National Anthem Is a Queer Love Story in Rural New Mexico

Charlie Plummer in 'National Anthem' (2023), image curtesy of LD Entertainment

Behind the beautiful rural western landscape that bleeds pure Americana, National Anthem is a coming-of-age about falling in love and self-discovery. National Anthem will mark Luke Gilford’s directorial debut and it looks to be an emotionally moving one.

The film follows the story of Dylan (Charlie Plummer), a young man who is living in rural New Mexico. He works to support his family by taking the odd job. He eventually finds himself at the House of Splendor, a homestead that is kept up by a group of queer ranchers and rodeo performers. It is as if he is experiencing life for the first time. He is awakened by a community that opens him up to all these different life experiences such as bull-riding and being put in drag for the first time.

As he continues to work on the ranch, he meets Sky (Eve Lindley), a trans woman who lives on the ranch. He becomes enamored by Eve and the rancher’s way of living. It cracks Dylan open and he begins to see life in a new light. 

(L-R) Mason Alexander Park, Eve Lindley, Charlie Plummer in 'National Anthem' (2023) image curtesy of LD Entertainment
(L-R) Mason Alexander Park, Eve Lindley, Charlie Plummer in ‘National Anthem’ (2023) image curtesy of LD Entertainment

National Anthem shows a deep love and celebration for queer existence in rural America. I love the idea that we are beginning to move past the classic tropes in queer cinema. We are allowing stories to be told just through a queer lens. Rural America isn’t the first place that you think when you think about queer people existing. I think that is what draws me to this story the most. It shows audiences something all queer people knowqueer people exist everywhere. National Anthem’s trailer is filled with pure authentic queer joy. Gilford creates this queer utopia with the National Anthem filled with queer rodeos and ranchers. 

Dylan carries the weight of supporting his family and the ranch seems to open his heart to accepting happiness for once. Self-discovery is something everyone can relate to, we are all trying to find what drives us. We are all looking for that great adrenaline rush that feels like a first kiss.  

My only encounter with Lindley, who plays Sky in National Anthem, is her performance in Dispatches From Elsewhere. She was incredible to watch during the series’ run. I immediately was a fan of her work. It makes me excited to see her take on the character of Sky and what she does in this film. 

Directed by Luke Gilford, co-written with David Largman Murray & Kevin Best, and starring Charlie Plummer, Eve Lindley, and Mason Alexander Park, National Anthem will be in theaters on July 12, 2024.

Written by Chelsea Alexandra

Chelsea is a freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast and will talk to anyone who will listen about her favorite movies. She enjoys drinking a late night coffee that will keep her up all night and explaining why Armageddon (1998) is one of her favorite films.

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