Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our series, Queerantined: Daily Dose. Every weekday as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a binge-able title to keep you extra engaged.
The Unreal: The Matrix Trilogy
Nobody in 1999 thought of The Matrix as a queer film. Audiences and critics called it many things: provocative, seminal, groundbreaking and magnificently entertaining, but even the most astute critics wouldn’t have labeled it queer cinema.
How time changes things. More than 20 years on, the Matrix trilogy remains one of the most wildly successful franchises in film history, full of landmark effects, eye-popping visuals and thoughtful science fiction. It also plays as deliciously queer, whether general audiences are aware of its subtext or not. For one thing, both co-directors Lana and Lily Wachowski have since come out as transgender women, and become vocal supporters of the LGBTQ movement. More importantly, though, the film’s themes and plot points–meeting on the internet, finding an underground, multicultural community, working to overthrow a patriarchal despot and rejecting gender mores–align so well with the state and goals of the modern queer community, it’s scary. For anyone that doubts, take this upcoming long weekend to revisit the entire trilogy. Though the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions earned just criticisms on release, upon a repeat viewing the subtle philosophical and metaphysical assertions of the movies begin to make sense.
Revisiting the films will also remind viewers why they were so popular to begin with. Moreover, with The Matrix 4 resuming production this week, we think the OG trilogy the perfect break from our current Desert of the Real.