Gay cinema has always given me a mixed bag of emotions throughout my life. As a young closeted gayling, I searched with vigor to find decent films that made me optimistic for a loving relationship someday. Always to no avail. Even to this day, LGBTQ+ men get thrown what we hope to be a timeless tale of happy romance, but never in the upbeat way. Yes, there are a good deal of gay movies out there with happy endings, but the majority of them end up being campy and over-sexualized. When it comes to high-budget gay male romance (Brokeback Mountain, Holding the Man, etc.), the main characters tend to always have internal struggles with being a homosexual, end up marrying a woman, or die of AIDS (outside of period pieces).
Films like Weekend, Beautiful Thing, and All Over the Guy have been made. They’re lovely and tell the romance in very realistic way. I will give them that, and I enjoyed them.
But for god’s sake, where is the quirky, light-hearted rom-com with Ryan Gosling and Idris Elba?! Where they are comfortable with themselves, cute and fun with interaction, and not some lame excuse for an inner struggle over their sexuality.
With Call me By Your Name, I have never been more infuriated with a film’s ending in my life than I was with this film. It tends to be how high-budget gay films end. Spoiler alert: it’s sad.
In the book, the characters part ways and eventually reconcile years later. They explain what their summer of Italian love meant to them each. In the movie, Oliver calls up Elio’s family a year later and is like “Yo dude I’m marrying a woman rn. Hyd??” The final scene is Elio literally just crying.
For a movie people have misguided ravings of, the possible conclusion from the ending (not only changed into a unnecessarily depressing one) drives into young LGBTQA men that we can only have a happy ending if we marry a woman.
Maybe I’m just a jaded queer who’s been left for a woman way too many times, but I would kill to see a gay equivalent of Sleepless in Seattle or French Kiss, where the premise revolves around love, honest romance, and not about those I identify with dying and/or crying alone.