Synopsis: This year’s runaway hit at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Kiss Me is a stunningly rendered and honest love story about what happens when you follow your heart. When Mia and Frida’s eyes meet for the first time at a party the attraction is instant. However, Mia is engaged to be married to a man she believes she loves so acting on anything seems out of the question. When subsequent circumstances throw the two women together, openly gay Frida finds it impossible to resist seducing Mia, and Mia finds it impossible to resist. Soon, Mia must choose between following her heart or fulfilling everyone else’s expectations of her. A candid and beautiful film, Kiss Me is a classic lesbian movie in the making.
Kyss mig 7.5
eyelights: its cast. its performances. its photography. its sexy bits.
eyesores: its déjà vu plot.
“Why did you kiss me? We can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”
‘Kyss mig’ is one of those films I stumbled upon because it was available at my local library. I knew nothing about it and have heard nothing about it since. But it got pushed forward on the agenda simply because I’d been on a streak of lesbian love stories recently.
The Swedish film, which was released in 2011, tells the story of Mia’s coming out of the closet after she encounters her stepsister at her father’s 60th birthday and falls madly for her. The only problem is: she’s due to marry Tim, with whom she’s been for seven years.
Mia’s life is about to undergo a radical change.
Though the main plot is pretty standard fare for the genre (the first one I saw, ‘When Night is Falling‘, dates back to 1995!), what makes it interesting are the subplots buried in all the familial relationships; Mia and her family’s complicated dynamics pepper the pot.
Mia herself is a mass of anxiety: she quickly becomes jealous of Tim for flirting with Frida, her stepsister, and is upset with her father for suggesting a morning walk and then forgetting about it. Underneath the surface, she’s constantly struggling with her feelings.
And there’s her father, who’s seemingly detached from his own emotions, preferring to ignore subjects he’s not keen on. Meanwhile, he’s pressuring Mia and Tim to make him a grandfather and isn’t accepting of his stepdaughter’s lesbianism, causing extra friction.
Throw in Frida’s own torment at cheating on Elin, her girlfriend, after having been the subject of infidelity herself, and you’ve got a stew that’s fit to bubble over. But it’s handled quite admirably by Alexandra-Therese Keining, who based the film on her own life.
The performances are all uniformly excellent and the cast is near-perfect, though their characters aren’t. I especially loved Liv Mjönes’ unrelenting glow as Frida and felt that Ruth Vega Fernandez brought Mia’s clockworks to the fore nicely; they balance each other out.
And, naturally, it was quite appealing to watch the two of them make out passionately, though sometimes I was left uncertain as to Mia’s motives – particularly on the first kiss, which she initiated only to reject Frida wholeheartedly afterwards. She was hot and cold.
Still, ‘Kyss mig’ is a strong effort on all counts. It may not bring anything new to the table, but it tells its tale very well, better than many of its predecessors; lesbian cinema has come a long way since the first tentative steps were taken in the genre many decades ago.
If this is now the norm, the bar is set where it should’ve been long ago.
Date of viewing: June 25, 2017