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    Off the Wahl: Complicated, Free, and Proud

    By Jan Wahl–

    A few columns back, I raved about one of my favorite unseen movies: 2004’s Pride. Based on a true story, this is a movie perfect for this time of year … and any time of year. Here are a few others that I dearly love and recommend for appreciation and insight.

    Angels in America (2003) is a six-hour miniseries about the AIDS crisis in New York circa the 1980s. This adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize winning play is massive in scope yet touching and healing in its cohesive structure. It tackles sexuality, politics, and racism, yet provides us with unforgettable characters each time. Al Pacino is perfectly cast as Roy Cohn, while Meryl Streep is remarkable in three roles including a rabbi and Ethel Rosenberg. One to see again.

    Angels in America

    When I championed our next movie, I received hate mail. It’s nice to know this remarkable film upset these losers. Brokeback Mountain (2005) was a gay romance that broke through to mainstream culture. Ang Lee’s beautiful tale of two cowboys in love is based on a short story by Annie Proulx, and was brilliantly acted by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Straight and gay audiences alike lined up for this achingly told-for-truth portrayal of a relationship that is fighting for air but gasping for breath.  One of the most beautiful romantic films ever.

    Brokeback Mountain

    Stephen Fry was born to play one of my heroes: Oscar Wilde. Wilde (1997) takes us through the playwright, poet, and novelist’s tumultuous journey, fame to professional and personal failure. Fry himself not only looks like Wilde, but also is a poet, playwright, and novelist himself. Jude Law is perfectly cast as Bosie; Vanessa Redgrave and Michael Sheen costar. We have Oscar Wilde on our Rainbow Honor Walk. He deserves his place there … and everywhere else.

    2011’s Cloudburst is a rollicking tale of a lesbian couple forced to escape to Canada in order to make their relationship legal. The unconventional dynamic duo is played by Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker, amazing actresses. Both rowdy and rousing, Dukakis almost outdoes her Anna Madrigal from Tales of the City! I tried to get the word out on this lovely romance. As is often the case with good movies, it never received the distribution it deserved. Check it out for yourself and take the journey with these wildly remarkable women.  

    Happy Pride Month. We will rock on!  

    Emmy Award-winner Jan Wahl is a renowned entertainment reporter, producer, and teacher. A member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America, she is regularly featured on KPIX television (every Monday morning starting at 6:15 am) and on KCBS AM & FM and other media outlets. To read and listen to her reviews for KCBS, go to: For more info about her remarkable life and career: Check out her entertaining and informative videos at

    Spotlight Film for SF Pride 50: Vita and Virginia (2019)

    By Jan Wahl–

    Vita and Virginia

    Vita Sackville-West is determined to meet her literary idol Virginia Woolf. It is the 1920s in London. Sackville-West is a writer and broadcaster, famous for her radical feminist views, especially on marriage and sexuality. She is also wealthy and gorgeously fashionable. Woolf is known for her unusual writing and elusive “mad woman” persona. The two embark on an affair that later inspires one of Woolf’s most popular novels, Orlando. Based on the words of Sackville-West, the film is especially fine in its characterization of an otherworldly and very troubled Woolf. Vita and Virginia presents a complicated romance that led me to Google afterwards … I wanted more of these two women!     

    Published on June 11, 2020