5

Christmas Films that are Kinda Queer

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While there are a handful of Holiday & Christmas films that feature queer lead characters or storylines, there are even more that continue to use the “gay” character as the sidekick/best friend/brother/et al trope. They’re only “kinda queer”.

 

There’s a handful of reasons for this:

  • Some are older films and harken back to the days where a gay or queer lead character or main plot was not welcome by major motion picture studios. But, as if they were ticking of a P.C. Checklist, they included a “gay” character just to pretend like they cared about representation. Even outside of the specific niche of Christmas films, this only goes back about a decade or two and still is greatly underrepresented.
  • Many Christmas films are made for TV/streaming networks (Hallmark, Lifetime, Netflix). While TV networks have always been a bit more forward with queer characters compared to major studio, it’s only THIS year in 2020 did they finally give us a queer Christmas film with a queer lead or main storyline (and it looks like one still might not be a “Queer film”!)
  • The handful of truly Queer Christmas films are by independent studios. Sadly, they don’t often have the marketing budgets or outreach to compete with the major studios in theatres. As such, they often get overlooked by general society.

 

Yes, all of these films do have a gay/lesbian/queer character. Or they might have a gay/queer side story. But does that mean the actual film is deserving of the title “Queer Film”? Let’s take a quick look at some of them – and why I say they are NOT queer films!

 

[Note: these films do not, and probably will not, get a full review from QueerFilmReviews]

1

A Christmas Prince

“When a reporter (Rose McIver) goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince (Ben Lamb), she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie?”

 

Netflix has learned to copy the Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas film formula – and it works decently well in “A Christmas Prince”. While I find it a bit reminiscent of other films such as “The Prince & Me” except set at Christmas, there is something cute and whimsical about a foreign love story. It’s not a horrible film, but it is definitely not a Queer film! Sure – Amber has a gay best friend who helps her out from back home. But other than two or three scenes at the start, he disappears until the end. Utilising the cliche and overused trope, if you’re hoping for a Queer twist to “A Christmas Prince”, then you’ll be greatly disappointed. It’s still a cute Christmas film though!

2

A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding

“A year after helping Richard (Ben Lambget to the throne, Amber (Rose McIver) is about to become his wife. But is she really made to be queen?”

 

Continuing the Christmas romance from the first film, but this Christmas – it’s the wedding! And when there’s a wedding, there’s a wedding planner. Unfortunately, Netflix decided to be as cliche as possible and create the most flamboyantly gay wedding planning. But wait – our gay best friend is also back and makes the trip to Aldovia this time for the royal wedding. But despite deciding to pair up the only two gay guys in the film, when there appears to be a spark of something budding – they cut away! The sequel is a bit more queer than the first film, but I still do not consider “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” to be a queer film. The actual film itself isn’t bad, being of the same cut of cloth as the first film. But again, if you want to watch decent queer representation that isn’t full of cliches and part of a side story that only feels included to tick a box off a P.C. checklist, find a different film! This one’s not it (I actually groaned!)

3

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby

“It’s Christmastime in Aldovia, and a royal baby is on the way. Amber (Rose McIverand Richard (Ben Lamb) host royals from a distant kingdom (Kevin Shen & Momo Yeung) to renew a sacred truce, but when the treaty vanishes, peace is jeopardized and an ancient curse threatens their family.”

 

Ok, the only reason I watched this *hopefully* end to the trilogy is because I had previously watched the first two and was curious. Another cute “cookie cutter” Christmas Netflix romance, “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” delivers us not only the expected baby, but another cross-cultural angle by the Asiatic ancestry of the Penglian kingdom. Yet even though our two gay guys are back, this time as business partners to plan the royal baby shower, they actually pulled back on any queer angle – are they “partners” and actually together? Or just business partners? Even at best, they are only there because of the baby shower and to add a bit of humour (which is cliche at best). While a bit silly at times and still pulling all the usual heart strings typical for this style of Christmas film, this third entry of the trilogy is also not a Queer film. If you’ve watched the others, it’s worth watching – but otherwise there are better choices to fullfill your Queer Christmas desires.

decorator is back… but are they a couple?

