SERVING IN SILENCE

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Posted November 16, 2007 in Film

Back in 1995, two years after Clinton signed the shameful Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy which still mandated that gays should be kicked out of the military, Barbra Streisand (yes—she loves the lesbians too!) and Glenn Close exec-produced the story of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer’s 1989-1994 battle with the Army, which was trying to run one of the most decorated reservists out merely because she was shacked up with a gal. With two A-list actresses helming the leads (Close as Cammermeyer and Judy Davis as her partner, Diane), director Jeff Bleckner crafted an honest and moving story, low on activism and high on morality—there are no “shocking” kissing or sex scenes (as if there even could have been with the previous year’s brouhaha on Roseanne, when she puckered up with Mariel Hemmingway)—but the lack of physical intimacy, even the occasional caressing or hugging, really bummed some of us out at the time, who felt it could have been pepped up in order to refute the notion that female couples are more “friendly roommates” than passionate lovers. But, looking back, it turned out to be a brilliant unintended move that forced the sympathetic and homophobic alike to actually focus on Cammermeyer’s solid and über normal relationships with both Diane and the colonel’s four Mormon sons. Keeping it tame is a novelty these days—with girl kissing now completely appropriated by the straight-porn set—and kicking gays out of the military, while still company policy and occasionally enforced, seems like just another thorn the government sticks in its own side; with recruitment at an all-time low, this is perhaps the one time in history when being openly gay can actually save your life. Please pass the Color Me Barbra. (Stacy Davies)


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