The Top Best LGBTQ movies to watch – Reduce your Homophobia!
From “Carol”, “The Handmaiden” and “Moonlight”, the last of a set of years have not only gave us some of the Best LGBTQ movies but also managed to narrate beautiful stories which are not only mainstream but some of them being queer. These films have dominated the awards, this season as many of them have been successful, commercially as well. While the impact of the cinema is increasing day by day ever since 90’s, this set of indie films and non-indie films are compromise a list that you should follow. If you’re homophobic, watching these films will actually put you in the shoes of the homosexuals and make you understand what all they undergo.
If you observe the previous gay and lesbian stories, most of them are limited to smaller budgets because of the speculations they have about the flourishment but now in the last two decades of the 21st century, the movies started being scrappy and snappy with DIY aesthetic about it. The films that are listed below in the list of Best LGBTQ movies will show you a rapid shift from them just being sleazy romantic films to the films that have the ambition to show the contemporary state of the LGBTQ community in a new wave. Therefore, go through the complicated, hilarious, soul-searching and sensual movies for you.
Here’s a list of Best LGBTQ movies for you:
#1 Tarnation (2003): Jonathan Caouette has edited this extensive chronicle in an astonishing way. This bumpy story is his own life story and he has literally edited it on his Mac using the iMovie software with basically no budget. However, as the story of the movie has been profound, it has received the Sundance acclaim. However, the story of the production is not exciting like every film but the final product turned out to be emotionally exhausting. He has threaded the footages from the childhood, his troubled adolescence and the time when he dealt his very own mother’s mental illness, the time when he realized his own sexuality etc. Caouette has managed to merge the intoxicating and indulging music with the aesthetic video and combined them with undulating currents of his life. The result of this collaboration came out as a powerful window which shows the survival against the odds, turning out as an ultimate victory. Years later, the movie still remains a radical experiment which is ahead of the time and vision in the ubiquitous film industry.
#2 The Duke of Burgundy (2014): This movie is an audio-visual tribute to the European sexploitation films that are evocative of the 70’s era. The film explores and explains the sadomasochism between two entomologists. Being lesbians, it initially begins with a set of humiliating, demeaning yet pleasureful punishments and as a result, it manages to set the mindset of the audience to accept the kinky hardcore as well as the tenderly loving attitude of both the lesbians. The filmmaking of this film is the key that unlocks the eroticism of this film where the camera angles are arousing, the lighting of the film is sensuous and the upscale is titillating. As the movie goes on, you can understand that Strickland is nothing less Hitchcock when it comes to the sexual tension. Therefore, if you’re in the mood of watching one of those films that can provoke you, this is one of the Best LGBTQ movies that you should watch.
#3 Call me by your Name (2017): James Ivory despite being 89 has managed to deliver one of the best movies with the best screenplay in his career. Adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Ande Caiman; the movie is directed by Luca Guadagnino with an immense degree of sexual intensity. Filmed in rural side of Italy, the summer romance between Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet and Oliver, played by Armie Hammer is nothing less than a sonnet. Oliver, a young scholar visits the house of Elio as an assistant to his professor father and as the film progresses, we see a blooming love between them taking place in an expressionist way. The movie takes a classical approach with an overlaid subversive sensuality giving a path to the taboo relationship with entailing details. The movie doesn’t treat the desires of the characters as romantic possibilities but creates an exciting rush among the viewers. As the summer comes close, Elio understands the hard way that he’s living in a fantasy, fueled by ignited passion. The star-making performances by the cast not only delivered a promising film but also has set a promising career for themselves where you can see monologues about love and yearning from each of the characters. An emotionally riveting film as it is, it could have been released 40 years ago and will have the same impact on the audience, even after 40 years without any fade.
