A Fine Romance Friday: Kissing Jessica Stein

In light of this fascinating NPR story about the disappearance of women from movie screens, I thought this week’s selection should be a romance focused on women, but this was tricky. At first I thought I’d go with a romance that features strong female friendship — Real Women Have Curves or Pitch Perfect — but then I started thinking about the GLBT romances I’ve seen.

The only problem was that these films, and admittedly, I haven’t seen too many of them, are almost exclusively focused on the G and T. What the hell? There’s comparatively a lot of lesbian romance on television (The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy), but I couldn’t think of an example on the big screen, until I remembered Kissing Jessica Stein.

Starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Heather Juergensen, and Scott Cohen (plus cameos by what seems like half of indie Hollywood), it’s the story of a (straight) New York woman who’s fed up with the terrible dating scene, so much so that she answers a dating ad placed by another woman. The early dating scenes with Westfeldt and Juergensen are fantastically well-done. The conversations, the early relationship butterflies, the chemistry: it’s all great. I also really liked the film’s portrayal of the hesitancies of coming out.

While I wouldn’t want to spoil it, it’s important to know that the film doesn’t have a typical happy ending. Nor is it unproblematic. But I think it’s a very GLBT-positive film, and one that’s insightful and honest about modern relationships, so for that, Kissing Jessica Stein is this week’s fine romance.

Now go forth and watch movies about women! (And if you have recommendations for lesbian romance, I’d love them.)

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2 thoughts on “A Fine Romance Friday: Kissing Jessica Stein

  1. Sarah Waters has written several “lesbian Victoriana” novels–they’re not romances in the strictest sense of the word, but they are deeply romantic. Fingersmith is mind-blowingly good, and Tipping the Velvet and Affinity are also enjoyable. (Warning: Affinity is very, very sad.)

    • Thank you! I feel like this is a lacunae in my reading that I need to bridge ASAP.

      For others with the same question, I found this thread at Smart Bitches, Trashy books on the subject. From there, I found Wildthorn, which I just bought. I haven’t read this book, but isn’t that a gorgeous cover? (Yes, I am that shallow.)

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