Thursday, January 28, 2021

Did Charlize Theron portray the first LGBTQ action hero in 'Atomic Blonde?'

Editor's note - Trump may be gone (thank God), but the policy established by this blog to every now and then focus on light LGBTQ issues in order to de-stress ourselves will continue.

Openly gay actor  Wentworth Miller made a comment in a recent article which got me thinking. To summarize, he was tired of gay roles which are defined by struggles and sadness. He wanted more roles which put LGBTQ people in a position of power and authority. And I agreed with him. I have long wanted to motion picture featuring a gay black man as an androgynous action hero who saves the world while beating the hell out of bad guys.  To tell the truth, I would settle for seeing any LGBTQ action hero doing all of that. I thought I had never seen that portrayal before.

It turns out that I was wrong. I had seen the character before. And so had a lot of America. In 2017, Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron starred in the hit motion picture Atomic Blonde. In the movie, she portrays undercover agent, Lorraine Broughton, trying to retrieve a missing list of double agents. Check out the trailer:


Although Lorraine never openly identifies her sexual orientation, she does have an encounter with the French agent, Sandrine (Sofia Boutella).


AMC Scene says this about the encounter:

Lorraine suspects Sandrine has a murderous motive for following her, until she questions James McAvoy's David who answers: "You're an attractive woman. Do the math." 

 Meeting Sandrine at a club, Lorraine decides that the best way to investigate the French operative is to get up close and personal — really personal. But it seems that this isn't just a clandestine sexual encounter to feel out a potentially hostile agent — Lorraine clearly takes great pleasure with this part of her mission. Saying "you look like you need saving," Sandrine's fascination with Lorraine is combined with a budding affection, and later shots in the trailers show Lorraine, post-coital, looking with care upon the French agent. Of course, people close to Lorraine tend to turn up dead, so one-night-stand or not, Sandrine and Lorraine's fling is sure to be short lived

By that passage, you can probably tell that Lorraine and Sandrine's relationship will end in tragedy. I won't reveal what ultimately happens, but I will say that Atomic Blonde faced criticism because of it. (Editor's note - the above link contains movie spoilers. Don't read it if you don't want to know how the movie turns out). However, I think that the criticism in this case is unwarranted. Atomic Blonde is not a serious drama which exploits the LGBTQ character as a to-be-discarded plot device. It's an action movie with guns, fighting, and all sorts of violence. People tend to die in these movies, no matter what sexual orientation they are.  And a lot of folk meet the Grim Reaper in Atomic Blonde.

Also, when I say Atomic Blonde is violent, I mean it as an understatement. Theron did her own stunts in this movie and as you can see in the following scene, girlfriend had serious commitment:

Personally, I liked Atomic Blonde and the fact that the lead character was an LGBTQ person only made the movie better in my eyes. I'm from way back in the day when we didn't see LGBTQ characters in action movies shooting the guns and kicking the asses. I've seen LGBTQ characters in these movies as either the comedy relief, the character you just know will be murdered, or both. There was one action movie I saw in which the gay character was not only the comedy relief, but he ended up getting  tortured by having a hot curling iron shoved up his rear. And the action movie was not a comedy. So you can imagine how I felt watching Theron portray an LGBTQ person making mincemeat out of the villains. It felt like nirvana. Or better yet, 27 mini-orgasms every time she killed a bad guy.

I subsequently own TWO copies of Atomic Blonde.

No comments: