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Breaking boundaries with love: 'What a Feeling' shines a light on queer love after 50

A scene from 'What a Feeling'

In a cinematic landscape yearning for the representation of queer personas beyond the typical narratives, Kat Rohrer’s "What a Feeling" emerges as a delightful beacon of hope and joy. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Vienna, this romantic comedy gracefully explores the intertwined lives of two middle-aged women, navigating the complexities of new love, migration, class, and sexuality with both humor and depth.

Marie Theres (Caroline Peters), a successful doctor reeling from the shock of a sudden breakup on her 20th wedding anniversary, and Fa (Proschat Madani), a fun-loving, spontaneous carpenter, find their paths crossing in the most unlikely of places—a lesbian bar named Pussy Cat. What starts as an accidental meeting quickly blossoms into something more, challenging both women to reconsider what they want from life and love.

While "What a Feeling" may tread on the familiar grounds of romantic comedy—complete with its share of misunderstandings, reticence, and relationship obstacles—it distinguishes itself through the sheer authenticity and endearing quality of its leads. The film doesn’t shy away from employing genre tropes, but it does so with a refreshing focus on characters who are often sidelined in mainstream media.

The portrayal of a queer relationship between two women over fifty is both groundbreaking and necessary, offering visibility and representation that is all too rare. Rohrer’s direction ensures that the film remains relatable and grounded, even as it navigates the complexities of its characters' lives with levity and warmth.

Proschat Madani and Caroline Peters shine in their roles, bringing depth and nuance to Fa and Marie Theres, respectively. Their chemistry is palpable, transforming their relationship from a chance encounter into a profound connection that speaks volumes about love, acceptance, and the courage to embrace one's true self. The film’s exploration of Fa’s Iranian heritage and Marie Theres’s journey of self-discovery adds layers to their characters, making their eventual coming together all the more rewarding.

"What a Feeling" might follow the rom-com playbook, but it does so with such heart and sincerity that it’s hard not to be charmed. The film's commitment to showcasing the lives and loves of queer individuals over fifty is not just commendable; it's a call to action for more stories that reflect the diversity and richness of human experience.

Kat Rohrer’s film is a testament to the power of light, fun storytelling intertwined with messages of hope and inclusivity. In a time when the representation of LGBTQIA+ stories is more critical than ever, "What a Feeling" stands out as a joyful celebration of love in all its forms, proving that there's no age limit to discovering who you are and who you love. Rohrer’s favorite scene—the confrontation on the staircase—encapsulates the film’s spirit: it’s funny, heartwarming, and a showcase of vulnerability and connection.

In conclusion, "What a Feeling" might play it safe within the confines of its genre, but it does so while breaking new ground in representation and storytelling. It's a film that not only entertains but also enlightens, making it a significant addition to the canon of LGBTQIA+ cinema and a must-watch for anyone seeking a story of love, laughter, and life beyond the conventional.

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