If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, this will be something you no doubt agree with. Fortunately, the representation of queer sexuality on screen has improved over the last few years so if you’re looking to see a reflection of your life and sexuality on film, there are a large number of movies to choose from.
Making a list like this one isn’t easy as there are so many excellent LGBTQ movies out there. There are loads that we haven’t had room to feature here, including Portrait Of a Lady on Fire, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Beach Rats, and Mysterious Skin, to name a few. As such, we apologise if your favourite movies aren’t on this list!
But if we have missed a movie that you think deserves a mention, please leave us a comment in the reply section below and share your thoughts on it with us. Be sure to also let us know if you agree with the ‘best’ picks that we have listed here.
Love, Simon (2018)
Greg Berlanti’s movie focuses on closeted high schooler Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) who is afraid to come out as gay to his friends and family. But when a classmate anonymously comes out on the school blog, Simon contacts the teen and finally finds the courage to reveal his sexual identity.
Love, Simon is a movie that will relate to most people within the LGBTQ community, which is something that can’t be said about every movie on this list. Trying to find the courage to ‘come out’ isn’t easy, especially within a school environment, and that is surely something many gay, bi and trans people can identify with. I don’t know if this movie gave people within the community the courage to come out – I suspect it may have inspired more than a few – but regardless, it’s still great to see a mainstream movie that deals with the high school experiences that many gay young people go through.
A Fantastic Woman (2017)
Transgender actress Daniela Vega stars in this heartbreaking movie about Marina, a transgender woman who is coming to terms with the loss of her loving boyfriend. This isn’t just a tale about grief, however, as one of the movie’s primary purposes is to highlight the prejudices and injustices that people like Marina have to suffer from people outside of the trans community.
The movie is sometimes to hard to watch due to the cruel acts that are inflicted upon Marina. However, she is no easy victim. As we watch her summon up the courage to stand up for her human rights, we see somebody who is strong and resilient and, as the title suggests, a fantastic woman! In short, she can be an example to any one of us, regardless of our sexuality. The movie will likely fill you with righteous anger after watching the struggles that Marina goes through. Let this inspire you to stand up for your own rights and the rights of those people around you who are being unfairly treated.
Joe Bell (2020)
On the 29th of February 2013, 15-year-old Jadin Bell took his own life after being mercilessly bullied for being gay. This inspired his father, Joe, to walk across the United States to raise awareness about teen bullying using his son’s tragic death as an example. This movie charts Joe’s journey and while it is an undeniably sad tale, it’s also a hopeful one, as Joe’s testimony encouraged many schools to adopt anti-bullying policies in support of their LGBTQ students.
According to The Trevor Project, suicide is still the leading cause of death among young people, with LGBTQ youth four times more likely to consider suicide than their peers. This is shocking but thanks to people like Joe Bell and movies like this one that raise awareness about the bullying that happens to gay, bi, and trans young people, it can be hoped that suicide will become less of a release for those who are feeling intimidated.
Fire Island (2022)
Fire Island is a thinly-disguised adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice but rather than focusing on a group of women in buttoned-up corsets, it’s focus is on a group of gay men who are less likely to be wearing anything at all! It’s quite rare to see a mainstream movie like this one as most raunchy comedies feature male leads who are either white or straight. In Andrew Ahn’s movie, the guys aren’t only queer but they are Asian-American too so there is more than one kind of representation highlighted here.
The movie is often hilarious as it delves into ins and outs of the gay dating world but while it largely offers up some good, sexy fun, it also makes some pointed observations about race and sexuality. As can be seen in the scenes where the group of friends are patronised because of their ethnic origins, this includes the prejudices that can exist among members of the gay community. I don’t know what Jane Austen would make of this adaptation of her classic work but if you’re looking for a movie that celebrates the queer lifestyle in glorious fashion, you will likely approve of this one.
Barry Jenkin’s Oscar-winning movie about the Black gay experience was rapturously received by critics and movie audiences alike and understandably so, as this is an incisive examination of what it means to be gay while living life in the ghetto. The story revolves around a young man named Chiron and his experiences of living as a closeted gay person throughout various chapters of his life, from a bullied childhood to life as an adult where he feels forced to prove his masculinity.
