“Velvet Goldmine” is a Glam Rock Gem
How Todd Haynes mines symbolism.
Throughout the centuries, art has established visual symbols still accepted and recognized today. Cinema often creates its own symbols by giving them meaning and connecting them to certain events. Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine uses production design to present a symbol as compelling as any in the cinematic canon—an emerald that belonged to Oscar Wilde which represents queerness, acceptance, difference, and sexual liberation. One could say the same of the film itself, as Haynes crafts a gem of a movie that is wholly symbolic of glam rock, representing that bedazzled musical genre and the time period that birthed it with sincerity and affection. It certainly helps that Velvet Goldmine is a powder keg of powerhouse performances from Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Fandor’s favorite of the bunch, Toni Collette. As a result, Velvet Goldmine is one of Haynes’ best works, further cementing his status as an architect of the New Queer Cinema movement.