“WAITING FOR THE MOON”–Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas


Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Amos Lassen

I remember watching “Waiting for the Moon” several years ago and loving it. I just discovered it has finally transferred to DVD and it is still as amazing as it was. Stein and Toklas were early out gay women who moved to Paris where they could live freely and without discrimination. A fictional account of their lives there is presented in this movie which is so tender and so beautiful that it can be watched over and over. The best word to describe this film is lovely—lovely in all of its aspects–cast, photography, acting, etc.

Literary maven Gertrude Stein was a forerunner of both the modernist movement in literature and gay rights. The director of the film, Jill Godmilow, took impressions from Stein’s writings and with the screenwriter Mark Magill has woven a story of incredible beauty. The movie spans the year 1936 when Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas hosted many literary giants at their home. This film is the unique story of friendship and “evokes the ambiance of a fascinating moment in literary history”. It is love affirming and life affirming in that it is gorgeously filmed, excellently acted and beautifully written.

The respect that these two women commanded as an openly lesbian couple was something America was not ready for but Paris welcomed them. They became friends of some of the greats in the arts including Picasso and Hemingway. Their art collection was world famous as were their literary salons. Linda Hunt is nothing short of perfect in her portrayal of Alice and Linda Bassett is amazing as Gertrude. As they live the gay life in gay Paree, the who’s who of the world of literature, music, and art come in and out of their lives. To be invited to their salon was one way of announcing to the world that one has arrived. This beautiful love story is imbued with wit and the love of the director is felt throughout the movie. We just don’t have these kinds of movie anymore. As I sat there and watched it again I thought that I was really lucky to have a chance to do so. It is a small film that leaves a big impression and it is one to add to the list of films I want to own. I think many of you will feel the same.

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