Writer-director Sandra Goldbacher’s 2001 feature Me Without You champions the girl who gets overlooked and now serves as further evidence for the kind of actress Michelle Williams was to become. Attempting a British accent, Williams plays mousy intellectual Holly. At first glance, she is no match for her glamorous best friend Marina (Anna Friel). But the film makes clear that Holly is the better, more substantial person, especially by her jealous confidant’s own estimation. We’ve seen this dynamic play out between Betty and Veronica, Angela and Rayanne, and Nina and Nina. But it also challenges the binary I constructed between Holmes and Williams. Why is the girl with the most cake cast as the villain while the wallflower is valorized for being ignored?
The 2009 romantic drama Adam features a relationship between a non-autistic woman and a man with Asperger syndrome. Any portrayal of autistic sexuality has the potential to be subversive, but unfortunately this particular movie squanders that potential and reinforces existing tropes about autism and disability.
I'm about to wax rhapsodic about a cheesy, transparently manipulative martial arts film. But seriously: Prachya Pinkaew's 2008 movie Chocolate is the best film I've ever seen that features an autistic protagonist. And it's the only piece of media I've personally encountered that features a nonverbal protagonist.
Darnell Martin's I Like It Like That may push the boundaries of the Bechdel Test, but its insights into black Latina motherhood, sisterhood, and professional identity are fascinating, rare, and in need of recognition.