Torch Song Trilogy (1988)

It’s consistently shocking to me how underappreciated this movie continues to be. I first saw it on television in the 90s when I was a very confused and anxious adolescent struggling with my sexuality and it helped me put a few things in perspective. It also helped me realize I needed to get to the city if I was going to survive. If you happen to read this and watch it afterwards please let me know in the comments below what you thought – I’ve always wanted to discuss this one with other movie people.

Pop Culture Thoughts

“Torch Song Trilogy” is the first gay-themed movie I ever saw, and for a scared twelve-year-old boy living in a small town wrestling with a secret, it was both life-affirming and terrifying. I was terrified because the characters’ lives were all upended because of their homosexuality, but also found catharsis in it, because they were at least visible and fiercely alive. As an adult revisiting it over twenty years later, I was impressed by how well the movie has aged, but also by its extraordinary writing and acting. Star-screenwriter Harvey Fierstein (adapting from his own off-Broadway play) has an electrifying screen presence, which is great since he’s in just about every scene in the movie, and he’s surrounded by a first-rate supporting cast that work minor miracles on what could have been throwaway roles in the hands of lesser actors. Anne Bancroft tears into her role as Fierstein’s overbearing mother…

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4 comments

  1. I can see why Torch Song Trilogy meant so much to you. It’s a wonderful story! Too bad Estelle Getty could not reprise her stage triumph. Anyhow, Making Love (1982) was probably the first gay-themed movie that I watched. From the perspective of a young heterosexual man, I thought Making Love was interesting and had its heart in the right place. I was surprised how matter-the-fact the movie was about homosexuality. BTW, my all-time gay-themed movie is the 2005 Canadian movie C.R.A.Z.Y. Have you seen it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Making Love! Thanks for reminding me of that one, I spent some time looking for it a few years back but all the copies I could find were soooo expensive I kinda gave up. I’ll go take a look and see if I can find it now – same with C.R.A.Z.Y., somehow that’s on my why-havent-i-seen-this-yet list… and get this… I’m French-Canadian! I grew up in Quebec, I remember when it was playing in theaters just a few streets away and I was always too lazy haha I got some digging to do this morning, thanks man! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. C.R.A.Z.Y. is brilliant! Shame on you! 😉

        Other favorites: Personal Best (1982), John Sayles’s Lianna (1983), Desert Hearts (1985) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). I find it remarkable that there were so many great LGBT movies in an era known for its homophobia.

        BTW, YouTube has a decent copy of Making Love (1982):

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I havent seen any of those but im def hunting for them now, thanks 🙂 and thx re: making love, never would even have thought to look on youtube 🙂 so weird to
        me how movies that were super obscure in the 90s and now on youtube in their entirety, like no big deal lol

        Liked by 1 person

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