24: Jharrel Jerome and Ashton Sanders as the teenagers Kevin and Chiron in one of my favorite films, Moonlight (2016).

5/5| Drama| Romance| 1hr 55m

Director: Barry Jenkins
Screenplay: Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Cinematography: James Laxton

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2017. However, you may not be entirely aware that this beautiful film is based on the Tarell Alvin McCraney’s critically acclaimed play, In Moonlight, Black Boys Look Blue (a name that perfectly sums up the complexity and copious double entendres embedded in the work’s themes). Moonlight, which is a more accessible interpretation of McCraney’s theatrical work, tells the story of Chiron, a young black boy living in a world that is seemingly against him. Taking place over three different time periods, we watch as Chiron turns into “Black,” after years of dealing with an abusive home life with his drug addicted mother, finding a father figure in the local drug dealer, and learning about his homosexuality through his relationship with his childhood friend Kevin. I simply adore this movie for so many reasons, and I am always looking for an excuse to watch it again. You can find it right now on multiple streaming sites, specifically Amazon Prime.

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