2021 Valentine’s Day Viewing Guide
Whether you are spending Valentine’s Day with your partner or alone with a big box of chocolates …the must-have accoutrement for this holiday is the romance film. From rom-coms to tragic love stories, TIGLFF Director of Programming, Derek Horne, recommends the following ten newly available romance movies.
…And remember to spread the love by sharing positive reviews of the films online:
If you are in a romantic mood…
Two of Us
Our Closing night film from last year’s TIGLFF which also won our Jury Prize is opening on VOD this weekend. In addition to being the official Oscar submission from France for the 2021 Academy Awards, it was just announced as a Golden Globe-nominee in the category of Best Foreign Film. It’s truly a love story for the ages as anyone can relate to a devoted partner trying to surmount physical obstacles to reach the person they love. The two French actresses playing Nina and Madeleine are très magnifique. Cheer on the film and show your support by renting it online and giving it a good review. Rent on Amazon here.
If you’re in a sympathetic mood…
Colin Firth (A Single Man) and Stanley Tucci (Big Night) play a gay couple who are travelling across England in their old RV to visit friends and family one last time after one of the men is diagnosed with dementia. Longtime friends in real-life, these two actors convincingly portray a deep emotional bond in this moving drama about enduring love. This film is currently playing in local theaters including the AMC Sundial in St. Pete and Cinébistro in Hyde Park. It will be available online starting February 16. More info at: https://www.supernovamovie.com/watch-at-home/
If you’re in a rebellious mood…
The World to Come
Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) and Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) star in this 1850’s period piece about a secret affair between two married women who live in the rural countryside of New York. After winning the Queer Lion award at the Venice Film Festival, the film played at the Sundance Film Festival this week. It is a breathtakingly beautiful and poetic movie with stunning performances by the two lead actresses. After a somber opening, the film brightens up when the two women meet and it escalates into a forbidden romance. This film opens in theaters on Friday, February 12 (including the AMC Sundial in St. Pete and Cinébistro in Hyde Park) and then will be available online starting March 2. More info at: https://bleeckerstreetmedia.com/the-world-to-come
If you’re in an exploratory mood…
Another 19th century lesbian love story, but this one is set on the Dorset Coast of England and imagines a passionate romance between British paleontologist Mary Anning (played by Kate Winslet) and geologist Charlotte Murchison (played by Saoirse Ronan). Although there is no historical proof of their love affair any more than there is proof that Mary Anning inspired the tongue-twister “She sells seashells by the seashore,” this film makes a hopeful statement on women who chose to remain free from the societal restrictions (and the tight corsets) of the Victorian era. The film is directed by Francis Lee, whose previous film God’s Own Country portrayed a romance between two men set in the Yorkshire Moors of England and won him the directing award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. His new film Ammonite premiered at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival and is now available to watch online. Rent on Amazon here:
If you’re in a cultural mood…
Breaking Fast –
An audience favorite from last year’s TIGLFF, this Ramadan Rom-Com tells the story of a gay Muslim man who meets an All-American white guy. Over a series of nightly Iftars (the traditional evening meals eaten by Muslims during Ramadan) the two men discover they have more in common than meets the eye. Breaking Fast was just released online last month. Rent on Amazon here.
If you enjoyed Breaking Fast you can support them on IMDB by rating the film, and writing a positive comment! And give a thumbs-up on Google, and YouTube!
If you’re in a polyamorous mood…
Also from last year’s TIGLFF, First Blush is about a woman’s bisexual awakening when she and her husband add another woman to their relationship. Refreshingly written and acted, this humorously humanistic film takes us from the euphoric highs of their first threesome to the dejected lows of their conscious un-throupling to a balance in between. First Blush was just released online this month. Rent on Amazon here:
If you’re in a celebratory mood…
The winner of TIGLFF’s Audience Award last October, is a love letter to PFLAG Moms, as two-time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver portrays a conservative church choir director who inherits her gay son’s drag club. She has an epiphany, falls in love with her new-found community, and even has a little romance of her own. This feel-good, music-filled comedy is available to rent on Amazon or stream for free with a free trial subscription to Starz here.
If you’re in an indecisive mood…
Originally titled Sell By, this film was the Opening Night film of TIGLFF 2019 and is now available to watch online. Almost Love is a playful ensemble rom-com following a group of friends in New York City as they pursue new loves and try to salvage old relationships. Like a box of chocolates, the sheer variety of amusing situations, humorous vignettes and charming characters should satisfy your craving for some sugar-coated romance. It’s a bit like the queer version of Love Actually, except the gay couple are the central characters in the story instead of on the periphery. View this with a Netflix subscription or rent on Amazon here.
If you’re in a cerebral mood…
James Sweeney’s sapiosexual love story Straight Up which screened at TIGLFF in 2019 and was released on Netflix last Summer, was just nominated last week for Best First Screenplay in the Independent Spirit Awards. Filled to the brim with witty dialogue, the story revolves around a gay man and straight women who try to forge a romantic relationship out of platonic love, no sex, and lots of verbal word play. View this was a Netflix subscription or rent on Amazon here
If you’re in a kinky mood…
Yes, it’s an episodic series, but each episode is only 15 minutes long, so with seven episodes in the first season it is literally like one feature-length film. The lovably sexy Zoe Levin and the adorably irresistible Brendan Scannell star in this comically kinky and quirky series about a psychology student turned dominatrix Tiff (a.k.a. Mistress May) and her gay assistant Peter who is an aspiring stand-up comedian. Perverse and poignant at the same time, the title is a double-entendre that refers to their line of work as well as their evolving friendship. The second season was just released last month and makes for an addictive binge-fest. Watch this series on Netflix here