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  Home > R/NR Erotica > Television Series > If These Walls Could Talk 02  

If These Walls Could Talk 02 ____________________________________
If These Walls Could Talk 02
I.D. 9170 & dvd_0131, Unrated
2000, 96 min.
HBO Home Video
Directed by Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge & Anne Heche


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5-Star Film! 

Marian Seldes, Vanessa Redgrave, Michelle Williams, Chloe Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Ellen DeGeneres & Kathy Najimy.

[CC] Three vignettes tracing 30 years of relationships.

"1961" - The house is occupied by an older lesbian couple, of fifty years, both were school teachers. When Abby (Marian Seldes) suffers a stroke and is hospitalized, her lifelong companion Edith (Vanessa Redgrave) must deal with the delicate ambiguity their relationship places her in. Refused after-hour visiting privileges and overlooked by the nurses with news of the woman's death, Edith is ultimately denied a final viewing and a last chance to say goodbye, all because she is "not family."

She must now face distant relatives who are too blind to acknowledge the relationship she has treasured for so many years with their deceased aunt. At a moment when she desperately wants to hold onto the past, Edith is forced to erase all evidence of their relationship.

"1972" - The house is now home to Linda (Michelle Williams), a gay feminist, along with her 3 college friends. When they arrive one afternoon at their weekly women's group meeting on campus, they find they have been ousted from the collective for wanting to promote an all-female dance. It seems their lesbian agenda is getting in the way of the real issue at hand: feminism. Stopping on the way home at the only lesbian bar in the area, the girls are confronted with a very butch scene and notice Amy (Chloe Sevigny), who is wearing a masculine suit and tie. Linda is intrigued by Amy, much to the chagrin of her roommates, who equate butch lesbians with men and believe they flaunt their masculinity because they're ashamed of being women. Their budding relationship becomes a source of animosity among the four friends, putting Linda in awkward social situations and causing an uneasiness for everyone when her new lover is around.

However, Linda is unable to comprehend Amy's butch style. Nor does she understand that by being butch, Amy is being true to herself. Linda discovers that she and her friends have been so focused on being oppressed by men that they don't see the hypocrisy of their reasoning. Wanting to be treated as equals, both as lesbians and women, but yet they have trouble accepting alternative lifestyles practiced by their own sisters.

"2000" - The new century finds the house occupied by a loving, committed thirty-something lesbian couple. All Fran (Sharon Stone) and Kal (Ellen DeGeneres) want in the world is to raise a baby together. After plans fall through to have their gay male friends father the child, Fran and Kal turn to sperm banks. Their search for the perfect father becomes a crazy journey through the internet, offering them a wide selection of donors, categorized by ethnicity, occupation, religion, physical attributes, etc. Fran discovers she's ovulating and, after finally selecting a donor, Kal speeds to the sperm bank to pick up "the baby." As luck would have it, Fran inadvertently melts the turkey baster in an attempt to sterilize it ... the first of repeated and futile attempts to get pregnant. Finally, they decide to let a doctor (Kathy Najimy) handle the insemination procedure. Despite the frustration and set-backs, Kal and Fran know how lucky they are to have each other. They share the hope that when their baby grows up, it won't face discrimination in a world oriented to mom and dad, not mom and mom.

DVD Features
Playable in Region 1 only (U.S. & Canada), chapter index, interactive menus, multiple languages/subtitles (English, French & Spanish), cast biographies.

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HBO does some really great productions. Their production quality is almost like that of a Hollywood feature, but being an independent channel they are not constrained by the PC requirements of more "mainstream" companies. There are 3 short films rolled into one tape here. The first, starring Vanessa Redgrave, is extremely powerful and unsettling. This very sad (and I mean *very* sad) piece is not the happiest way to start the movie, but it is so well done and honest. It is literally gut-wrenching to watch. And, even more sadly, in many ways things have not changed much since the time depicted in this piece.

After the 1st piece, things move on to a much more upbeat note. The 2nd scene with Chloe is really fun, and has the hottest love scene in the tape.