The movie is a powerful one, more so because of the achingly real performances of the actors who portray Chiron over the course of his young life. Through their work, we see him transform himself from a sensitive young soul to a hardened figure within his urban community. But despite his external appearance, he still has the longing to truly be himself and not the person that the people around him have made him to be. We can’t all relate to his ghetto experiences but the movie should resonate with anybody who has hidden their true self because of the expectations of others.
I Killed My Mother (2009)
Xavier Dolan directs and takes the leading role in this French-language movie about a young gay man called Hubert who has a contentious relationship with his mother. Everything she does irritates him, from the way she dresses herself to the way she eats her food. This causes them to fight constantly until things come to a head when Hubert’s mother decides she can take no more of his angry outbursts and sends him off to boarding school.
Dolan has said in interviews that the film is largely autobiographical but while it might be true to his own life, it can resonate with anybody who was an ‘angry young teenager’ when they were growing up. The movie is as much about Hubert’s experiences of growing up gay as it is about his feelings towards his mother but unlike similar coming-of-age movies, his mom isn’t altogether disapproving of his sexual choices. If only he could have shown more tolerance towards her!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
This British musical is based on a real-life teenager from Sheffield who not only wanted to be a drag queen but who also wanted to express his feminine dress sense at his school prom. Needless to say, the teachers at his school weren’t very approving! The true story behind this movie is worth delving into if you can track down the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. This musical adaptation captures the heart of Jamie’s story and his attempts to be himself, despite the prejudices of both his school and his disapproving father.
There is the preconception in the movie by one person that Jamie wants to be transgender but that isn’t the case at all. He simply wants to live life as a gay male while sometimes dressing up as a girl. And why shouldn’t he? We are often forced to conform to society’s rules but sometimes, these rules stop us from expressing ourselves freely. This is a big part of the LGBTQ experience but while some movies would explore these struggles in a downbeat way, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a mostly upbeat and funny movie with only the occasional moments of heartbreak and sorrow.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Upon its release, this movie gained a lot of attention because of the 8-minute-long sex scene that earned the movie the dreaded NC-17 rating in the US. But while the movie daringly leaves nothing to the imagination, the focus on the girls’ sexual exploits drew attention away from the other aspects of the movie, such as the themes of coming to terms with sexual identity and learning to feel comfortable in one’s own skin.
The central relationship between Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux) is powerfully performed by the two young leads and we follow their journey from their initial introduction to their eventual splitting up. In many ways, their relationship is not unlike the relationships that we might experience as it’s easy to relate to their insecurities and desires. The movie is overlong and the central story could have been told in half the time but thanks to its honest approach, it’s still better than the more-restrictive Hollywood movies that haven’t dared to express gay love with such authenticity.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
At the time, director Ang Lee’s movie was somewhat groundbreaking because it featured two straight Hollywood actors taking on the role of gay men in a loving and sexual relationship. It could have been seen as a bad career move for Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall but the movie was a success and both actors were highly praised for their tender performances.
The movie focuses on the forbidden love between two cowboys who carry out their affair in secret because of their ‘normal’ family lives back home and the societal prejudices in the 1960s that forbid homosexuality. The story spans several decades and it leads to a tragic end that is absolutely heartbreaking.
The movie will resonate with any married man still living in the closet for fear of disclosing their sexual identity. But sometimes facing up to who we are and letting our loved ones know is better than living a life that is a lie and that ultimately causes us inward misery.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s lush coming-of-age film could be considered somewhat controversial because of the taboo-busting relationship between 17-year-old Ello (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s 24-year-old graduate student assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer) during one hot summer in Northern Italy. But this is no exploitative film as the central romance between the two is sensitively handled, and unlike the recent revelations about Hammer’s personal life, there doesn’t seem to be any notion of perversion within the character he plays here.
The two men bond over their love of music, art, and the films of Luis Bunuel, but as romance blossoms between them, there is the knowledge that their time together is brief. When they part ways near the end of the movie there is a sense of sadness as we and they know their relationship is unlikely to continue. Those sad feelings we feel might also relate to memories of our own sexual awakening and our own first loves; those people that we fell head over heels in love with but had to say goodbye to when our paths took a different turn.
So there we have it, our Top 10 LGBTQ movies that we recommend you definitely check out.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!