Lesbian, Bisexual and Gender Bending Characters on Tap at Holiday Box Office: Pariah, Albert Nobbs and Dragon Tattoo

Lesbian, Bisexual and Gender Bending Characters on Tap at Holiday Box Office: Pariah, Albert Nobbs and Dragon Tattoo
Tracy E. Gilchrist

It’s not often that LGBT film fest faves and awards’ season converge, but for 2011, the year-end race to Oscar offers three LGBT themed films released in theaters for your consideration this week, and they may also end up Oscar contenders.

So grab your bucket o’ popcorn and settle down to Pariah, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Albert Nobbs.

Pariah

Dubbed Spike Lee’s protégé director Dee Rees’ Pariah was an award winning film festival short before it became on of the most talked about films of 2011. Deeply moving, and pristinely acted, Pariah tells the story of Brooklyn-based baby stud Alike –played by the stunning and gifted Adepero Oduye—who struggles with her volatile –closeted-home life and her burgeoning sexual awakening.

The film received two Independent Spirit Award nominations – one is a nomination for John Cassavetes Award, an award give to the best feature made for under $500,000, and the other nomination is for the film’s lead Oduye.

In addition to Oduye, the film stars Kim Wayans as her homophobic mother, Charles Parnell as her more sympathetic father, Pernell Walker as her best friend and South of Nowhere’s Aasha Davis as a love interest.

Pariah hits theaters Dec. 28, so be sure to see it in the theater and support independent lesbian-themed cinema!

Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close’s highly anticipated passion project Albert Nobbs, a true story in which she portrays a 19th century Irish woman posing as a man to navigate the hardships of the times opened in limited release on Dec. 21, and will get a wide release on Jan. 27.

The titular character played by Close also falls for a maid played by Alice in Wonderland’s and The Kids are All Right’s Mia Wasikowska. Close, a five-time Oscar nominee, is earning raves for the sensitive and nuanced performance that just may land her that elusive Academy Award come 2012. Her costar Janet McTeer, who also plays a woman who lives as a man, is also garnering praise. Both women have landed SAG and Golden Globe nominations.

But beyond turning in a terrific performance in a gender-bending role –-something the Academy tends to reward: see Hillary Swank and William Hurt – Close executive produced the film, co-wrote the screenplay and co-wrote the song played in the trailer that’s sung by Sinead O’Connor. 20 years ago Close starred in the off-Broadway play based on the short story about Albert Nobbs written by George Moore.

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, Albert Nobbs costars Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Pauline Collins and Brenda Fricker.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Rooney Mara has some big boots to fill since Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth Salander – the arresting female lead characters in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series – became the stuff of cinema legend in the original Swedish film and in its follow-up films. But the actress who had a small but memorable role dumping Jessie Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, is more than game for the role. Her gritty, brooding and not entirely humorless take on Lisbeth would be the stuff of absolute legend had Rapace not taken on and nailed her portrayal of the badass bisexual hacker in such iconic fashion first. Still, Mara’s performance is riveting, enough so that it’s earned her a Golden Globe nod and could possibly take her to Oscar.

Fans of the books and the Swedish films will find much to love in Director David Fincher’s  -- The Social Network, Zodiac, Fight Club, Se7en -- slick yet moody depiction of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If anyone could improve upon the first and capture the tone of the piece just perfectly, it was Fincher.

One word to the wise though – if you’re someone who’s seen the original film but not ready the books, Fincher’s reimagining hews closer to the books in that it develops Lisbeth’s relationship with Daniel Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist more than the Swedish film did. But never fear, Lisbeth’s got a great scene in a lesbian bar with actress Elodie Yung.

The film costars Joely Richardson, Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgård, Goran Visjnic and Christopher Plummer.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opened in wide release Dec. 21, and is currently beating everything at the box office but Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

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