Indie film retro-review marathon: It’s in the Water, Out at the Wedding (US)

Watched three lesbian movies today. Without further ado, let’s go to the first one.

In the Water – The story:

Pretty Alexandra is the only child of wealthy parents in a small southern town. Like a proper southern wife pre-recession times,  she fills her time with meetings with the other housewife socialites, volunteers at the local hospice for AIDS survivors, and is married to a big gorilla of a man who gives her a hefty allowance, bank account and a really, cool silver convertible.

Things start rolling when this same hospice becomes the subject of scrutiny and opposition from the conservative, intolerant town, made more so by the fact that a drunken gay man has spread a rumor that it’s the town water that makes people gay. The rumor prompts the town to start buying bottled water, demand that the water be tested, and close down the local hospice. As the small town becomes polarized, Alexandra is beginning to think how bigoted and homophobic her town really is. As family and friends insist she abandon her cause, she wholeheartedly embraces it, and quits the women’s league to prove her point. She strikes a friendship with one of the nurses, who just happens to be a childhood bestfriend of hers, and as the controversy intensifies, so do their friendship, especially when the bestfriend comes out to her and tell her she’s gay. When she gets caught kissing her bestfriend, in the closet (how apt), one of her friends catches her, and this sets off a string of events: her husband leaves her, he closes all but her personal savings account and gets her convertible back. But she remains adamant in her convinctions and the town has no choice but to accept her.

Two words: Semi-bad movie.

Explanation: When you’re gay, and you’re desperate for representation, you’ll watch anything. And I mean anything.

First off, this “it’s-in-the-water” premise is totally over-the-top and doesn’t really fly with me (it flew by me, yes), mostly because the underlying satirical and ironic tone isn’t as sustained as that of “But I’m a Cheerleader” and other social satires about lesbians. Also, this is I think early 90s, so the fashion is awful, lots of teased hair, high-waist jeans that taper down and hug the ankles, vests and other horrid clothing.

However, this film has a bit of charm  – it gets points for referencing all the classic lesbian films in one scene (as part of research), which I applaud, since I did the same thing (except mine was the artsy indie ones, like Patricia Rozema’s “When Night is Falling” – a personal favorite). It also gets points for casting attrative women to act as lesbians –  really just to distract us from the acting. Some of the dialogue is clunky,the acting is wooden, but there are really laugh-out-loud unintentionally funny lines:

Alexandra: I want to kiss you.

Bestfriend: You won’t like it. (Nyahahahaha! how cheesy is this?!?)

Stab me now. Stab me now. I have only myself to blame.

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