Film biographies of queer people seem to be all the rage as the success of films such as Bohemian Rhapsody attest to. 2019 sees the lives of Elton John, Robert Mapplethorpe, Queen Anne of England, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Wolfe, to name a few, coming to the Big Screen in all their spectacular glory.
Conversion therapy has been in the news a lot and it has already been dealt with in films such as The Miseducation of Cameron Post in 2018. Boy Erased is a heartfelt portrait of a teen’s struggle with his sexuality. Lucas Hedges shines alongside Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe in this harrowing real-life tale of a gay teen Jared whose Southern Baptist parents send him to conversion therapy. Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Boy Erased is the true story of one young man’s struggle to find himself while being forced to question every aspect of his identity.
Release Date February 2019
Robert Mapplethorpe’s portraits, images of calla lilies, and chronicles of New York City’s underground BDSM scene remain touchstones of 20th-century photography even now, nearly three decades after his death from complications of HIV/AIDS in 1989. Mapplethorpe revisits the photographer’s legacy, beginning at the moment just before he takes up residence in the Chelsea Hotel with Patti Smith. There, Mapplethorpe begins to amass a portfolio of images as well as explore his formerly suppressed attraction to men. But Mapplethorpe’s relentless ambition, as he says in one early scene, “I can’t just be Mapplethorpe the photographer,” fancying himself a “modern Michelangelo”, threatens to tear apart the relationships he cherishes the most. From the early ’70s until his untimely death at age 42, the film explores the intersection of his art and his sexuality, his struggle for mainstream recognition, and, looming above it all, the spectre of the emerging AIDS crisis. Starring Matt Smith and Marianne Rendón, the biopic offers a nuanced portrait of an artist at the height of his craft and of the self-destructive impulses that threaten to undermine it all.
Released date: March 2019
Rocketman, the forthcoming epic biographical musical fantasy about Elton John’s breakthrough years, will not be shying away from the superstar’s sexuality. The film’s star, actor Taron Egerton, opened up about shooting his first-ever sex scene for the movie. “I really threw myself into it, I filmed my first sex scene for this film,” said Taron. “I do feel the movie we shot is absolutely a celebration of everything that Elton John is and part of that is his sexuality. I actually think the gay community will be quite surprised by quite how gay it feels. I loved every second if it.”
“Everyone thinks it’s a bio-pic. It isn’t. It’s a fantasy musical so it’s actually his songs used to express important beats in his life at emotional moments. He’s not the only character that sings. It’s going to be fun,” he continued. Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jamie Bell co-star in Rocketman, as John Reid (Elton’s former manager and love), Sheila Eileen (Elton’s mother) and Bernie Taupin (Elton’s frequent collaborator) respectively. The film is due to be released in May 2019.
Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way. A love triangle that gets really messy and bitchy. An 18th Century Sapphic All About Eve
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos of The Lobster fame.
The Happy Prince
In a cheap Parisian hotel, Oscar Wilde lies on his deathbed and recalls his past with wit and irony. Was he once the most famous man in London? He reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long-suffering wife, the ensuing reprisal of his love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and the devotion of Robbie Ross, who tried and failed to save him from himself. From Dieppe to Naples to Paris, Oscar is a penniless vagabond, shunned by his old acquaintances, but still revered by a strange group of outlaws to whom he tells the old stories – his incomparable talent still sharp. Rupert Everett writes, directs and acts as Oscar Wilde
Vita and Virginia
Socialite Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf run in different circles in 1920s London. When the two cross paths, the magnetic Vita decides the beguiling, stubborn and gifted Virginia will be her next conquest, no matter the cost. Vita and Virginia forge an unconventional affair, set against the backdrop of their own strikingly contemporary marriages; an affair that inspires one of Virginia’s most iconic novels, Orlando. Their passionate romance and friendship overcome all social boundaries, and neither will ever be the same without the other.