BL Movie Before the Fall (2016)
Filmmaker Byrum Geisler, interviewed after the film’s showing at the 2016 Virginia Film Festival, noted that he was inspired to portray all of Pride and Prejudice “backwards,” and indeed he does. The most remarkable difference between the two works would be the change in focus from feminism to sexuality. While staying true to Austen’s general storyline, the alterations in characterization and relationships make Geisler’s film fresh and innovative.
In this most creative millennial version, Darcy is a poor “real” man who seems confused vis-a-vis his sexuality, and unable to admit his gayness —although pairing him up with a woman whose character simultaneously embodies both Lady Catherine and Caroline Bingley, two of Jane Austen’s most hated characters, is enough to send any man looking for alternative love interests. Bingley too is a man who lives close to the earth, and is not particularly well off: a startling depiction of the man who, in Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, was sought after by many for his incredible affluence. In another socioeconomic class reversal, the Bennetts in Before the Fall are relatively prosperous, and the older Bennett brother counsels his sister Jane against pairing her future with a man of such uncertain prospects as Bingley.
Before the Fall
comments on how gayness is the same kind of social taboo as marrying someone from a different class in nineteenth century England, but it also comments on the perception of more feminine gay men, who face a stronger prejudice and cannot hide their sexuality.