Why the Gay Subplots in ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Don’t Go Far Enough

Why the Gay Subplots in ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Don’t Go Far Enough
[Editor’s note: This post discusses the plots of “The Lighthouse” and “JoJo Rabbit.”]

In the golden age of Hollywood, queer desire had no choice but to hide in plain sight. There are countless examples of classic films with obvious queer themes, even if they were not explicitly stated — “Ben-Hur,” “Rope,” and “Spartacus” — to name a few. Gore Vidal’s original script for “Ben-Hur” was quite overtly queer, pretty clearly implying that Ben-Hur and his enemy Messala were once lovers, but it was toned down in the editing process. But there was a reason for it then. So when movies include sheepish allusions to queer desire 60 years later, they come up short.

In “The Lighthouse” and “JoJo Rabbit,” two movies that couldn’t possibly be more different, men who battle demons together form unusual bonds. Both movies come from wildly inventive filmmakers with styles so specific their films can feel like their own mini-genres, but they share half-baked gay
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