I don’t know why I was drawn to Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement. A documentary about two old fuddy-duddy lesbians, the film seemed to promise the shock and awe of the oppressive ’60s to someone who gasped at and thoroughly enjoyed Mad Men‘s lesbian scene. But Edie & Thea is so much more than that.
You can blame the heightened levels of estrogen in the film’s audience for your watering eyes, but the truth is that this film about a love that spans several decades is honest and heartfelt without being saccharine. Edie, who was present at the Frameline screening, was an absolute character (and still a bombshell in all her years). Both her and Thea’s personalities had the audience in stitches as they shuffled through their memories from the years.
Despite appearances otherwise, the focus here is the relationship rather than the history. You could say that Edie and Thea mated for life, having been together for 40 some odd years before Thea died earlier this year. Even though Thea started showing symptoms of MS at age 45, their love for dancing (and each other) never faltered. Their secret? Never let joy escape. Oh, and “keep it hot!,” as Edie said Thea had put it.