Back in March, The Mary Sue proclaimed Here It Is, the Victorian-Era Interracial Lesbian Murder Mystery Movie You’ve Always Wanted. I’m not gonna argue with a headline like that, so I threw Mystère à la Tour Eiffel onto my-to-watch list. I’m going to cut to the chase – it was good enough that I watched it twice. ^_^
Louise Massart is a (gasp!) divorced woman in Paris in 1889, just as the Eiffel Tower has been completed (and, loathed by most of Paris,) for the 1889 World’s Fair. (I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored the Eiffel Tower in real life. It was a sugar confection of a building. And at night it sparkles, so cute.)
A friend of Louise’s is arrested for killing her husband; although she was found in a closed elevator, holding the weapon, she had no recollection of doing the deed. Louise is convinced that Charlotte has been set up and proceeds to investigate. When she is arrested for her father’s murder, she understands that this is much bigger than just her or Charlotte.
The plot takes her to a lesbian bar in late 19th century Paris, in the company of a magician’s assistant Henriette who takes no shit about her race from Louise. The two later conspire to free Louise from a madhouse, where she has been sentenced for murder. The plot was complicated enough that it was worth watching the story a second time to catch what I had missed the first time around. And it made an awesome watch on the plane to Queers & Comics. Very appropriate, as the story is somewhere between comic booky- and Mystery! on PBS.
The sexual tension between Henriette and Louise is handled better by the actresses than by the plot, which tries to shoehorn them into a relationship, when the one they were building on their own, was actually better. Both Marie Denarnaud and Aïssa Maïga did a lovely job of watching each other hungrily. I quite enjoyed that. ^_^
So, was Mystère à la Tour Eiffel the Victorian-Era interracial lesbian murder mystery movie I’ve always wanted? It certainly was damned close. If I could have a Henriette and Louise mystery series (and if Louise would just wear that one teal dress a lot, it was so fetching and Henriette that dark red dress which looked just brilliant on her,) I would be a very happy person. ^_^
Cinematography – 6 It looked like a TV costume drama mystery, you know the sort….
Character – 9 Even the bad guy was…good.
Story – 8 Absurd? yes. But exactly just the right kind of absurd
Service – 4 Yes, Victorian underwear is so exciting
Lesbian – 9 A lot of flirting, little making out, and a happy ending.
Overall – 9
It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it when you need to think about nothing much except the pretty clothing on the pretty Victorian Parisian lesbians.