#4 Moonlight (2016): Taking the world by storm, this movie won the Academy Awards and you can thus call it a cinematic masterpiece and nothing less. Standing out as an inspiration to the independent filmmakers like Barry, this movie speaks about the black gay people who actually are in need of profound art experiences that can mirror their emotions. “Moonlight” is actually a representation of the gay lifestyle in backward countries and somehow it landed as an adrenaline shot for the film industry during the awards seasons. Being ahead of many gay stories that have been told for thousands of years, this movie has woefully explored all the elements in the society. Adapted from “In Moonlight, Black Boys look Blue”, a play was written by Tarrel Alvin McRaney; this triptych film talks about the identity of a black boy through three crucial stages. Jenkins said that he’s not interested in making films about his childhood but after seeing the play, he was provoked to tell the emotionally dissonant story through the different lens. Moonlight is finely tuned, wrought and executed in a beautiful way and this is why the movie has poignance spread all over it, rendering the queer elements in limelight. Moonlight, on a whole, is a good movie that portends a way for the future of Indian cinema.
#5 Brokeback Mountain (2005): Its been 12 years since we got the “Brokeback Mountain” and we haven’t forgotten it ever since. Despite the fact that Heath Ledger has died, this adaption of a short story written with the same name by Annie Proulx is sad on its own with a tragic ending. Ang Lee has beautifully directed this movie as it has put Jake Gyllenhaal in the picture with Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams playing their own dramatic roles in the right way.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, so too does the knowledge that you aren’t allowed to have that which you most desire and that pursuing it could be the end of you — there’s a reason that so many of the best romances have unhappy endings.
#6 Carol (2015): If you’re not thunderstruck by this Todd Hayne’s deep romance. Built on stolen kisses, hidden romance, and brief glances; the forbidden love is displayed in the common world between Therese an Carol, far ahead of the time they are living in. Built-in 50’s American timeline, this film is known for having timeless quality. The fight, the push-pull desire between the people and the romance between them is explored with high-time sensitivity, nuance and is garnished with poached eggs and creamed spinach making the movie appetizing to the audience who are looking for different kind of films. Enriched with high emotional quotient, sit out in a weekend with paired up dry martinis, and you’re all set for a good heartful cry.
#7 Stranger by the Lake: Alain Guiraudie’s perfect thriller; this French film got translated into English after being a success. The film is about a lakeside cruising which is known for lurking risk and the untold pleasures as well. Crafted around a compelling setting, the film begins and ends with cars getting into the parking lot. Franck, played by Pierre Deladonchamps starts a friendship with an older man and starts observing a younger person with a darker side and the two people manage to stumble into the strangers among the forest. As the days get stretched, the boredom is laid beautifully in the sun by the director with a hidden tension. The film captures the soliciting danger, erotic charge and also the thrill of anonymous sex in a cup. Considering the experience, you might think that this film is only appealing to the gay men until you actually get metaphorically amused by the raw emotions it contains. This film deals with the misconception and the trope that Gay Sex is nothing less than death and therefore is too good to even receive the slightest of criticism. If by any chance you need a film which can be used as a reference for dos and donts of a queer movie, this is your film. Giuraudie manages to strike a balance between the languorous vibe and the concise eroticism. The movie offers the audience an alluring feeling to witness things that you’re not actually shown by drawing you into the European setting with the voyeuristic glory and the sun-soaked grit.
#8 Tomboy (2011): One of the perfectly made films as it is, this 21st century succinct movie gives you an unforgettable experience. “Tomboy” is not only pure, but it deals with the confusion of a kid as she grows up. Crucially, it deals with the journey of the androgynous kid, played by Zoe Heran in the name of Laure. Laure is once, given a slate to draw her own identity when their family moves to a new block. Tomboy is an 82-minute organic movie that gives you a moving narrative of a young girl as she explores the relationship between gender, sex and identity. With Laure keeping the anatomy as a secret, many truths get revealed about how coming out of the close really matters.
#9 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): One of the most iconic films as it is, John Cameron has adapted this musical effortlessly on the bigger screen and gave the new generation, a very own Rocky Horror. The movie has gained so much hype during its period and therefore is known for launching an impressive career for the cast. John Cameron Mitchell plays the character in the title, a role that he even reprised in the latest revival. Hedwig is a provocative, soulful, yearning, philosophical, deep and yearning human being and her journey is mostly about finding the cultural and gender identity as she goes through the windows of lust and heart-ache. Her language may not exactly match up to the identity and the norms, but this is one of a film for the transsexuals where one can clearly see that Hedwig has been ahead of her time by drawing evergreen gendered lessons from Plato.
