I listened whispers of Margarita With a Straw when it initial came out in 2014, mostly among my romantic friends. It looked like a cinematic unicorn we’d been acid for: a adore story between dual infirm women of color, presented yet sensationalism or pandering. The best film out there about crip queers. Legitimately fun. we had my doubts – since honestly, immoderate media as a infirm chairman is an practice in disappointment. When a film that romanticizes committing suicide so your robust partner won’t “miss all a things someone else could give her” grosses $205 million worldwide, we learn not to design much. So we was discreet when Margarita finally popped adult on Netflix. Could it be? Was it unquestionably that good?
In short: yes, mostly.
Margarita is flattering damn tighten to a film I’ve always wanted. It’s funny, touching, visually rich, and usually somewhat too romantic toward a end. Its protagonist, Laila, fulfills many of my dream criteria for infirm characters. And save for a few veers into idle storytelling (one in sold – we’ll get to that), it sets an enlivening customary for what infirm odd film can demeanour like, and what it should already demeanour like by now.
I’ll gangling we a ton of tract adult front; copiousness of robust reviewers have that handled. Suffice to contend that Laila leaves her home nation of India for New York, where her intelligent palsy and rising bisexuality hit to blow adult her whole life. She falls in love, reckons with her physique image, comes out to her family, endures ruinous loss, and generally does a lot of vital in an hour and 40 minutes. But what strikes me about Margarita isn’t a arc of a story or a vital events; it’s a small details, and as many what doesn’t occur as what does.
The initial half hour alone facilities Laila removing into arguments, doing artistic work, swearing, amatory her family, celebrating her college acceptance, and masturbating in her wheelchair – roughly of nothing of that we ever get to see infirm folks do on screen. And that final one, of course, shows us where we’re headed a rest of a way. Yes, this is a “disabled chairman discovers their sexuality” movie, yet Laila is never healed (literally or figuratively) by that discovery. She’s one of a messiest characters in this movie. She’s awkward about her desires since she’s reckoning them out for herself, yet an robust savior. And in fact, when her aha impulse comes, it’s not pleasantness of some white man who “likes her anyway” – it’s interjection to Khanum, a blind Pakistani-Bangladeshi badass who woos her during a military savagery criticism (AKA a gayest accommodate lovable of all time).
It helps that Laila and Khanum’s attribute is, well, hot. You can feel that they’re into any other from a start, and Khanum in sold comes opposite as someone who entirely embraces what she wants. She says “I usually like to be who we am all a time” and means it. And when she reaches out to hold Laila’s face since she “just wants to see her,” it’s simply a sexiest stage so far. She’s doing what she has to do to flirt, and as a result, knows how to use her body. She isn’t perplexing to censor from a realities; she’s voluptuous since of rather than notwithstanding her blindness.
And that’s a best partial of Margarita: it doesn’t “despite” disability. Laila and Khanum’s disabilities matter in their lives. And we know what, appreciate God. Because so mostly we’re told – by management figures, poignant others, ourselves, and yes, media – that a “solution” to incapacity is to minimize a presence. Margarita counters that incapacity doesn’t need to be solved. Instead, it opts for a truth: some people are disabled, and many of us are out here being happy and doing stuff. We’re not indispensably ill (there’s notable contrariety between infirm and ill bodies in one delegate storyline), a disabilities can change figure day to day (Laila uses both a energy chair and a walker), and we aren’t usually happy since it creates means folks feel good. We are happy since we suffer being ourselves. Imagine that.
Okay, about that hapless veer. we don’t wish to give it some-more ink than it’s worth, so here’s a gist: after they pierce in together, Laila cheats on Khanum with Jared, a cute-I-guess British man who forms adult her records during category during NYU. (At slightest we know she’s exercised her rights in a incapacity services office. Ugh.) Anyway, this tract is so tedious it’s exhausting. There are so many some-more engaging attribute problems than “whoops, a bisexual one couldn’t keep it in her pants.” Especially since Laila categorically identifies as bi – she indeed says a word, that is singular in film/everywhere! – we was so let down when a writers done her into a Unfaithful Slut. Bisexual characters too mostly get blamed for ruining relations and I’m sleepy of examination that. At a same time, saying a infirm lady a) make a enormous mistake and b) pursue her passionate desires to a forward grade was kind of refreshing? So we couldn’t hatred it as many as we wanted to? Shows we usually how carnivorous we are for precocious infirm characters.
I am unquestionably disappointed, though, that both of Margarita’s leads (Kalki Koechlin and Sayani Gupta) as good as a executive (Shonali Bose) are robust in genuine life. That indeed astounded me given how well-received a film has been among infirm folks; we naively insincere that anything we favourite that many had to underline during slightest one tangible infirm person. Guess not! Admittedly, Koechlin and Gupta do an excellent job, and according to interviews Bose is bisexual and has a cousin with intelligent palsy, so it’s not like she’s pulling all this from nowhere (as robust people are cannot to do). But still, it’s frustrating to comprehend that even in a best film of a kind to date, genuine illustration – over good behaving and secondhand bargain – apparently stays too many to ask.
Disabled characters are gathering adult in some-more and some-more media, and it’s past time to start doing a genuine work of employing infirm people to play ourselves. Margarita With A Straw fails on that front, yet offers a clever authority on how to negotiate a tract and nuances of a infirm story. This was a best we had in 2014; now we wish a film that’s usually as plain and made by infirm folks on both sides of a camera. Margarita can’t be a usually choice for infirm characters who aren’t true white dudes. Cue it adult on your subsequent Netflix afternoon, see what it does well, and then let’s take a subsequent step. There’s so many some-more to do.