This week saw the second outing of the Forum’s Film Club. Since joining the Forum committee last year, I’ve been keen to organise film trips, partly because I love going to the cinema and don’t get to do enough of it, and partly because it’s a good low-key way to come to an LGBT event – potentially less intimidating than a pub night because most of the evening is spent not talking.
(I’m also planning a virtual movie night, where we all watch the same film at the same time but at home, and discuss it live on Facebook at the same time. Ideal for people who find it hard to get out to events but still want to be sociable.)
Having been to see Thor: Ragnarok in December (not technically an LGBT film, but enormous amounts of fun) we followed it up with a very different science fiction/fantasy film: Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins as Elisa, the voiceless woman who falls in love with a river god/fish creature (Doug Jones) kidnapped for scientific research by the terrifying Michael Shannon.
Nine of us met at the Kingston Odeon – staff were very patient with us trying to make sure we all sat near each other while all paying separately, some of us with Meerket or Groupon vouchers. Everyone seemed to enjoy the film, which was just as strange and beautiful as I’d been told it was. Set in 1962, it doesn’t shy away from representing the attitudes of the time, including the racism faced by Octavia Spencer’s character (Elisa’s friend and co-worker) and the heartbreaking attempts of Elisa’s best friend (Richard Jenkins) to find love in a homophobic America. The central story, of the relationship between Elisa and a member of a different (but intelligent) species, is brilliantly realised. Yes, it’s weird, but we’re shown that love is love, especially between two people/sentient creatures who have both been abused and undervalued and who find a connection in the most difficult of circumstances. That’s a narrative many LGBT people should be able to understand.