Recently I’ve had the urge to venture out of my comfort zone a little and explore the queer movie genre. I’m not a huge movie buff, to be honest. I also have a touch of ADHD, so sitting still and concentrating on a full length movie is sometimes hard for me to do. For that reason, I don’t go to the movies often nor do I watch many at home, but I’ve heard good things about several films centered around LGBTQ+ characters lately, and I’ve decided to give some a go.
But first, let’s get real.
It’s no secret that the vast majority of queer films end in tragedy. A lot of times one of the main characters dies somewhere before the credits role. Other times the two love interests don’t end up together for various reasons. The last queer centric movie I watched was Brokeback Mountain, a film I could only watch once. Though I’ve been itching to try it again, maybe with less tears this time. (Good luck with that, Lucie…)
I can do angst, as long as the ending leaves me satisfied, but I think one reason I’ve stayed away from queer films for so long is because of their tendency toward the tragic. Those aren’t the kind of stories I particularly like to read or write. I’m a softy; I like fluff. I like to laugh and smile because the world is already dark enough without me having to grieve a string of fictional characters.
Luckily, I’ve gotten several recommendations for movies that have happy or happy for now endings, and that will mainly be my focus for what I hope to make a series. Most of them center on gay relationships, since that’s what I primarily write, but I’m not opposed to watching films that fall elsewhere within the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
With that being said, the first film I watched did not come from my Happy list.
Free Fall – Freier Fall
Free Fall is a German film starring Hanno Koffler and Max Riemelt, who some of you might know from the series Sense 8. I was minding my own business the other day as I scrolled through tumblr and saw a gifset about this movie, and for some reason, it just called to me. By the end of the day, I’d watched it twice.
I’m not really sure how to describe this movie, so I’ll just give a brief rundown of the plot before jumping into a meta about why I loved it.
Marc’s life goes into a state of free fall when he develops feelings for his male police partner, Kay. Torn between the life he knows so well and the exhilaration of this new adventure, Marc finds his world rapidly spinning out of control.
The movie is from Marc’s point of view, but it doesn’t give much indication of his sexuality before he meets Kay. He does tell Kay he was a one-off during an argument, but I’m not quite sure I’d consider it a gay-for-you film. Even if Marc was straight right up until Kay entered his life, or very straight leaning, I see sexuality as a spectrum and something that can change over time, so I like to think this is what happens to Marc during the film.
He doesn’t really have a label though. He denies being gay to both his girlfriend and Kay, but I do like the idea of him exploring his sexuality and maybe realizing he’s somewhat bisexual. At the same time, I think there is much more to attraction than just gender, and maybe in this case, it’s more about the person Marc fell in love with than Kay’s gender.
I loved this aspect of the movie, the fact that Marc’s sexuality is left up to interpretation. I don’t feel like he needs a label at this point. We are only offered a small glimpse into his life, a short sliver of time, so I think it’s very reasonable that he doesn’t necessarily have everything figured out by the end of it. It made things feel very real for me in that regard.
Like I mentioned earlier, the film is German, so I had to watch it with subtitles, but it didn’t bother me because Marc and Kay have so much chemistry that they hardly had to talk at all. A good chunk of their relationship takes place in silence and through subtext, sooo much subtext. The second viewing gave me a much deeper understanding than the first because I spent less time reading the subtitles and more time watching them communicate nonverbally.
Nonverbal communication is something I absolutely love in my romances. The ability to carry on entire conversations, to be so in tune with your partner that words don’t need to be spoken to convey emotions, is what I live for in on-screen relationships. And this movie is ripe with that. It is a testament to the actors that they are able to illicit so much emotion through simple touches and looks.
The love scenes are made even more powerful and moving because of this, but I doubt anyone will be disappointed in them aesthetically. Every kiss is amazing, hot yet somehow tender, and absolutely how I aim to write my own kissing and love scenes. And even the one love scene we get with Marc and his girlfriend Bettina is heartfelt and emotional.
Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this movie. I’ve watched it again since the first two viewings and will probably watch it quite a few more before the announced sequel arrives. It’s already one of the best movies I’ve seen in years, and I have a feeling it might be a tough standard for other movies to live up to.
I will give a brief warning for homophobia (one character in particular is a huge bigot), drug use, and obviously infidelity.
TL;DR Free Fall is an emotionally packed rollercoaster that hit me right in the feels, some of which I’m still not over. It even made me cry at one point, something I rarely do at movies, Brokeback Mountain not withstanding. All in all, it’s a beautiful yet somewhat tragic love story that is left unresolved, which is all I’m going to say about the ending other than I was strangely satisfied with it despite the fact it’s not on my Happy list. Bring on the sequel!
5 stars, 10/10 highly recommend
Do you have a favorite queer movie with a happy ending or one you’d like me to review? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.