Anna (Anna Margarita Albelo) has just turned 40 and is having a bit of an early midlife crisis. After leaving college she had dreams of finding love and having a glittering filmmaking career, eventually deciding she would sacrifice the former for the latter.
However she’s now finds herself with neither, she’s living in someone’s garage, and she can’t even organise herself enough to put in a grant funding application on time. Her film career – while initially promising – has come down to her dancing around in a vagina costume.
Then Anna meets the beautiful young Katia (Janina Gavankar), who inspires her to put together an all-female film version of the classic Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?. Although Anna tells all around her that it’s about the artistic vision, it’s really a way to get Katia to notice her. She’s not going to mention that to Katia of course, and also seems oblivious when another woman shows interest.
Who’s Afraid Of Vagina Wolf? is a sweet and funny romantic comedy, with plenty of wit and a genuine interest in its characters and exploring the life of a modern lesbian, all with a slightly postmodern edge which thankfully doesn’t feel too forced. Anna’s journey is a well thought out and interesting one, as she negotiates what she wants out of life, and tries to figure out whether she’s self-delusional and harbouring internalised homophobia.
It’s helped by the fact it has a great cast, including Guinevere Turner and the wonderful Carrie Preston, along with the sharp eye of writer/story creator/star Anna Margarita Albelo. The film also takes a well-placed and well-intentioned poke at a lot of gay-themed entertainment, particularly those that only pay lip-service to modern LGBT experience, as well as the particularly gay male obsession with including as much sex as possible.
It’s not too often that an LGBT-themed rom-com manages to feel authentically gay and universal at the same time, but Who’s Afraid Of Vagina Wolf? does (all too often it feels likes there’s a big ‘GAY’ stamp plastered over a film, or it whispers it quietly – and in both cases ends up with a film that isn’t like any real gay person actually lives their lives).
Overall Verdict: A fun, sweet and yet very sharp look at modern lesbian life, the lies we tell ourselves (and to those around us) and coming to realise that if you haven’t lived up to the promise of youth, it’s not always 100% someone else’s fault.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac