Chasing Amy


In the past decade, we have seen hundreds of movies exploring human sexuality from major motion pictures to poor but well-meaning independent films. For the most part, these movies have been promoted as pictures which push the envelope and tackle issues society refuses to talk about; in reality, however, society has been talking about these issues for years. For decades, filmmakers have been examining sexuality in their works but experiencing little success. One of the first pictures to do this successfully was "Chasing Amy."


Chasing Amy is a 1997 film written and directed by Kevin Smith. The film's plot follows Alyssa Jones, a lesbian as she embarks on a friendship with Holden McNeil, played by Ben Affleck. Though Holden is aware of Alyssa's sexuality, he cannot stop himself from falling in love with her; soon, to the surprise of the audience, the two begin a romantic relationship.


Smith's film centers around sexuality and the permanence of orientation. It is controversial to say that "homosexuals can become straight" but surely if a person can spend much of their life believing they are straight only to discover that they are gay, the same applies for a gay person. Alyssa, however, isn't changed by a radical Christian minister, she is changed by her friendship with Affleck's character. This would seem to imply that though we think we are of a particular orientation, we may in fact be more open to change than we think. Was Alyssa bi-sexual? Or was she pansexual?


Pansexuality is the attraction to personality rather than gender, which seems to be the sexuality of Alyssa, though she was unaware. Her relationship with Holden, however, does not survive the quirks and hang ups of McNeil and soon she is single again. Towards the end of the film, we cut to a year later and see Holden at the same comic book convention he met Alyssa at a year earlier. Despite a short conversation with Alyssa, the two do not end up together; instead, we see Alyssa has now entered a relationship with a woman.


There is no doubt that human sexuality is a complicated subject which has always been of interest to artists and filmmakers. Of all films to exam love and orientation, Chasing Amy comes the closest to getting it right. We can't help who we fall in love with, no matter which orientation we label ourselves as.

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