Based on a true story, Elisa y Marcela tells the story of the first same-sex marriage (on record) that occurred in Spain. On June 8, 1901 Elisa Sánchez Loriga pretended to be a man and married her girlfriend Marcela Gracia Ibeas. The film, currently streaming on Netflix, captures the love in this story wholeheartedly. Director, Isabel Coixet took great care in telling the story of these two women and it shows in every frame of the film.
It’s in the way that Elisa and Marcela fall in love, the smallest of moments carry a palpable kind of passion. Isabel Coixet allowed the intimate scenes the amount of respect that they deserved, she used the quiet moments to her advantage and built a relationship that you whole-heartedly believed in. Though the film doesn’t shy away from showing the difficulties that these two women had to face, the movie kept returning to the love between the two of them and its what it all so extremely special.
Natalia de Molina (Elisa) and Greta Fernández (Marcela) felt like authentic representations of these two women. They navigated the performances at a beautiful pace while staying true to the heartbreaking reality that Elisa and Marcela went through.
In the 1900’s when Marcela and Elisa were falling in love, it was considered blasphemy for two women to be together and same-sex marriage was illegal. Can we take a moment to admire the power of love? Marcela and Elisa took the biggest risk when Elisa dressed up as a man and they got married by a priest. Though their love was beautiful and though it transcended all of the beliefs at the time, I struggle to call the story beautiful.
The LGBTQ community has been the target of harassment since the beginning of time and though we like to wave our rainbow flags and pretend that we’re past all that, the reality is that same-sex marriage didn’t become legal in Spain until 2005. Not only that, but as we speak, the Supreme Court is currently deliberating over three cases in regards to the legality of firing someone over their gender identity/sexual orientation. The steps forward we have taken, have been baby-sized ones. Though I am grateful for stories like Elisa y Marcela, we must continue fighting for the rights that we deserve; lets make these two brave women proud.