Torch Song Trilogy - 1988 (US)
This is an old movie that I had the opportunity to watch many times during my life. It’s kind of a step stone for camp culture so I watched it many times during the years with different people.
The story has its place is the 80s where the gay movement was still young, there was no marriage and no visibility. The gay life was something that was happening at night in hidden part of the city.
The main character is a drag queen and he comes from a Jewish family where he’s considered poor and living a terrible life.
His life is pretty decent actually and he seems pretty happy with it.
The movie is the story of many years of his life passing through love relationships, parenting a foster child, struggling for the love of his apparently cold steel mother.
When I watch the movie I can identify with the main character and his struggle to be in a relationship: it was very similar for me too and it’s very interesting how the writers are dealing with this.
What I like about this movie is the type of awareness that in the 80s was able to provide: drag queen’s life, casual sex, relationship, grief for the loss of the beloved ones, difficulty of communication between generations that keeps far away the two different visions of life between parents and offspring.
The movie is also full of camp humor that makes everything, even the most difficult part of the plot, hilarious and lighter.
Another very good moment is the one when mom and son are confronting each other in their mutual not allowing the other to explain or help. It’s so well-done by the gay attitude of the 80s of forcing others to accept one as a gay man no matter what and the “homophobic” part on pretending that this “argument” is just a little side note. I must say that Harvey Fierstein did a great job on displaying this on both sides of the “war”… it’s a very good point and I hope this made a lot of gay man question their approach on this matter.
The movie flows very well between the different parts of the action and the different moments of the life of Arnold, the main character.
One thing that I love of this movie is that it shows you that you can use sarcasm and laugh in many situations of your life., the hardest ones and the lighter ones. Also it’s another movie that tells you: “ be yourself!”, and this is always very good to know and refresh.
To be a movie out in the 80s, Torch Song Trilogy, talks about bisexuality and open couples. It’s very good that a movie at that time was able to show and talk about this side of the sex life of people. The context is borderline gay, but the point it makes is pretty good, even if in the end it’s always a big funny mess ;)
Another very good point is an early talk about adoption by homosexual couples: a very interesting argument for the 80s … that’s for sure!
In the end this story shows how the life of gay men is not too different from the one of everyone else: very similar struggles and emotions in a lack of rights environment.
Anne Bancroft plays the difficult role of Arnold’s mother and she is really amazing in that part. She is a believable jewish mother who fights with all herself against the “poor life” of his son trying to deal with her strong vision of what is right in life and the love for her son. The casting for her role find an amazing actress that gives life to an amazing character. Wow!
Thank you Harvey Fierstein for giving us a so nice story.
My vote: 4.5/5