I have a confession to make: before starting this column, I had only seen about 2 classic lesbian films. I know, I’m a bad queer. When I admitted this to my fellow GO coworkers, they were appalled. Two of them quickly listed off at least 10 films I needed to watch right away. I rapidly wrote down the titles (for research, obviously).
I want to take you all along with me in my quest to review all of the lesbian classics through my Millennial queer lens. Last week, I reviewed the first ever lesbian film “Mädchen in Uniform.”
This week, I watched the hilarious adventure film “D.E.B.S.”
This week, we’re in for quite a ride with “D.E.B.S.” a hilarious and kitschy spy film that has a lesbian love story at the center of the plot. The D.E.B.S. (Discipline, Energy, Beauty, and Strength) is a badass secret paramilitary academy filled with girls donned in plaid mini-skirts and matching ties. *SWOON*
The film follows the top squad, including: Amy, the top of her class who’d rather go to art school and fall in love; Max, the ambitious D.E.B. who wants to do good by her bosses; Dominique, the snotty French girl who has her way with men; and Janet, the ditzy girl who is always forgetting where she put her gun.
This is the kind of film that you hate to love and can’t stop watching even though it’s so cheesy. It kind of reminds me of a lesbian version of “Charlie’s Angels” meets “Spy Kids.” If you’re looking for a good laugh and a non-depressing lesbian film — I’d highly recommend.
The girls’ current mission is to follow Lucy Diamond — the master villain who has endless plans to ruin the world. The D.E.B.S. are sent by the academy supervisors, Miss. Petrie and Mr. Phipps, to survey Lucy when she’s expected to be partaking in criminal dealings. Instead, the D.E.B.S. observe Lucy has been set up on a blind date by her chief henchman and bestie Scud, to meet Russian assassin, Ninotchka Kaprova.
After the date between Lucy and Ninotchka goes horribly and ends in a shootout — Amy meets face-to-face with Lucy and lives to tell her friends about it. Her friends freak out because no one has ever lived after meeting master villain Lucy Diamond. The attraction between the two of them was palpable, though Amy isn’t ready to admit it yet.
Right after she meets Amy, Lucy gets in the car with Scud and tells him about her new crush. She heads over to D.E.B.S. headquarters to capture Amy and when Janet catches them sneaking out, she’s forced to come along for the ride too. The two cutesy D.E.B. agents find themselves at a punk-rock party with some of the most notorious villains in the world. But all Amy seems to be able to think about is how hot Lucy is.
The vibe suddenly gets a whole lot less villain/agent like and a starts to feel a whole lot more like these two women are on a date.
“You’re so not what I expected,” Amy tells her.
“Well, that’s a good thing,” Lucy responds.
Right before they’re about to kiss, Janet butts in with some homophobic comment, expressing her surprise that the two women would lock lips. Amy has to blackmail Janet to make sure she doesn’t tell anyone about their sordid night.
“This is not the Girl Scouts, this is espionage,” Miss. Petrie tells the girls as they discuss back at headquarters how to take down Lucy Diamond. Little did they all know the truth behind what was actually happening.
As the love story advances between Lucy and Amy during a bank robbery turned “capture” of Amy — it feels just like any old cheesy teen film. And I love that. Giving young queer girls representation in every genre of film is so important. We deserve more than depressing and heartbreaking lesbian films — which are the current majority.
As the D.E.B.S. encroach on their supposed rescue mission of Amy, the two women are getting hot and heavy in Lucy’s bed. Amy gets caught in the throes of her love affair with Lucy and while she’s still allowed to stay in the D.E.B.S. — she can’t get Lucy out of her head.
She’s so clearly in love — the kind of love that she craved at the beginning of the film. The kind of love that is messy and takes over your every thought. Lucy tries to prove her love to Amy by returning all her stolen goods to show that she doesn’t want to be a villain if it means she can’t be with Amy.
As chaos erupts in the final scene of the film where Amy declares her love for Lucy in front of the entire D.E.B.S. academy, the two women run towards one another. The music swells as they fall into each other’s arms where they first met. When her friends catch up to them, there is a heartwarming moment of acceptance of her queerness and her relationship with Lucy.
“If you break her heart, I will hunt you down,” Max tells Lucy when she finally accepts their relationship.
And so, the number one spy and the most infamous villain run off into the sunset together to fall madly in love.
This film is an amazing mixture of comedy, action, romance, and coming-of-age with an albeit predictable plot-line, but has you feeling moved by the end of the film. My favorite aspect of this movie is that it’s a comedy-action film that just so happens to have a lesbian love interest at the center of the plot.
The moments where Amy comes to terms with her identity aren’t filled with depression; they’re actually filled with so much joy. Because she realizes that the kind of love she’s after is tangible — she just happened to be dating the wrong gender all along. And her friends’ moments of coming to terms with her queerness weren’t filled with hate or inability to understand; they were fleeting moments of confusion followed by acceptance of her identity.
So while this film might be kind of silly, it gets queer representation right. For that, I give it 5 stars.