Love is in the air. For those good old-fashioned couples who want to celebrate their boy-meets-girl story, there are quite a few rom-com films to choose from, for a cozy Valentine’s Day film viewing. You won’t run out of choices. But how about for those girl-only couples? There’s at least one: Below Her Mouth could be the perfect Valentine’s movie for lesbians.
The film, written by Stephanie Fabirizi and direted by April Mullen, takes on an interesting female-only perspective. By that, it’s quite literal: it was produced by a female-only crew, save for a few males in the cast.
The Female Perspective
The trouble with the depiction of lesbian romances in mainstream film has always been the skewing of the depiction for male movie goers. That’s not to say that females can’t enjoy such films. But it’s not surprising to find elements in those films meant to engage or titillate men, specifically. That’s the reason that films like Black Swan (Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) or Jennifer’s Body (Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried) even marketed their lesbian love scenes.
Below Her Mouth seeks to do away with those elements and engage viewers with a mindset of “what women really want”. It tells the story of Jasmine (Natalie Krill), a fashion editor, who meets a roofer named Dallas (Erika Linder). With Jasmine feeling distanced from her fiance, the two begin a sexual affair.
The trailer is below (WARNING: NSFW):
Mullen was certainly aware of the challenges of telling a particular love story like this: getting the details of the intimacy, the experience of the attraction, just right. “We really wanted to bring to the screen something unique,” she says, in a story by Cult Montreal, “seeing what it’s like, through the gaze of a woman, to fall in love and lust and what that feels like for a woman.”
She had a few particular strategies in getting the film of the feel right. Mullen spent plenty of time before filming with Krill and Linder, making sure the pair developed a certain chemistry before jumping in front of the camera. They also filmed the movie sequentially, as much as possible – shooting the characters meeting first, before building up to the more intimate scenes.
More Style Than Substance?
The reviews of the film seem to come to a consensus: the love scenes in Below Her Mouth are in, fact, pretty hot and heavy. However, the film’s script leaves much to be desired, in terms of building Jasmine and Dallas up as believable characters in a realistic affair. Linda Bernard of the Toronto Star goes far enough to call the dialogue “hollow”.
Andrew Parker of the Toronto Film Scene was a little more positive. Though he agrees that while some of it can be corny, the film “effectively conveys what it wants to”.
For the lady looking for something to catch with her special lady, Below Her Mouth still looks like a choice pick.