Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

How can William Hurt be gay, its not true!!!

Jailed for immoral behavior, flamboyant homosexual Luis Molina (William Hurt) passes the time by detailing scenes of his favorite romantic movie to fellow inmate Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia), a hard-edged political activist. Slowly, the two forge a bond based on mutual understanding and respect.

Kiss Of The Spider combines about three elements: the odd couple, political activist, and feminine homosexual. Sounds like a film that really can go wrong, but how it doesn’t it whats best to see.

The one thing about this film that makes it a lot more culturally significant is that Brokeback Mountain always gets the credit for breaking ground with gay people, when really people have forgotten totally about this film.

The one great thing about Kiss Of The Spider Woman is that it really doesn’t dive into the prison aspect of the film. Yeah their locked up and we all know that but it doesn’t go over almost every time that these guys are in jail and showing how horrible it can be.

The film focuses more on the relationship between these two prisoners. They are both prisoners of society in way or another and you see this through their own actions, and minds. We understand what these characters have done before, and how they got to jail which brings up a lot about the government and a society where we can’t be free enough.

There was one problem that I really did have with this film, and its that it felt a bit too much like a play. All the scenes with Hurt cavorting around, dreaming about this movie he loved, came as very show booty for me, and acted more as a playwright.

William Hurt did receive an Oscar for this, and now I can see why. He really does create this character that at a time in America, not many people understood Gay people for what they were. But Hurt gives us this heart felt and real look at a homosexual with such huge feelings of grief and desire, and it really is a splendid performance. Raul Julia does even better as well, playing the straight-forward prisoner who never wants to let his gaurd down, but gradually starts to let more and more of himself come out in this performance.

Consensus: Kiss Of The Spider Woman may seem too much like a play, but has great lead performances, a heart-felt message, and a good look at homosexuals in a world that wasn’t accepting it.


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