The heroes of Can You Ever Forgive Me? are lonely and sad, trying to grapple with the fact that they’ve achieved far less with their lives than intended. I am twenty four, I shouldn’t be able to relate in the way I do. The title is not just a reference to a particularly witty bon mot Melissa McCarthy’s forger, Lee Israel, puts into the mouth of Dorothy Parker — it’s also a question I ask of a younger version of me late at night, for letting their prodigious (and possibly imagined) potential go to waste.
Vice ends on a scene where we flash back to a focus group earlier seen determining that ‘climate change’ were a less credible threat than ‘global warming’. In it a liberal and a conservative start getting into an argument over the film’s credibility as a factual document. Off to the side, a young woman already painted as vapid, turns to the person next to her and comments that she can’t wait to see the the next Fast and Furious joint.
When watching stories about queers set before the invention of the horseless carriage; I prefer them to be unsubtle. Hence, Colette gets immeasurably more satisfying once its leads’ decide to cancel monogamy and just start fucking everyone. Keira Knightly plays the young bisexual wife of Dominic West’s publishing magnate: the man who inducts her into Parisian high society, cheats on her, and repeatedly steals credit for her work.
About halfway through my screening of Stan and Ollie, someone sitting behind me said — in reference to the antics of the leads’ respective wives — ‘These bloody women.’ A strange reaction to have, I thought, given that they’re the best part of the film. I mean, the tale of Laurel and Hardy’s farewell tour of the UK is mostly pleasant enough, but lacks definition without a meaningful external lens through which to view them. Up until that point you’re just watching two talented actors do a perfectly serviceable impression of two others.
When I was a kid my dad’s favourite album was Queen: Greatest Hits. In our living room we had a fancy hi-fi which could hold 3 CDs in it at once. Well, two, considering the top spot was reserved for that record. My older brother had cassettes of pop music which he played on a small tinny sounding thing in his bedroom. In family spaces it was basically either Queen, or church music. I listened to a lot of Queen — but only their greatest hits.
So, the first time we see Marx and Engels meet in The Young Karl Marx, Raoul Peck has to two of them sitting at far ends of this elaborate drawing room. Marx is trying to demand payment for his last two essays from his publisher, Engels is arrived to the man’s house as his patrician guest. The publisher blusters between the two of them trying to keep face with a friend while dismissing his employee. The two seated scholars don’t pay him all that much attention. They’ve only eyes for each other.
I suppose we all have our gets. It don’t really matter how saccharine or whitewashy or manipulative queer historical fiction gets, I will always be onboard.