Finally, A Spanish Lesbian Version of ‘The Birdcage’
Unlike Happiest Season, where the young characters walk on eggshells so as not to disturb their parents’ deep-rooted homophobia (which is never adequately addressed at any point in the movie), So My Grandma’s a Lesbian! (aka Salir del Ropero) is a film where the young people are the homophobic ones and the old ones are desperately begging them to please stop hating themselves and just let them live already.
My biggest problem with Happiest Season was how homophobia was positioned as the norm, something all gay kids need to go through and should be patient during. Just a lil hate-filled bump in the ‘ole gay road. But really homophobia is horrible. It’s like sooo fucked up. It’s disgusting and straight-up weird to dislike or disown a loved one because of who they’re romantically or sexually involved with. And we need to always position it that way. Fortunately, So My Grandma’s a Lesbian! did.
The movie — which kind of feels like it was edited by somebody who’d had a couple of cocktails — opens with Celia and Sofía, the grandmas who fall in love, at their absolutely sick house in the Canary Islands. The highlight of this film is for sure the location. I’ve never thought about going to the Canary Islands but now it’s the only place I ever want to visit. It’s absolutely stunning and it’s honestly hard to pay attention to the lack-luster dialogue when there’s volcanic mountains you could stare at instead.
We learn that Celia and Sofía are hiding their relationship from their family, who all suck. Except Perla, who is Sofía’s daughter and the “Jane” of this movie. She’s supposed to be “weird” but we’re not sure why she acts the way she does or what her motivations ever are. She does nothing the entire movie other than say “weird” things that are irrelevant to the scene or occasionally climb on people.
Then we cut to somewhere else in Spain (i think?), where Eva, Sofía’s granddaughter, is at a party with her future in-laws. That’s where we learn her fiancé’s parents are homophobic and pro-Brexit and pro-Trump. Seems odd Eva wouldn’t already know any of this considering she’s engaged to the guy. Have they not had a conversation yet??
After learning that his family is homophobic, Eva suddenly leaves the party — she’s just like “i’m gonna puke gtg bye” — and calls her mom and asks her to meet her in a random ally. Why they couldn’t just meet at a restaurant is unclear. She asks her mom for “help” with her future in-laws, but never says exactly what she needs. Her mom is like “I was actually at a dinner party when you called but like fine I guess.”
Then they’re suddenly at some palace with Eva’s future in-laws? The scenes in this movie are abrupt and the cuts are wild and sometimes happen mid-conversation. We’re constantly changing locations — buildings or sometimes whole countries — without explanation. It’s at this random palace where Eva calls her grandma and finds out she’s gay and getting married to her life-long friend, Celia. For some reason, Eva freaks the fuck out despite being cool with the gays in Act I. She runs to tell her mom who is like “calm down we’re all a little gay” and Eva’s like “SPEAK FOR YOURSELF” and it’s like okay chill???Eva tells her mom she wants to marry into this fancy family because they have “high ideals” and “values” — but they’re homophobic?????
Eva goes from being very concerned with her future in-laws’ homophobia to suddenly being the most homophobic one in the movie. She leaves her fiancé’s family’s palace immediately and goes to the Canary Islands to, I guess, demand her grandma be straight? Like, your grandma’s not even at the palace pre-wedding party whatever, and probably isn’t showing up to the wedding, so why would your future in-laws even care if she’s eating pussy thousands of miles away? Also, before leaving the palace, Eva has sex with her fiancé and they have very strong siblings-or-dating energy.
This movie’s plot seems like it would’ve maybe worked in the 90s but now doesn’t really make sense. It’s kind of like The Birdcage, only the guy in that movie was lying to his future in-laws because they were actually going to meet his parents and it was the 90s and they owned a drag bar. He didn’t fly to Florida and make his dad pretend to be straight just for the fuck of it. Eva’s motivation seems odd, seeing as it would’ve been 400x easier to just lie about your grandma being straight than missing your bridal shower so you can force her back into the closet.
(Also, Celia keeps saying she’s coming out of “the wardrobe” (because it’s more feminine??) and the original title of the movie, Salir del Ropero, translates to Leaving the Wardrobe. It was Netflix’s idea to change it to So My Grandma’s a Lesbian! and I can’t. America ruins everything. The exclamation point! It hurts.)