4

Twinkle All The Way

“To pull off a spectacular Christmas themed wedding at the exclusive Snowview Lodge, wedding planner, Cadence Clark (Sarah Drew) – joins forces with Henry Harrison (Ryan McPartlin), co-owner of a family-run Christmas decoration and house-lighting company. Cadence and Henry, both single parents of young daughters, grow closer as they contribute to each others’ projects – Cadence with the wedding and Henry with his high-profile client, Mrs. Sutton (Lanette Ware), and her annual VIP Christmas Eve party. However, a snow storm threatens to wreak havoc on the wedding. But with help from Henry, family, and some holiday magic, Cadence may just be able to pull off the wedding and perhaps fall in love along the way.”

 

I REALLY didn’t like including this 2019 Lifetime Christmas Film on this list because “Twinkle All The Way” is not only quite a cute and charming Christmas romance, but because it was Lifetime TV’s first same-sex kiss in their Christmas film oeuvre! The trouble though is two-fold: first off this groundbreaking gay kiss didn’t air until LAST YEAR in 2019, nearly a decade behind other mainstream network’s inclusion of queer characters and affection. Secondly, despite Lex being married to his husband Danny and clearly welcomed by the rest of the family, they barely get ANY screen time together outside of a dinner scene and the final scene with their kiss. And other than the kiss, they don’t show any kind of affection towards each other. Heck, despite being MARRIED, the official credits don’t include Danny’s last name at all (though not all gay couples share the same last name). As such and as much as it pains me to say, “Twinkle All The Way” is NOT a Queer film. However, it’s actually a very good Christmas film and does include decent representation – and anything with Lesley Ann Warren is incredible!

5

Holiday In Handcuffs

Holidays in Handcuffs stars Melissa Joan Hart as an aspiring painter stuck working as a waitress. The pressure to please her parents builds as she blows a job interview and gets dumped by her boyfriend, leading to a nervous breakdown. Stressed about going home for the holidays alone, she kidnaps Clay Martin (Mario Lopez), a customer at the restaurant where she works and introduces him to her parents as her boy friend.”

 

Aside from being a bit dated more like a ’90’s film and one made in 2007, this ABC Christmas TV movie is a bit… quirky! The storyline alone is a bit cuckoo, not to mention Gertrude (MJH) is tad eccentric, and oddly rather enjoyable to watch – as long as you don’t mind a bit of crazy silliness. However, despite her brother Jake’s coming out storyline to add to the family drama at the Christmas dinner table, it’s not actually a Queer film. While there’s a tender moment between Jake and Gertrude where he talks about his sexuality, the actual coming out moment at the dinner table creates a shock reaction for comedy but worse, it quickly is overshadowed when the police barge in and interrupt everything. There is a nice moment of acceptance towards the end when Jake brings his boyfriend to the his sister’s showing at the art gallery, but overall – he’s just a side story, and barely at that. (But we do get a nice glimpse of Mario Lopez’s muscular body!) Like most of the films on this list, it’s a decent watch for a fun Christmas comedy – but not a Queer Christmas film.

There's Actually Another One...

Well… kinda…

 

While this last film actually DID get a full review this Christmas season, it has similar issues as with many of the films noted above – the queer characters/storyline are just a side storyline. However, I have decried that this last film IS actually a Queer film because while Claudia’s brother, Tommy, is not the main focus of the film’s storyline, he is quite integral to the whole dysfunctional family drama. Furthermore, his being gay is actually used to help drive the plot. While to some of you this might be a subtle distinction, from my vantage it’s a key distinction in why this film is a Queer Film – but some of you would put it on this list of Christmas films that are NOT Queer.

 

What are you thoughts? (full review here)

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Hi, I’m Michael!

I have amassed a massive collection of queer and gay-themed films, shorts, series, and more. I’m here to let you know which ones are worth watching – and which ones aren’t!

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