Gay Essential

Gay Essential is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Alexander Ryll, Alistair Ryder, Rich Cline
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Bit (2019) Alistair Ryder Beneath the angsty jet black comedy, Bit is something far more sincere - not to mention something of a high watermark when it comes to transgender representation in genre cinema. EDIT
Posted Jul 19, 2019
3/5 () Alistair Ryder For the most part, it's a bold, brave directorial debut that marks Xiang Zi as a filmmaker with a bright future ahead of her. EDIT
Posted Jul 13, 2019
The Lavender Scare (2017) Alistair Ryder This moment in history, long relegated to being a mere footnote (if mentioned at all), can now finally become part of the conversation on LGBT rights - let's make sure we don't forget it again. EDIT
Posted Jul 6, 2019
4/5 () Alistair Ryder It's not an easy watch, but it's hard to argue against it being a rewarding one. EDIT
Posted Jun 8, 2019
3.5/5 Matthias & Maxime (2019) Alistair Ryder A breath of fresh air compared to Dolan's recent, weaker efforts. We're back on familiar terrain, firmly within the director's comfort zone, and it's great to see him return to form, if not fully back to the peak of his powers. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
3.5/5 () Alistair Ryder An attention grabbing debut film from Danielle Lessovitz. EDIT
Posted May 31, 2019
() Rich Cline Herzog packs a lifetime of material into this brief 89-minute documentary, and yet it never feels rushed. EDIT
Posted May 28, 2019
The Skin of the Teeth (2019) Alistair Ryder The Skin of the Teeth is an unusual film; not quite horror, not quite social commentary, but captivating due to its enveloping sense of unease and unpredictability. EDIT
Posted May 28, 2019
4/5 Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Alistair Ryder No longer is Sciamma dealing with the struggles of young people as they deal with their changing bodies, but she is taking the logical next step, crafting a romance all around the idea of capturing the female body in a work of art. EDIT
Posted May 25, 2019
4/5 Dolor y gloria (2019) Alistair Ryder I can't think of another living director whose examination of the creative process could be so emotionally involving. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
Marilyn (2018) Alistair Ryder There are many stories about gay trauma that feel like emotional abuse - Martín Rodríguez Redondo refrains from the horror as much as he can within a story like this, making the character study all the richer as a result. EDIT
Posted May 2, 2019
3/5 The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füssen) (2019) Alistair Ryder As an exploration of the emotional toll on women in the male dominated world of business, it would definitely make for a delightfully oddball double bill with Toni Erdmann. EDIT
Posted Apr 22, 2019
3/5 L'animale (2018) Alistair Ryder A cursory glance at the synopsis of L'Animale suggests an LGBT narrative that we're all too familiar with, but director Katharina Mückstein understands that an authentic coming of age story doesn't neatly resemble a cinematic narrative. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
3/5 Splinters (2018) Alistair Ryder Splinters takes a melodramatic premise and brings it down to earth. EDIT
Posted Mar 27, 2019
4/5 Night Comes On (2018) Alistair Ryder An impressive directorial debut for Jordana Spiro, and a powerful showcase for two young actresses with a bright future ahead of them. EDIT
Posted Mar 16, 2019
Giant Little Ones (2018) Alistair Ryder Like its protagonist, the film thrives because it doesn't conform to a simple label. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
3/5 Eva and Lola (2010) Alistair Ryder A refreshing new take on a familiar tale of hidden sexuality and forbidden romance. It isn't entirely flawless, but seeing this story transported to a culture rarely depicted in pop culture makes it worth seeking out regardless. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
4/5 Making Montgomery Clift (2018) Alistair Ryder Making Montgomery Clift may be co-directed by a member of the Clift family, but nothing feels sanitised; in digging deeper to find the man behind the cautionary tale, Clift and Demmon have crafted something far richer than any fanmade biography. EDIT
Posted Mar 15, 2019
Of Love & Law (2017) Alistair Ryder Of Love & Law is an inspirational documentary that will leave you wanting to make the world a better place - even if it's just to ensure everybody has a right to sail in a vagina shaped canoe. EDIT
Posted Feb 9, 2019
My Best Friend (2016) Alistair Ryder A tender coming of age story, that upturns coming out narrative conventions to offer a rich, delicate portrayal of friendship. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2019
Jonas (2018) Alistair Ryder Boys (Jonas) may be a TV movie, but it still suggests that its writer/director has a bright future ahead of him on the big screen. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2019
143 I Miss You (2004) Alistair Ryder An affecting, stripped down look at the emotional toll a fleeting romance can leave. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2019
Speed Walking (2014) Alistair Ryder Teenage years are defined by a search to define your true identity, and there is no shortage of films about this - when coupled with a story about the messiness of grief, Oplev's film becomes far more original than it appears on the outside. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2019
3.5/5 Benjamin (2018) Alistair Ryder A low key delight. EDIT
Posted Nov 9, 2018
8 I Am Michael (2015) Alexander Ryll Michael is not without his weaknesses and despite declaring that he no longer identifies with being a homosexual, it does not necessary mean that he ceases relationships with the same sex. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
