In 2022, it’s easy to take the presence of LGBT characters in movies and on TV for granted; a sign of just how far we’ve come, in spite of bills being passed by hate-fueled right-wing politicians all across the globe. Representation matters now, more than ever.

Debuting on Blu-ray, queer writer/director Maria Maggenti’s “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love” (Strand Releasing) was made on a shoestring budget and released theatrically in 1995, a time when LGBT cinema was in the midst of an indie-film renaissance known as New Queer Cinema. Other films from that period include Rose Troche’s “Go Fish,” The Wachowskis’ “Bound,” and Cheryl Dunye’s “The Watermelon Woman,” to name a few.

“For my first girlfriend - may our relationship finally rest in peace,” is how Maggenti’s film dedication reads, giving viewers a clue as to the “true” nature of this lesbian rom-com. Randy (Laurel Holloman), is a rough around the edges high school senior who lives with her working-class lesbian aunt Rebecca (Kate Stafford), Rebecca’s partner Vicky (Sabrina Artel), and Rebecca’s ex, Lena (Toby Poser), in a “normal, typical, lesbo household.” Randy works part-time at a gas station run by Regina (Dale Dickey), and she’s having an affair with an older married woman named Wendy (Maggie Moore). She doesn’t talk to her mother who is a fundamentalist Christian.

High school classmate Evie (Nicole Parker) is at the polar end of the spectrum. She has a wonderful relationship with her mother Evelyn (Stephanie Berry), a single mom and high-powered executive. They live in a large, elegant house. Evie drives a Range Rover (in the mid-1990s, no less!), a gift from her father who is working off his divorce guilt.

Evie is a good student. She’s one of the popular girls who is liked by her teachers (unlike Randy who won’t have enough credits to graduate and is picked on by classmates and administrators). The only drama in Evie's life is that she wants to end her relationship with her boyfriend Hayjay (Andrew Wright). He’s actually having a harder time with the break-up than she is. She’s also having car trouble which is how she meets Randy when she pulls into the service station.

In classic opposites attract fashion, Randy and Evie strike up a friendship after getting detention for smoking in the girls’ restroom. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with Evie’s trio of “Heathers”-like friends who ultimately abandon her. Fortunately for Randy, she not only has a support system at home but her gay best friend and classmate Frank (Nelson Rodriguez) also has her back.

As things begin to get serious (the two connect via the poetry of Walt Whitman!), they plan to spend a few days together at Evie’s house when Evelyn is away on business. They make dinner (and a mess of the kitchen) together, and then end up in Evelyn’s bed for their first time having sex.

Feeling guilty for not being with Evie for her 18th birthday, Evelyn returns home early, discovers the mess in the kitchen and dining room, and then finds Evie in bed with Randy. From this point on “…Two Girls In Love” heads into farce territory. The girls run off in Evie’s car and check into a motel, leaving everyone scrambling to find them, and make sense of the situation.

Released in theaters two years before Ellen DeGeneres’ coming-out episode on her sitcom, “…Two Girls In Love” has its place in queer cinema history. Also significant is the fact that lead actors, Holloman and Parker, both of whom are straight, have gone on to successful acting careers, proof that playing queer when you are just starting out hasn’t had a negative impact in years. Additionally, Maggenti has continued to be a prolific writer and producer.

But the movie doesn’t hold up as well as others from the period. The acting, with the exception of Parker and Holloman (both of whom were making their big-screen debuts), as well as Dickey, is too amateur to be believable or entertaining. The movie suffers because of this. However, Maggenti’s Blu-ray bonus commentary makes it worth seeing.

Rating: C+


Gregg Shapiro is the author of seven books including the expanded edition of his short story collection How to Whistle (Rattling Good Yarns Press, 2021). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

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