If you know rom-coms, you know the "best friend" is a small, but essential piece in the movie. You might not notice him or her. But without the BFF, there's no impetus for poor decisions, soundboard for the fears of commitment, or a person to effectively track the protagonist's necessary growth so they don't end up as a homeless spinster.
In many rom-coms, that BFF is a GBF -- a gay best friend.
From Nigel in Devil Wears Prada, to Damien in Mean Girls, Patrick in Perks of Being A Wallflower, Scott in Celeste and Jesse Forever, Brandon in Easy A, Sean in Burlesque, Christian Stovitz in Clueless, andStanford Blatch in Sex and the City, there's no shortage of GBFs. Hell, they even made a movie about the trope, literally called G.B.F.
Most of the many gay best friends to hit the screen have two things in common; they're played by Stanley Tucci, and they're men.
In Juliet, Naked, the new Judd Apatow-produced comedy based off the book by Nick Hornby (Brooklyn, An Education, High Fidelity), there's a gay best friend, or should I say, lesbian BFF.
The movie centers on Annie (Rose Byrne), the long-suffering girlfriend of the leader of a fan club for a has-been singer (Ethan Hawke), who develops a romance with her boyfriend's musical obsession. The charming film digs into regrets, forgiveness, and learning to love yourself and your choices. There are many remarkable things about it (besides the fact that Ethan Hawke literally screams a gently-aged rock star), but what stands out is what's on the sidelines.
Annie's best friend is her hilarious lesbian sister, Ros, played by Lily Brazier. Although we'd never pass up another movie with Tucci, Brazier's quirky, straight girl-chasing BFF offers what queer women rarely see: ourselves.
There's a charming relatability to the character, who like many queer femmes, is surrounded by hot girls who will commit to a sexual experiment but not a full medical trial. Ros embraces the modern frustration of contemporary lesbians. Ros makes out with a hot date and brings her home for dinner, who happily chats about her boyfriend at the table.
The trouble isn't coming out, it's finding someone to go out with.
But this representation shines in other ways. It's a reminder that lesbians have straight friends, and how there can be meaningful, platonic relationships between queer and straight women.
Ros and Annie are buds who laugh together, stick up for each other, and never have any intention of sleeping together. It's a rare movie that appreciates female solidarity and allows female best friends active love lives. These friends are usually asexual (which is totally fine) or married off and beyond bored. In Juliet, Naked the two women do what two women do -- try to help each other find love, while loving each other in the meantime.
When I came out, it wasn't hard for my male friends. If anything, it disrupted my female friendships. Being the GBF is hard for women. Some of my girlfriends were insulted I wasn't attracted to them. Others ignored my queerness entirely. One girl got unfriended after she invited me to a threesome with her boyfriend. But movies like Juliet, Naked, which portray queer-straight friendships as normal (if not hilarious) are moving the needle.