When it comes to LGBT cinema a lot of the stories may leave a lot to be desired. If they aren't filled to the bring with stereotypes they are crippled by weak story lines. However, every so often we are given a film that renews our faith in the genre and most recently, for me anyways, that film was Heartland. The movie stars Velinda Godfrey as Lauren a young woman who is forced to move back home to Oklahoma after the tragic death of her girlfriend to cancer. While back at home her brother comes back to town with his girlfriend Carrie played by Laura Spencer (Big Bang Theory, Bones, Sleepy Hollow) to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening a local winery in his hometown. When he enlists the help of his heartbroken sister to create new labels for the bottles he pairs her with Carrie to oversee everything. The women start realizing very quickly that their new friendship holds more than just a platonic bond and then really take a turn for the interesting.
The story here may not be the most unique, but I do like the execution of it. It has a very real feel to it. Lauren moving back home is of course not her own choice. After spending months in the hospital caring for her dying girlfriend and letting the rest of her life fall by the wayside at the end she is left with nothing. It is a very real reality anyone in a loving relationship would have to face, but what they may not have to deal with is coming home to a mom (played by Beth Grant) who loves you, but not your lifestyle thanks to her very religious beliefs. It is pretty heart-wrenching seeing her long for acceptance and help with grief, only to repeatedly have her mom refer to her girlfriend and just her friend. You can't help but feel for her.
When you start mixing in the new feelings she begins to have for her brother's girlfriend, I think a lot of viewers will have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, her brother is Lauren's most and only supportive relative. He accepts her and lifestyle and has always been there for her since their dad died. On the other hand, while her brother may be good for taking care of the family he is a terrible boyfriend who basically ditches his girlfriend with his family (who she just met) when business calls him away for a few days. While Carrie is strong and independent she is also very much on the fence about their relationship and that rises to a head when she is faced with a much different personality in Lauren. The two women help bring out something in each other that needs to get out. For Lauren, it is finding herself again after a loss and for Carrie, it is more about finding who she really is and what she wants.
Heartland is a solid movie with real world problems that it takes on head on and does a pretty good job of it. This movie was easy to watch and the characters were relatable in many ways. I definitely recommend checking this out-out. And, Spoiler alert, it gives you a satisfying ending. Maybe not what a typical happy ending would look like, but it is the right ending, hands down.
Don't miss Heartland on Video on Demand and DVD June 6th.