Queerly Ever After is a bi-monthly column where I take a look at LGBT+ films that gave their characters a romantic happily-ever-after. There will be spoilers.
The last several films I have written about all came out in the last couple of years, so for this entry, I am going to turn my attention to a movie a bit older, 1994’s Go Fish, which is a movie I love. Go Fish was written by Rose Troche and Guinevere Turner, and directed by Troche. It centers on Max (Turner), a lesbian college student in Chicago. She’s single, hasn’t had sex in 10 months, and her friends are just dying to set her up. Her roommate Kia (T. Wendy McMillan) is convinced that Max would really hit it off with Ely (V.S. Brodie), but Max is not sure Ely is really her type. Kia, along with her girlfriend Evy (Migdalia Melendez), and Ely’s roommate Daria (Anastasia Sharp) team up to get Max and Ely together. As this is Queerly Ever After, of course, Max and Ely end up together.
There are some interesting things to note about this movie. For starters, it is entirely in black and white. I was actually pretty apprehensive to watch this at first. I felt it could either be arty in a good way or arty in that pretentious film school way. Once I got past my reticence and actually started it though, I absolutely loved it. Also, aside from a couple of instances, there are no virtually no men in this movie, and the ones that do appear are secondary to background roles. It is one of those, sadly rare, lesbian films actually made for women and not the male gaze. That’s not to say men can’t enjoy this movie, many do, but it is to say that this film was not made for their interests, and that’s really refreshing.
One of my favorite elements of this movie is the Greek chorus of omniscient lesbians. I should really preface this by saying one of my majors in college was theatre, and we studied a lot of Greek theatre. I am a big fan of a well-used Greek chorus in more modern plays and films, and Go Fish does a great job. Scenes in the film are intercut with Kia, Evy, Daria, and Daria’s revolving door of girlfriends, who comment on the events of the film and the progress they are making in getting Max and Ely together. This plot device choice is definitely an interesting one, and not one I see very often. Here, I think it adds a great touch to the film.
Fleshed Out Characters
While Max is undeniably the film’s lead, all of the supporting characters are fully fleshed out women with their own struggles and plot lines. While Kia and Evy have been in a relationship for a little while, Evy is not out to her family. When her ex-boyfriend, still spurned by being dumped, discovers she’s a lesbian, he outs her to her religious mother. Her mother, in turn, disowns her and kicks her out of the house, so she moves in with Max and Kia.
Daria is the film’s resident player, she has a revolving door of hookups throughout the film. But a very interesting moment comes when she sleeps with a man. She finds herself being interrogated by a jury of her lesbian peers, judging her for her supposed transgression. Whether this jury is real or a figment of Daria’s imagination born out of guilt for sleeping with a man is up to the audience to decide. But, this scene opens up a thought-provoking conversation on sexuality and fluidity.
In Conclusion: Go Fish
With its diverse cast, well fleshed-out characters, and stylistic choices, Go Fish is a must-watch.
Go Fish was released July 8, 1994 in the US and UK, for all other release dates, see here.
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