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Love Lies Bleeding: A Sapphic Film Actually for Sapphics

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCT chapter.

Calling all Queers! Calling all Queers! The much anticipated hot, steamy and muscular sapphic thriller is finally here! Love Lies Bleeding has finally hit streaming platforms, and it’s better than you ever dreamed it could be. Using a cinematographic style that is signature to A24, the film follows a gym manager, Lou (Kristen Stewart) and a competitive bodybuilder, Jack (Katie O’Brien), who is passing through town on her way to a competition in Las Vegas. Lou and Jack are forced into the path of violence as they become entangled in a web of crime.  

This film does a great job of addressing the main issue the WLW community have with sapphic films: gay women through the male gaze. This film is very obviously made by, and for, Queer women. It avoids the usual tropes of sapphic films, such as coming out, overcoming lesbophobia or being trapped by compulsory heterosexuality. As important as films depicting these issues are, many Queer people complain of never being seen as a character that has more substance other than being queer.

This is what makes Love Lies Bleeding so fresh. Both characters are aware of their Queer identities, and both are very much out of the closet throughout the film. Love Lies Bleeding makes sure to emphasize the thrilling storyline and not just Lou and Jack’s queerness. The film also makes sure to portray lesbian sex realistically. The sex scenes do not describe a hypersexualised view of lesbian sex as viewed through the lens of the male gaze, and it does not portray it as being incredibly delicate and somewhat ‘forbidden’. Instead, the sex scenes portray the edgy, carnal desire that Jack and Lou feel for each other while also depicting the intimacy shared between the two women.

Love Lies Bleeding

While the sex scenes are directed beautifully, the film does not profit from fetishizing lesbian couples. Love Lies Bleeding does not spend too much time exploring the physical intimacy of Lou and Jack. Instead, it emphasizes the deep, emotional connection that they feel for each other.

Another amazing aspect of the film is its creative composition. The film’s beautiful cinematography keeps the audience engaged whilst making sure not to distract from the actors’ incredible performances. The film uses many cinematic elements to portray a story that is engaging, edgy, and extremely thrilling to the point where you almost become stressed.

Seeing Queer couples represented in shows where the main emphasis is not their Queer identity is incredibly refreshing and something that I hope we see more of. Queer people deserve to be portrayed in genres other than romance or drama and should be represented as the main characters in thrillers, mysteries, horrors, and all other genres. Love Lies Bleeding is definitely a step in the right direction for future Queer representation in mainstream media.

Hi! I'm Zara Smith and am currently doing a triple major in Film, Media and English Literature. I love writing and am very interested in pop culture and how it relates to social issues. My writing mainly explores the film industry, music, fashion and of course celebrity news! I hope you all enjoy what I have to offer!