Writing about the embodied humanity at the heart of good Christmas films for Reader’s Digest

Carol 2015 image
Carol (2015) © The Weinstein Company

This December, I had the chance to write for Reader’s Digest about Christmas films – and, specifically, the question of what makes a good queer Christmas film. As a bisexual film critic, it’s a question that interests me.

It’s also a question that I suppose has been on my mind ever since I watched the supposed romantic comedy Happiest Season (2020) – which is referenced in the article – and disliked it. What went so wrong in this film? How might other films do better?

The article also offered a chance for me to write about one of my favourite Christmas films (and one of my favourite films more broadly), Carol (2015) (which was absolutely robbed at the Oscars, incidentally). It’s a beautiful piece of cinema and well worth (re)watching. Bonus points for starring one of Australia’s best-loved actresses.

And to anyone who wasn’t aware that I am bisexual… here is an article I wrote about Australian politics and gay rights back in 2018, for Overland, partly to do what I could to help sway public opinion in the lead-up to the national marriage equality vote. (And, later, articles about Mary Oliver’s poetry and parental rights and IVF in France – the signs were there! It’s not much of a secret! And it’s something I’ve known since 2015, so it feels like old and rather dull news, to be honest). I’ve never felt especially comfortable with labels (I’m don’t want to fit into a box; I’m not a toaster) or with talking openly about sexual attraction of any kind (the idea of ‘coming out’ has always frustrated me – for whose benefit is such a declaration? What is meaningful and empowering to some can feel like a culturally-mandated performance for others – and I’ve tended to resist such declarations by consequence). Yet I obviously have personal, political, and intellectual interest in writing about queer culture and politics, in spite of my reticence; so if you were wondering, or already fumbling by instinct for a cardboard rectangular prism; well, here’s your answer (again!). I hope you enjoy this article.

Merry Christmas!

— Rosalind