Love, actually

Yes, that film. You know the one I’m talking about.

If you’re like me, you probably watch it during the holiday season and indulge in the gooey moments the film is full of. Maybe you pine after Rodrigo Santoro and wonder why he did not get more screen time, or you wish someone the likes of Colin Firth would ask you to marry. No matter. It’s silly. But this is the kind of film Hollywood churns out for days like today that keep lonely hearts hoping for love and coming back for more.

There is one glaring omission in the film however: the inclusion of a gay romance. I can’t fail to note this by the end of the film when lucky couples enjoying the promise of love embrace their paramour and lose themselves in the kiss of their beloved. For me, there is no love story in the film that reflects my feelings and sentiments, and like other gay men, I end up sublimating my longing through the stories of straight characters on screen.

Luckily, independent filmmakers are circumventing Hollywood’s politics and prejudice, showcasing films and stories for lonely hearts like myself in alternative media outlets. It’s far easier to find gay affirming love stories online than in theaters, and many of these films are as schmalzty as a Hallmark channel holiday feature. Others, like God’s Own Country, are highbrow art films worthy of the praise and awards they earn.

For this Valentine, I thought I’d share some of my favorite gay-affirming love short films that have made me pause, cheer, cry, and hold my breath when I watched them first. On days like today, I turn to these stories to see myself in the eyes and lives of these characters and lose myself in their stories.

If you’re like me, and are home alone this evening with no one to kiss, dim the lights, light a few candles, wear something that makes you feel sexy – or better yet, nothing at all. Sidle on the couch next to me. Pull the blanket over us, hold my hand, and click play. Be my Valentine for one night. Enjoy!

In a Heartbeat

Tremulo / Trembling (Spanish in English subtitles)

The Language of Love