Andrea Hildebran

The Gay Golden Compass

Filed By Andrea Hildebran | December 10, 2007 8:28 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Ian McKellan

I'm likely to enjoy anything that upsets the religious right, so I went to the big Christmas movie this weekend, The Golden Compass. It was entertaining, with stylish fantasy landscapes and costumes, and a vaguely satisfying rant against authoritarianism. I enjoyed myself, but...

... basically was bored enough to sustain a running list in my head of tangentially gay things I could identify as the film went along. The child-oriented story had practically zero sexuality to it, so there was almost nothing to work with, but I found my material:

The main character, Lyla, is a typical Plucky Orphan Girl with lots of proto-lesbian qualities: wits, loyalty, ability to hide important secrets, a taste for adventure, and poor judgment in the women she goes on trips with.

Lord Asriel is played by Daniel Craig, who I put in the notable category of men I'm definitely attracted to even though I'm a lesbian (It's him and Harrison Ford). Lord Asriel is all tough guy - brash scientific theories, bullying his funding out of the college in the face of schemes to kill him and his research, heading off to the ends of the earth on his own. The curiosity of little Lyla about her solitary mentor gave me fodder for a possible gay plotline, but then nasty Ms. Coulter may have had relations with him, so scratch that...

Nicole Kidman's vampish Ms. Coulter is a cross between Cruella DeVille and Mommy Dearest, who initially has very little room for non-cartoon character development. But there are some good twists to her story and I may actually buy the two next tickets in the trilogy to see them resolved.

Gay actor Ian McKellan voices the polar bear, although the bear is quite macho and given no mate preference opportunities. McKellan and his bear are by far the richest characters in the piece, mostly because of the fabulous animation, but also because of something quite separate from the film's own story. I got emotional every time the polar bears were on screen thinking of them racing toward extinction as a result of our gassy excess. Great ploy by the filmmaker (probably a gay filmmaker).

The Magisterium, the film's evil empire, is an obvious stand-in for the catholic church with cathedrals and grandees in brocade cassocks who abduct children and crush their souls.

Those souls themselves have to be the gayest thing about The Golden Compass. The daemons are animal companions embodying each human's soul and walking around with them throughout life. Fluffy and needy, they provide comic relief, wise counsel and cat fighting when the human characters are too (I have to say it) boring to do it themselves.

It's a visually pleasing movie, but they have been almost too successful in making the people as cartoonish as the daemons. Anyone who grew up not quite fitting in and yearning for an antidote of truth will enjoy Lyla's quest and The Golden Compass. If there are other tangentially gay elements that I've missed, please comment away...


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Cruella? Mommie Dearest? I assumed they modeled the movie's Ms. Coulter after the real life Anne Coulter except not nearly a big a sociopath.

It was a great movie, my roommate and i saw it yesterday..

There must be something wrong with me i usually don't look for the gay elements in a movie...

A couple of days before we saw Enchanted now that had some gay elements in it but they just
jumped out at you....


Take care
Susan Robins

We had a friend over on Sunday night who told he he's gone to see the movie too. He also said it was incredibly boring. He suggested a triple shot Starbucks espresso before going to the theater.

You're quite right. Thanks for the correction.

I don't think I'm going to go see that movie now!