When arriving at the airport in the Canary Islands, Eva dramatically runs after “the last bus” but it’s pouring rain (obvi) and she’s almost hit by a car (but in like a cute way). And thank god the driver’s hot!! The man, Jorge, agrees to drive Eva wherever she needs to go and there’s an I-hate-you-but-I-want-to-fuck-you-energy immediately. (There should be studies on how we’re all damaged by rom coms telling us if we hate each other we should probably fuck.)
Their drive to Eva’s grandmother’s is the most beautiful drive I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Like ohmyfuckinggod. I have no idea what they talked about in the car. The Canary Islands are so pretty. Jorge at one point starts making animal noises? Don’t know why. He stops when Eva wakes up. Why wouldn’t she wake up though? You’re making donkey sounds??
He drives her to legit the end of the earth and Eva’s just like “k thanks bye.” Bitch offer him some money! He’s not a Lyft. And technically you ran out into the middle of the street so I don’t know how guilty he really is in all this. She goes in to her aunt’s house, which is *gorgeous* and wakes her up (!) when she’s tenderly spooning her silver fox lesbian lover. Leave your rich hot dyke aunt alone!! Go marry that Trump-loving string bean, nobody cares, Eva. Then Perla joins them wearing a unicorn onesie because that’s Perla for you. Isn’t she goofy?!
Suddenly we’re on a soccer field by the ocean and Celia rolls up on a motorbike. For someone with ADHD, this movie was hard to follow. Celia tells her friend Bienvenido, who is also a priest and a politician? that she’s gay and the pope and God are cool with it. He’s like “you need to talk to a doctor sweetie” and she’s like whatever I text the pope. He tries to tell her she’s just friends with Sofía and she’s like “um no bitch we fuck.” Then she asks him to perform the civil union and he speeds off on his motorbike and it’s really rude. What are you really running away from, Bienvenido???
Meanwhile, Sofía is walking on the beach with Eva who calls her and Celia “dykes” and I died. They both laugh when she does though? Maybe calling your aunts dykes in Spain is more chill than in the states. Idk how I’d feel if my niece pointed at me and was like “dykes!” actually i take that back that’s hilarious. But Eva is real weird about her grandma being gay and her grandma is essentially like “let me live, bitch.” The whole time I’m just thinking about Sofía’s linen pants dragging in the ocean. They’re just dragging in the wet sand. Her perfect white linen pants.
Sofía fucks off somewhere and Eva is biking down the street when she runs into Bienvenido, who is fleeing his internalized homophobia. They both commiserate about how much they hate Sofía and Celia for being in love and wanting to get married. How selfish of them! The whole town will know! A town one of them literally does not even live in! Then Bienvenido leaves for “rehearsal” and Eva continues biking because what else is this bitch doing.
That’s when she’s, no joke, HIT BY A CAR AGAIN. By the same guy! For a rom com to use the hit-by-a-car-meet-cute not once but TWICE in the same movie and with the same person is something else. At this point I think maybe his license should be revoked. The collision broke the basket off Eva’s adorable bike, rendering it unrideable, obvi, and Jorge offers her a ride (again).
On the way to Celia’s house for lunch, Jorge says he was last in this town nine summers ago. That is our first clue that these two met before. Now it makes sense why Jorge’s hair and facial hair are so wild he looks like an SNL character. Eva wasn’t supposed to recognize him. Apparently they banged like nine years ago because his mom is Celia (!!). How some facial hair could make you forget someone you had an actual physical and emotional relationship with is worrisome. Also how weird is it that he wouldn’t be like “It’s me, Jorge, Celia’s son, we fucked” ??? They also talk about whether or not love is “real,” which is very rom com.
Jorge drops Eva off at Celia’s, his mother’s, and then waits outside? So creepy. He eventually rings the doorbell and is like SURPRISE! i’m Jorge, Celia’s son, we fucked nine years ago. Eva is like “oh shit you grew a beard” and then they all have lunch, where Celia breaks the news she’s a big old lesbian. Jorge does not take it well. I swear nobody in this movie is cool. He storms off to get hammered and Eva joins him. They get really drunk and rehash childhood trauma. Eva’s like “do you have any idea how many therapists I’ve been to?” and same. They don’t hook up but Jorge pretends to be a gorilla? Because he works with gorillas… (now the animal sounds make sense) And they almost make out? It’s real weird tbh.
