Pride Month is here! For this month’s celebration, FSOG is exploring the LGBTQIA+ world, from the people who comprise it to the spaces they gather. You can watch a live stream of a parade or other celebration, or watch a film or documentary on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. If you’re taking to the streets or voicing support at home, celebrating queer communities has never been more important.
The only question is: Where to begin? If you are looking for the best LGBTQIA+ movies, new or old, we have the list for you. These LGBTQ+ movies offer everything from memorable romantic comedies to educational documentaries that will make your Pride complete. Happy Watching!
- Love, Simon (2018)
Anyone looking for a heart-warming, sweet, and goofy romp to accompany a Pride celebration can stop searching. As the first major studio film to focus on a gay teen romance, Love, Simon, starring the ever-charming Nick Robinson, broke ground. An enjoyable and thought-provoking movie, this film combines romantic comedy and coming out stories to tick every box of a movie lover’s wish list.
- Moonlight (2016)
The Academy Award-winning Best Picture, Moonlight, by director Barry Jenkins mimics some of the formulaic elements found in other coming-of-age stories, but it does so with such inventiveness and originality that to compare it to anything else is unfair. In three acts, ‘Moonlight’ depicts the life of a Miami pre-teen through her teenage years and into her young adulthood. Chiron’s aggressive and neglectful mother struggles with substance abuse, leading to increased peer pressure as he comes to terms with his sexuality.
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- Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Timotheé Chalamet plays a boy who at first likes his father’s temp assistant; Armie Hammer. Delicately set in the 1980s, Call Me by Your Name is a film about a boy who falls for Armie Hammer. It’s their little intimate moments – like locking eyes and light banter – which keep you constantly rooting for this couple. Their complicated relationship unfolds in the heat of an Italian summer and is a master class in desire. Oh, and the visuals are simply exquisite.
- Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Brokeback Mountain, based on Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name from her collection Short Range, follows would-be cowboys Ennis and Jack played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal respectively, through decades of their increasingly tragic lives. Placed in the 1960s, the story spans two decades and revolves around their torturous affair and the cultural conventions that keep them apart. It’s just as beautiful now as it was when it was made, thanks to masterful performances from everyone involved and Oscar-winning direction from Ang Lee.
- Tangerine (2015)
The sparkling Kitana Kiki Rodriguez plays transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella, who seeks vengeance on the man who cheated on her and the cisgender woman he cheated with in director Sean Baker’s low-budget tour de force. Tangerine is a one-of-a-kind viewing experience that is both bittersweet and hilarious. The film, directed by Sean Baker and written by Baker and Chris Bergoch, is notable for its portrayal of trans characters by trans actors, which is still uncommon, and for being shot entirely on a cell phone.
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- The Handmaiden (2016)
Set in 1930s Korea, during the Japanese occupation, a young girl named Sook-Hee played by Kim Tae-ri is hired as a handmaiden to Lady Hideko, a wealthy Japanese heiress played by Kim Min-hee. But there is more to it than meets the eye. The plot revolves around a con man posing as Count Fujiwara puppeteering Sook-Hee played by Ha Jung-woo. He plans to seduce the lady in order to defraud her. Lady Hideko and her handmaiden, on the other hand, develop a deep relationship. Park Chan-thriller wook’s is based on a 2002 novel titled Fingersmith. It stars Cho Jin-woong, Moon So-ri, and Yong-nyeo Lee and depicts a turbulent relationship, betrayal, and mystery.
- God’s Own Country (2017)
Johnny Saxby, played by Josh O’Connor, is unhappy with his family’s sheep and cattle farm in Northern England and lives a life of hard partying and casual one-nighters. While this film has been compared to a modern Brokeback Mountain, the plot revolves around two men discovering and exploring their love rather than their sexuality. Despite its drama, God’s Own Country is pure and brave, dealing with emotional acceptance rather than confrontation. The icing on the cake is that it’s just really, really aesthetically pleasing and good cinema!
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Céline Sciamma’s historical French drama will take your breath away. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel star as a painter and her unwilling subject, whose intimate time together sparks a secret romance that threatens to tear them apart. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a moving and poetic film that deserves to be seen more often.
- Pariah (2011)
Dee Rees wrote and directed the film, which stars Adepero Oduye as a 17-year-old boy. Pariah is a masterpiece in its own right, capturing the sweetness and pain of both self-discovery and self-determination. Alike leads a double life, dressing femininely at home under the watchful, at times wrathful eye of her mother Audrey (Kim Wayans), and exploring masculine presentation and Black lesbian culture at the clubs she visits with her friend Laura (Pernell Walker). At her mother’s insistence, Alike begins spending time with Bina (Aasha Davis), a church girl, and discovers they have more in common than she expected.
- Paris Is Burning (1991)
“Paris Is Burning” is a seminal look at 1980s New York ball culture. This documentary follows the lives of ball contestants who identify as Latinx, Black, gay, or transgender, capturing the community’s warmth as well as the individuals’ dreams. Keep an eye out for the dazzling drag performances, as well as a shining example of the debt that wider culture owes to Black and brown trans and queer people.
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