10 Hidden Away (2015) Alexander Ryll Through tight, handheld shots, director Mikel Rueda places the viewer in an intimate position as the story unfolds with subject matter incorporating aggression, economic, racial, love and survival. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Something Must Break (2014) Alexander Ryll The film title taken from a song by English band Joy Division intensely explores gender identity, sensuality and sexuality in a provocative love story. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Blackbird (2014) Alexander Ryll Essentially a play and two films within a film, Blackbird from writer and director Patrik-Ian Polk cleverly combines race, sexuality, religion and small town values. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Mala Mala (2014) Alexander Ryll Mala Mala is a highly entertaining emotional documentary that takes the audience from the seedy nightlife, and ultimately onto the steps of the state capital in a rousing upbeat finale. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Fourth Man Out (2015) Alexander Ryll 4th Man Out is a heartfelt coming-out comedy with genuine true-to-life awkwardness felt between lifelong friends, family and community as they support the sexual orientation of one of their own. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
7 The David Dance (2014) Alexander Ryll Being different and open is a challenging endeavor in Don Scime's The David Dance, a heartfelt indie film that questions religious dogma and tackles the validity of America's objections to non-conventional family structures. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
6 Fire Song (2015) Alexander Ryll The gloomy mood is wonderfully portrayed with Garnett Jones's selection of shots of the desolate plains of Northern Ontario. The colour palette of dark greys and greens reaffirms the emotional state of the main characters. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
6 Burning Blue (2014) Alexander Ryll The 2013 indie film attempts to accurately document the cruel code of conduct regarding homosexual men in the military, but ends up conveying only a caricatural depiction of this far-reaching social issue. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Guys Reading Poems (2016) Alexander Ryll A majestic, all-embracing account of how a vulnerable young boy learns to glibly mold his childhood suffering into art, tenderness and creative literature. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
9 Jewel's Catch One (2016) Alexander Ryll Jewel's emotional journey grew into a testimony of acceptance and staunch kindness, which proved to every single person who bared witness to its evolution that a kind soul with a resolute purpose knows no boundaries. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things (2016) Alexander Ryll Covering topics ranging from language and loss of cultural identity to the Human Rights Act and family structures in Nunavut, the documentary brings a vital piece to the puzzle of replacing shame with pride. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Bwoy (2016) Alexander Ryll Bwoy delves into deep-seated issues concerning intimacy, race, identity and trust in what seems to be a relevant cautionary tale about the tangled distortions involved in today's online dating world. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 In the Shadow of Iris (2017) Alexander Ryll Henry Coombes' Seat In Shadow explores the dark, unsettling aspects of the human psyche and is in itself a fairly memorable psychedelic experience. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
10 Out of Iraq (2016) Alexander Ryll Out Of Iraq is a beautifully gripping and heartwarming account of a truly unique and inspiring love affair and its journey to becoming a protected and legalised marriage. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
10 Center of My World (2016) Alexander Ryll With stunning visuals and sublimely constructed character depth, Center Of My World (Die Mitte der Welt) will immerse you in a dreamlike whirlwind of emotions, dark secrets and intricate relationships. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
7 Body Electric (2017) Alexander Ryll Forming a dreamlike film that flows organically and instinctively, Caetano does manage to create a truly unique ambience, overflown with serenity, love and voluptuousness. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Free CeCe (2016) Alexander Ryll Free CeCe is a must-see for anyone interested in halting systemic injustice and becoming educated on the real struggles trans people distressingly still face in today's society. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
9 Rökkur (2017) Alexander Ryll Its crisp cinematography, choice of landscape and gripping performances make it a memorable addition to the cultural definitions of horror film. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 4 Days in France (2016) Alexander Ryll Allow Jérôme Reybaud and his stunning film to take you through some of France's most breathtaking and fascinating locations, but also through a myriad of sexual flings with complete strangers that will make you question the appeal of monogamy. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
9 The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) Alexander Ryll The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson offers a unique perspective on liberation for gender nonconforming individuals and is an imperative documentary for anyone looking to fully understand the origins and evolution of the LGBT movement. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
10 God's Own Country (2017) Alexander Ryll Sexual liberation and societal acceptance are both put on the backburner in Francis Lee's film, as O'Connor and Secareanu's riveting performances frame the murky landscape of the countryside. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Heartstone (2016) Alexander Ryll Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson brings to life a sympathetic journey of self-discovery and young love in a forbidding, hostile environment. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 B&B (2017) Alexander Ryll Poking fun at some of our most beloved thriller tropes, writer and director Joe Ahearne has crafted a half-satire, half-horror film brimming with suspense, humour and unforgettable plot twists. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari (2017) Alexander Ryll Tackling dark topics like abuse, poverty and dysfunctional love, the drama film is unapologetically blunt and does little to cover up the harsh reality of living in one of Romania's most gruesome suburbs. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018
8 Princess Cyd (2017) Alexander Ryll Cone's film is meek, irenic and sincere. It doesn't push a certain agenda onto the viewer, it doesn't intrude on the characters after they are introduced and it doesn't favor or side with one perspective or another. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2018