Heterosexual Jill is the semi-sequel to Michelle Ehlen’s 2007 film Butch Jamie. That earlier film is a kind of reverse Tootsie, where actress Jamie tries to get work as a butch lesbian and ends up being cast in a male role. That leads to a liaison with Jill, who thinks Jamie is a man.
However you don’t need to have watched Butch Jamie to enjoy Heterosexual Jill. The film catches up with Jill five years on. She’s now decided that she wants to be straight and so has joined an ex-gay group in the hope of leaving thoughts of luscious ladies – and most particularly Jamie – behind.
Jamie meanwhile is still acting but isn’t having the greatest success as she’s now playing second-fiddle to a cat in a mockumentary. Jill decides to seek Jamie out in order to try and put a line under their relationship. However while on the surface Jill seems to be wanting to get away from women, she simultaneously appears to be trying to draw Jamie in and them blame her for it.
Jamie meanwhile has her own issues. If the confusion over having Jill back in her life weren’t enough, Jamie sees her first real live penis, which ends up with her getting confused about her own sexuality.
Heterosexual Jill is a witty, funny and undeniably charming film. Although Ehlen’s script has a few structural issues, it doesn’t matter too much as she has a great feel for characters, ensuring they’re all incredibly sympathetic and funny.
It also has quite a few good ideas, looking at the vagaries of identity both in terms of people who desperately want to change things they simply can’t, as well as those who think they’re secure in who they are but who are challenged by ideas and thoughts they never expected to have. The film fits all that into an entertaining story and unlike many LGBT films it has a cast that can do the script justice.
I’m still not sure why films about gay men tend to be incredibly variable – ranging from the excellent to the absolutely dreadful – but those about lesbians generally seem to be pretty good (perhaps it’s because it’s more difficult to get cash to fund them, so only those more likely to be worthwhile end up on the screen, but that’s just a guess). Whatever the reason is, Heterosexual Jill is a great addition to the pantheon.
And if you do end up liking the world of Butch Jamie and Heterosexual Jill, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a third instalment coming soon – S&M Sally.
Overall Verdict: Smart, funny and filled with heart, Heterosexual Jill is a great little quasi-rom com with some smart ideas about who we are and how we handle change.
Heterosexual Jill is available worldwide via Vimeo On Demand.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac