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Lesbian Movie Reviews: Died / Recanted / Unhappy/ Came out – The Midwife’s Tale

Friday, July 3, 2015 - 08:00

Technically, it's Friday already, so let's get the Friday review blog up so I won't forget all about in the chaos of finding Westercon registration in the morning. (The Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center covers 33 acres, as pointed out by the nice man in the golf cart who delivered me from registration to my building. I hope it will be easier to navigate by daylight than it seemed at midnight.) On to the review!

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I’m re-posting (sometimes in expanded form) a series of reviews of lesbian-themed movies that I originally drew up in answer to a request for recommendations of "good movies involving lesbian romances that don't end up with the protagonists deeply unhappy, dead, or both." To this set of criteria I’ve added the question, “Is the story primarily about coming out?” This set of index questions will necessarily involve some spoilers, but since I'm not reviewing any current releases, I think the statute of limitations has expired.

Many of these items are not currently in print. I'll link each to their entry for reference. But for those currently available, Wolfe Video is the go-to distributor for lgbt movies.

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The Midwife's Tale (1995) A costume-romance set up with a framing story of a lesbian mother telling her daughter a bedtime story about a "medieval knightess". It is absolutely delightful as pure fantasy entertainment. The story-in-a-story is, unfortunately, riddled with clichés common to medievaloid fiction, such as the church persecuting the local wisewoman/midwife. But we have the unhappily pregnant lady of the manor falling in love with the midwife's apprentice, followed by drama and imprisonments in towers and damsels in distress and an eventual daring rescue. There is a happy ending at both levels of the story and no lesbians die. The story-in-a-story is, in effect, a coming-out story but the framing one isn't. Alas, the movie experience suffers a bit from being a very low budget film-school project.

Amusingly, one of the early showings of this movie was at the SF Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on one of those rare occasions when I made it over to the City to catch some of the sessions. So I had a chance to squee at the creator about how much I loved it.