At Artforum, Melissa Anderson eviscerates Ronald Emmerich’s new film on Stonewall, whose trailer provoked calls from queer folks for a boycott when it was first released in August. Here’s an excerpt of the deliciously scathing review:
A CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY, so the New York Times reported on Monday, to create a national park recognizing the Stonewall uprising of June 1969. As it happens, I read that article while en route to a screening of another commemoration of the legendary queer insurgency: Ronald Emmerich’s Stonewall, a ghastly project that places a lily-white muscle twink from Indiana as the tour guide for that pivotal event, with various trans characters and street queens of color assuming secondary roles and providing emotional succor to the Aryan beauty. The casting and storyline notoriously ignited another LGBTQ intifada—if only on the spleen-soaked battlefields of social media—in August after outraged viewers of the film’s trailer called for a boycott. While sanctioning any cultural product after having seen only a promo spot has never struck me as a savvy tactic, I’ll admit that many of Stonewall’s political failings are borne out in that roughly two-and-a-half-minute clip. What the trailer does not adequately prepare you for, however, are the movie’s stupefying mise-en-scène and dialogue crimes.
Image: Still from Stonewall via Artforum