Meanwhile back at the mansion, Celia and Sofía are all cuddled up together being cute as shit. They are honestly so goddamn cute throughout this entire movie. My favorite part was watching them interact. Their connection felt very authentic and you just wanted everyone to leave them alone so they could be together. They really seemed into each other. All other actresses playing queer should take note.
Eva and Jorge drunkenly vow to stop Celia and Sofía’s wedding from happening for some reason. They’re afraid of their reputation in the small town? Like anybody’s gonna bother these rich old lesbians. The next night they have a dinner with everybody and we meet Eva’s brother, who randomly has a wife none of them knew about. How come he can just get married and nobody cares? He didn’t need a whole village’s permission.
He’s also weird about Celia and Sofía being gay at first but is eventually like “okay word whatever” and then says something really poignant like “we don’t know when we’ll die so we treat life like an endless reservoir” and I was like damnnnnn that’s true. Then I continued to get high and do nothing all night.
There’s another weird side plot where Celia is going on gay chat rooms as “Playful Ladybug” to talk about her love life with Sofía and get advice from other gays. I think it’s cute because community is so important when you’re coming out especially as a grandma (I imagine) but that being said “playful ladybug” sounds like you’re sliding into some DMs with some less-than-wholesome stuff. That’s all I’m gonna say. Sofía makes her promise to stop talking about their relationship online. Idk why blowing up the town is okay and a private chatroom isn’t but alright.
Eva once again begs her grandma not to marry Celia because it’ll ruin her marriage — her super healthy marriage with that guy she loves so much that she’s skipping their wedding planning to pretend to be horny gorillas with her high school ex-boyfriend. Sofía’s like “sorry your fiancé sucks and I’m a lesbian.” Meanwhile, a neurologist tells Jorge his mom’s brain is fine and everybody’s just homophobic. She tells her if Celia wants to talk to the pope let her talk to the pope. (I agree.)
Suddenly, some “local press” shows up at the mansion with a microphone and wants to “cover” the lesbian wedding. I guess this town is really small. Sofía doesn’t give them an interview so they head to Celia’s house. Eva tries to beat them there to “warn” Celia not to give an interview — these women are in their 70s can they please make a decision for themselves? Her car breaks down because apparently simply getting from A to B is very difficult for Eva.
Who shows up randomly on this same endless strip of road? You guessed it, Jorge! Shockingly, he doesn’t run her over. Jorge freaks out because Celia is a “sucker” for “this stuff” which I guess means giving interviews about her personal life to the press. He drives Eva to his mom’s place but it’s too late. She gave a televised interview, talking about her big gay love and how the pope is cool with it. (Which is sort of true.) That’s when this movie goes (even more) off the rails.
Eva kisses Jorge and then they go on a hike and fuck on a mountaintop. The grandmas are like “fck this we’re getting married.” Eva’s Dutch finacé and his mother randomly show up? I guess their father is being investigated for fraud or money laundering or something? There’s a lot happening in the last act of this film. Eva gets manolos from her fiancé and tells him she hates him. She says she loves her family and is more like them than him. But really they’re all batshit. Perla ends up drugging Eva’s fiancé (literally no idea why) and he’s tripping balls while everybody hides out from the local paps.
Eva apologizes to her grandma and Celia and Celia’s like “stop crying you’re ugly” and it’s funny. Then they all sneak out in disguise (a la Birdcage) and Celia and Sofía are married by Bienvenido, who talked to the pope who told him he was cool with it I guess. It’s never cleared up how Celia and the pope are friends, but a lot of this movie doesn’t make sense so I’ll go with it.
Celia and Sofía wear flower crowns and kiss and it’s the cutest lil wedding with the two cutest lil cuties ever. (They’re the only reason to watch this movie tbh.) They throw the bouquet and Jorge catches it. He tells Eva he loves her and she says it back and then they literally run away? Like away from their family and friends and the wedding and probably a really fun reception? They just bounce. That’s the end.
If you have recommendations for gay movies pls leave them in the comments we need help here.