“The Aggressives” would make a great name for a British punk rock band, or at least a great name for a movie about a British punk rock band. Hmm, let’s see. You could cast Jude Law as the charismatic lead singer/songwriter who’s battling addiction to both heroin and mohawk-coiffed groupies. Ewan McGregor could play the guitarist with a hidden penchant for leftist politics and environmental activism. Then throw in Billy Idol as a smarmy, aging punk star-turned record executive who’ll sign the boys to a three-record deal…if they promise to let him sing on a Ramones cover on each of those three records…
Sorry. Got caught up in the high concept moment for a second there.
What “The Aggressives” really is, is an all-access look into the world of several New York City butch lesbians. Far from being the curvy Barbie doll centerfields who play lesbians in porn movies and who pop up in men’s and, one would presume, many lesbians’ fantasies, these women are, as one of them describes herself, the quintessential butch-dykes. Many are built like men, and indeed, are often mistaken for men when seen in public. That nearly all of them dress like men only adds to this common misperception.
But the one common attribute on display amongst all the aggressives in this stripped-down documentary from director Daniel Peddle, is their attitude. These chicks are tough, and not just the ones who could pass for linebackers. Even the most outwardly feminine subject, a woman who’s actually done some modeling work, displays an aura full of more machismo than anyone this side of Jack Nicholson does.
Yet, “I am woman, hear me roar,” is the clear undercurrent running throughout this proudly matter-of-fact film. While these ladies might not be the girls next door, “The Aggressives” kicks us in the a*s and reminds us of the vast range of physical, mental and emotional attributes the human race can encompass. In fact, what might just be this film’s greatest strength is how it shows that no matter how “different” we might appear to be on the outside, what’s on the inside is what provides our common bonds.
Not that the male ego will ever really comprehend, mind you, why a hot woman would rather go out with an Aggressive woman who looks, dresses, and often acts like a man, rather than going out with the real thing.
Sounds like a song Jude Law’s punk band could perform, to me.