Of course I can’t help but be enamored by a film that shows a talented duo with insane chemistry. Look they hate each other, they’re falling in love. They can’t stay away, they hilariously annoy each other and show us the aspects of any real relationship. These two, theyre dreamers, hard workers, motivated and talented. They dance in the street, sing in the night, they’re quite literally dancing in the stars! As such a charismatic little film, with catchy songs that you’ll be humming for weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I for one loved La La Land. But I came to question, what if it depicted a love society doesn’t see often in films? What if it was a love between two women, women of color nonetheless. What if instead of casting white, straight, A-list actors as the stars, in the role of undiscovered actors and musicians trying to make it big in the dream land, what if it casted diverse, underrepresented cultures and people in Hollywood. We all exist too, and we’re still here.
so here I give you a different little take on La La Land, in all of its diversity. ✨
Compromise where you can. But where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye and say “no… you move”.
GIVE ME A CINDERELLA STORY WITH TWO GROWN WOMEN LIKE A BADASS, SUIT LOVING, PASSIONATE BLACK-LATINA CEO OF SOME DESIGNER SHOE COMPANY AND AN SWEET, PASTEL WEARING, ENDEARINGLY FORGETFUL ASIAN BARISTA AT A CUTE LITTLE CAFE MEETING AT A CLUB. THEY’RE LOWKEY DRUNK AND STUMBLE INTO EACH OTHER AND SPILL THEIR DRINKS ON EACH OTHER BUT THEY JUST LAUGH AND BUY EACH OTHER NEW DRINKS AND DANCE AND FALL IN LOVE AND JUST SPEND A GREAT NIGHT TOGETHER. THEN THEY GO TO A NICE HOTEL AND COLLAPSE ON THE COUCH JUST WATCHING OLD MOVIES AND GIGGLING WHILE THEY TALK ABOUT THEIR DREAMS AND LOVE OF FAIRYTALES. NEXT MORNING, THE CEO WAKES UP ON THE COUCH, WITH A BLANKET ON HER, A LILAC LIPSTICK KISS ON HER FOREHEAD AND A NICE LITTLE BREAKFAST WITH THE BEST DAMN COFFEE SHE’S EVER HAD. THE BARISTA LEFT IN THE EARLY HOURS, TAKING A SHOWER AND GIVING THE CEO A LITTLE THANKS FOR THE HOTEL AND THE GREAT NIGHT. BUT SHE LEFT HER ANKLET, WHICH HER BEST FRIEND GAVE HER BEFORE HE UNDERWENT CANCER TREATMENT, ON THE BATHROOM COUNTER AND BY THE TIME SHE REALIZES IT’S LIKE “OH SNAP TOO LATE.” AND THE CEO FINDS IT AND IT’S JUST “I NEED TO FIND THE PRINCESS OF MY DREAMS FROM LAST NIGHT? TO GIVE THIS TO HER AND GET ANOTHER DATE HOPEFULLY?”
She is getting weaker, you can tell. She avoids knives, swords, anything that cuts now where she used to be drawn to them. Drawn to fighting, no matter how much she scoffer and rolled her eyes and said she was smarter than that. She looks at them with longing, these swords hanging on your walls, but she doesn’t dare. You hate seeing that light she used to get leave her eyes, but you’re not going to speak. Even if it feels like the words are nailed to the walls of your throat, hurting you as long as you keep them in. You love her too much to hurt her by releasing words she wants to collect dust.
She is getting weaker and you can tell, because she used to be able to carry you with one arm and a laugh on her face. Now , when she picks you up, it’s with a little strain. Not much, she is still like a bodybuilder, and even more but enough to know that now when she does it one-handed, it’s hard work. You never tell her, for she would only start to hide more and make sure she seems as strong as ever. You make sure your eyes never linger on the straining muscles, that they never fill with worry. You love her too much to show her worry that would only lead to her hurting herself.
She is getting weaker and you can tell, because her skin is gathering scars. She used to heal miraculously. Golden liquid would be swallowed and skin glowing with golden droplets would sew itself back together. Bruises on that skin would fade. Now, there are vague lines where she was stabbed, marks from where her half-brother tried to burn her and marks she won’t even let you see. You don’t turn the light on, because she is adamant in not wanting you to.
She is getting weaker, and you can tell. She squints as she tries to read posters, eyes deteriorating because half of her life, they are stuck to pages filled with words. She brings books closer and closer until they’re practically touching her nose . She refuses to buy glasses to match yours, pretends like losing sight isn’t freaking her out. You never force her to buy glasses, because she is too stubborn for that to be anything but angry words going back and forth.
You’re mortal, so you’ve only known her since you were nineteen years old and she first entered your favorite library in that haughty way of hers. You have only known her since you spent weeks reading side-by-side, whispering little remarks back-and-forth until you finally had saved enough courage to ask her on a date.
But this weakening has started far before that. She doesn’t like to talk about the days that her golden blood burned like the sun, that her temples were a startling mess of colors and that mortals fell on their knees for her. Her eyes lose all life, her teeth nearly break each other and she becomes that callous woman made of walls again.
