Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Ashley - an Emo LGBT teen fantasy

Greetings, commies!

The Pride month is over, so I felt compelled to post at least one thematic review. Today's selection is Ashley. The blurbs are usually misleading. Here is the summary of the plot: A teenage girl, disconnected from her estranged mother, resorts to cutting herself. An online relationship with an older woman may be the only way she accepts the solitude of suburbia.

My thoughts:

As you can imagine, most LGBT youth themed films follow the same trajectory, with an occasional red herring thrown in. The angelically beautiful, tormented protagonist, who just soaks in the abuse that falls from her from every angle. An oblivious school counselor, an abusive mom, a sexual predator dad, bigoted, sadistic classmates and even a sticky autistic male admirer. She never pushes back. Instead, her rage is internalized, as she burns and cuts herself. 

One thing I noticed is that in these movies, the lesbians are portrayed as these traditionally beautiful, feminine, compassionate, understanding, creative, enlightened creatures. I am well aware that human beings, gay or straight, come in all shapes and sizes. But the lesbians in this particular film are like a Penthouse fantasy. Which makes me wonder if Ashley's encounter with Candice was a figment of her imagination. Perhaps, that is how she envisions a perfect lover/companion/advocate. This is how straight men envision lesbians. The dichotomy of straight people being oblivious, clueless, insensitive, ruthless and gay people being sensitive, intuitive, enlightened doesn't behoove the genre or the LGBT movement. I would love to see more nuanced characters. Ashley would have been more interesting and sympathetic if she was not depicted as this meek martyr. 

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