This year was a good year for film. Many conservative religious groups, however, would beg to differ. With two of the five films nominated for best picture containing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender themes (“Brokeback Mountain” and “Capote”), and another nominated for other categories (“TransAmerica”), some in the religious community are calling foul.
Some conservative religious groups claim that the fact that all five of the nominated best-picture films combined were outgrossed by an un-nominated film (“Wedding Crashers”) illustrates that Hollywood is out of touch with mainstream America. These groups go on to say that the films containing GLBT stories are another example of Hollywood’s strategic attempts at legitimizing the homosexual lifestyle, and that they are “dangerous” because they use artistic skill to disseminate “gay propaganda.”
In reality, the only strategic move on the part of Hollywood is the move to woo larger audiences. More money is to be made by producing both films like “Chronicles of Narnia” and “Brokeback Mountain.” It cannot be understated that increased visibility benefits only the GLBT community; it is bigoted at best to say a film is “gay propaganda” because it portrays a gay story in an artful way.
It is a shame some groups are willing to condemn the films solely because of their characters. It is a shame that people would stop short with reaction rather than honest review. It is a shame that a film stirs controversy because it portrays GLBT characters with fairness, integrity and respect. Where was the controversy when “Philadelphia” was released?
Two of the most artful and best films of the year happen to have gay themes. Even so, they are still able to resonate with millions of people. A good film is intrinsically valuable because it has universal themes. The films nominated this year need to be critiqued based on their artistic merit rather than any perceived agenda.