She never says so, but she misses it. She is terrified and confused and lost, addicted to the power and glory she had before. It has taken you many whispered promises, has led to you being ignored and verbally attacked but you’ve managed to pry some memories from her.
My father’s voice was booming… but far too often angry, and he was self-righteous She says one day, looking away and keeping her voice like ice. (she sees her father once a month. He is losing his mind, pretending he is still a legend that even the Gods have to bow to)
There was always something to be mad about.. some mortal whose story ended with tragedy She doesn’t look guilty about this, not really, but there is a flash of remorse in her eyes. Like she is only just starting to understand Arachne’s story and Medusa’s and Selene’s and Callisto’s as well as a thousand others should’ve ended more happily. (that her family’s touch wasn’t golden, but rotten)
When Dad threw parties, even I drank goblet after goblet, hummed to songs and pretended that ‘our family’ wasn’t a broken mess of anger and dangerous pride She says this looking at the cup of tea she is drinking, like the past is appearing in the green-tinted water. You and I both don’t really like parties. You wonder whether she doesn’t like them, because she is used to better ones.
During the Roman times, we were still drunk on power. Christianity was introduced, and we were sobering quickly. Modern times and there are too many atheists to be anything more than ‘very powerful’. Invincible, omni-potent… it all doesn’t exist in us anymore.
She hates admitting weakness, even after having centuries to learn she isn’t without flaws. She hates admitting her flaws too, never says sorry until your eyes are brimming with tears and screaming at her to leave you alone. And even then, the words leave her mouth like teeth being pulled out.
Still, she is sweet behind the walls and coldness. There wasn’t much room for kindness and warmth she admits, your head on her lap and her eyes focused on the book in her hands. Now she is learning, bringing you flowers that mean love and leaving post-it-notes with poems copied from your favorite books, or book titles. You have to guide her a lot of times, explain mortality to her (how much more important people are when you know you can lose them and they you) and she stumbles a lot. It’s not in her nature you think, but you love that she is trying for you.
She is getting weaker and yet more terrified. She never cries or even speaks the words, but you read them in her eyes when she stares at scars like they’re labyrinths with their own minotaur or when she checks her hair for the grey she only wants in her eyes.
In medieval times… we faded for a bit. Like sleeping, but deeper. And then the renaissance came and we awoke. We weren’t… we weren’t like before. But we were strong enough for death not be a thing to be feared. She tells you all of this while she is teaching you to dance. She is more patient than you expected, but still strict and demanding. You grit your teeth and force your aching muscles through her instructions, laugh when you finally are good enough to earn yourself a satisfied smile from her.
World war one… it was horrifying. We were closer to mortals than we had been on top of Olympus and even I…it was just inconceivable to the others that people could use such cruelty as mustard gas or worse. Then World War two happened and we didn’t think humanity was human anymore. Even us, capable of using humans and throwing them out like thrash, were struck dumb with horror at the sight of so many people dying.. or worse..
The great goddess of war sounds heartbroken at that memory. Her grey eyes are pained, her nails buried into the chair she is sitting in… if you ever doubted her heart, you can’t anymore after seeing it shown so plainly in her face.
You’re mortal, just an intelligent person with an intense love of words. She is a goddess losing her immortality, power still at her fingertips. Perhaps you shouldn’t work, shouldn’t understand each other nearly perfectly but you still do. Somehow.
You live your life in the arms of a wisdom goddess and you never miss what you could’ve had with someone less complicated, less scarred… someone who would have loved you a little easier.
She is a mess of a woman and you wouldn’t have her any other way.
So once upon a time, there were two shows about an intense, homoerotic relationship between two men and also murder.
Both shows were fanfiction with a high production value retellings of earlier works. They both had loyal, sometimes rabid fandoms. And they both culminated in a possible/sort of/maybe series finale.
One of these shows delivered on all its promises and concluded with one of the best hours of TV I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. There was tragedy and heartbreak and loss, and it left us wanting more, but ultimately there was closure, and the show made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that this was a love story (albeit a pretty fucked up one) between two men. And we got a bonus lovely side pairing of two women who get to have a kid and also a really hot (artsy and not at all skeevy) sex scene. All while still finding time to solve crimes and catch murderers.
The other show started out strong, created characters that we came to know and love, then gradually descended into a garbage fire that tried too hard to be clever at the expense of actual, coherent story lines and believable character development. It also spent 7 years queerbaiting its fans and mistreated almost every single the female characters who had the misfortune to be included in this show.
And the moral of this story is…
To any of my fellow Sherlock fans who feel devastated and betrayed by Season 4, I strongly encourage you to go watch Hannibal.
You still get murder and crime solving, and an intense, often dysfunctional relationship between the two main characters, but it never queer baits the audience. It’s a clever, thoughtful adaptation of Harris’s work that does justice to the source material while at the same time adding diversity and well rounded female characters that were sorely lacking in the original. The women in this show are not a plot device and the love story between two men is not a long con.
Ultimately, Hannibal is the show I always hoped Sherlock could be.
P.S. At least in the US, Hannibal is available to stream via Amazon Prime.