The final scene with Ellen & Sharon Stone is also very fun, and yes, there is a rather nice love scene between the two of them - you don't want to miss this!

Overall, this is a very high-quality production, with interesting stories and characters and a few very-nice love scenes. You can keep this one out in the livingroom with the "regular" tapes too. :)

Anyone who's read my reviews knows that I love the short film anthology style. A skilled filmmaker can fit a lot into even such a compact format. Generally, I only highlight the stories that make the biggest impression on me, but this time I felt obligated to give each of the three tales some individual consideration.

Critic: All three of these shorts are written with a great deal of attention to the characters themselves. It's a peek at some aspects of lesbian life that often go overlooked in many other portrayals, and as such it carries a depth unexpected for such an abbreviated format.

The first story takes place in 1961, a time when bigotry was openly rampant in many forms. Oddly, Edith's burden doesn't come from being viewed with contempt or hatred by society, her curse is just the opposite: not being seen at all. In a time of taboos, her relationship with Abby is treated as non-existent, overlooked by some, dismissed by others. The tale is both touching and somber, and through it Vanessa Redgrave gives a noteworthy performance, as her character faces this invisibility with strength and quiet dignity.

By 1972, things had become a lot more liberal. The closets had begun to open, and society could no longer just ignore the new gender and sexuality roles that were emerging. Again, the second story's conflict is unusual, as the contempt doesn't originate from the expected source,--so-called "normal" conservative society--but from closer to home, as the roles of lesbianism, feminism, and gender identity collide and diverge. The film is a novel twist on the idea of social mores and what is accepted as "normal". It shows several sides of a complicated issue while maintaining a clever and sexy style which makes it thought provoking without being heavy-handed.

Moving forward to the present, Ellen Degeneres changes the mood with a light-hearted story about life and lifestyles. As times change, so too does the long accepted definition of the word "family". Ellen's signature brand of humor is vividly apparent in this short, and while this does give it some of the less flattering similarities to a sit-com, it still doesn't fall short in terms of quality.

Rating: A

Lover: The portrayal of Edith and Abby as a couple is very sweet, and the movie creates a charming depiction of a relationship deepened and strengthened by the passage of time. In addition, Edith's depth of emotion for her mate is moving, and the loss feels very real. Though the movie doesn't spend a great deal of time on their life together, it does a fine job of bringing it out with depth and sincerity.

In the second film, Linda's desire to be accepted by her friends is challenged by her growing love for Amy. So too does Amy's independent spirit and her need to be true to herself put a strain on their developing romance. However, their disparate social backgrounds can't prevent the chemistry between them, and what results is a very unconventional retelling of the classic "Romeo and Juliet" story, both provocative and romantic.

Finally, Ellen and Sharon seem to enjoy their roles as they play a committed lesbian couple, complete with all of the personality quirks and idiosyncracies that make any relationship unique and delightful. Though the tone is a lot less serious than in the other films, the portrayal doesn't come off as a caricature or gag. It's the lighter side of love: sweet, funny, and a pleasure to watch.

Rating: A

Voyeur: The first story... well you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a movie about the elderly isn't exactly prime material, so we can just skip this one.

College girls, now that's more my flavor. The second story definitely hits a lot closer to the mark. Chloe Sevigny looks great, and frankly I actually like the "necktie and trousers" look on her. She pulls it off well, and still looks very hot in an offbeat way, in my opinion. The love scene builds up well and is very sensuous, and worth seeing. It would be nice if there was more of it, but hey that's always the case.

The third story hits somewhere in between. Ellen Degeneres has not been considered by most to be particularly glamorous, and Sharon Stone is a little past her "Basic Instinct" days. However, their love scene has a lot of playful sensuality and is very well done, so I enjoyed it just the same.

Rating: B+

This is a great movie. The love scene in the second story is excellent! The kissing is amazing and both girls seem to be REALLY into it. There is so much passion in that scene. The girls devour each other. The editing and acting is wonderful. I only wish they went further with the love scene, but I guess it isn't that kind of a movie. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest scenes in a mainstream movie ever, and well worth watching.

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