#10 The Handmaiden (2016): Again a Park Chan Wook film, The Handmaiden is one of the brilliant thrillers released in that particular year. Adapted from the novel, “Fingersmith”, written by Sarah Waters (A Welsh author), this South Korean tale is about two woman. The setting in the film has been changed from Victorian England to Korea and the way it infuses a mystery about a con man, a mistress and a maid weaves an untold beauty that you will grow curious about, minute by minute. Chan Wook has excelled in elevating the tawdry elements of the book to fetishistic elements where you will even find the woman nude churning the thriller into almost a sinister. The performances of both the Lady and the maid with whom she falls in love with relentless has been dealt in a magnificent way showing the shared struggle between both of them. Together, this movie is a perfect fit for people who want suspense, arousal and as well as love in a single plate.
#11 Tangerine (2015): This movie shows a single day in the life of two transsexual girls with audacity working in the streets of Los Angeles (Downtown). If not exaggerating, one can watch this movie multiple times and in case if you have failed to catch it back in 2015, it’s time you watch it again. Sean Baker has gained points for actually casting the real trans women as the lead and trust me, you will know how well it has paid off when you have watched the film. Kitana Rodriquez and Mya Taylor together saturate the movie with raw authenticity and you can see how professionally together they stay, throughout. Shot on iPhone, “Tangerine” was initially premiered in 2015 at the Sundance festival and it looked like a classic.
#12 Mulholland Drive (2001): All the great things come to an end in life and David Lynch has a habit of elevating them by making the ends, bloodier and darker. The story of Mulholland Drive is one such movie presented as a puzzle and for most of the vignettes, it made them recall the Pulp Fiction. All the characters in the film are interweaved with identity, love and gender variations and are purposefully given shaky timelines as well. Apart from the steaming sex between Laura Harring and Naomi Watts, this film might actually come as a sudden movie but however, it does have its fair share of puzzling scenes. Mulholland Drive is often considered as the seedy belly of the industry but shows the best love and how far people usually go to keep that love alive.
#13 Weekend (2011): Andrew Haigh has somehow managed to take us through the true romantic story with the unexpected writ and romance in the limited period and as a result, this film turns into one of the stirring examples in the genre that exhibits the power of love in immediate forms, Centered between Glen and Russell; the story starts as a spur of the moment sex between both which later develops into a full-length affair. The plot takes place over the weekends where Haigh brings the stars into the screen with passionate romance and as a result, the title justifies the full relationship of the couple within the limited time. However, this doesn’t dilute their bond but rather strengthens it somehow because of the little things and small shifts that eventually add up to the bigger emotion of the film. If you watch the film, you can see that very few couples usually share that kind of onscreen romance and both of them has managed to display it with naturalism and without any artifice that the audience will get penetrated into the film at a higher level. While the movie can actually be shown as a beautiful love story, there are other elements that Haigh has shown which can fuel the closer bond between men including the different elements of a gay sexual relationship.
#14 Milk (2008): Sean Penn, plays the role of a gay activist in this Oscar Winner made by Gus Van Sant. As Harvey Milk, he has given a full-fledged performance making this film as one of his best, important and deep performances in the life. When the film takes you through the remarkable and complicated life of Milk and then to his assassination, the people and the stories let us play with rich rewards. The big and wide life of Milk and its impact on others shows how the film is given one of a kind of vignette touch. Penn gives a strong and steady performance pushing this movie and James Franco is no less when it comes to playing his lover, Scott Smith. What’s wrenching about this film is that Milk despite being set in 1970, feels fresh today calling the action in personal and as well as political fields.
#15 Blue is the Warmest Color (2014): A long yet captivating three-hour movie spawned at Cannes by Abdellatif Kechiche before it picked the Palme d’Or. The cast along with the director has poured themselves into a wild shoot and it determines the level of dedication that they have for the film. Blue has earned a huge buzz in the film industry, because of the hot, exhausting and the longer sex scenes that obscure the fine points and the steam in the ill-fated romance between Emma and Adele. Hormonally discussing, the film opens with Adele being the exarchopoulos, slogs through the school while keeping all the desires down and dwelling in boredom and therefore, it turns out to be the perfect time for her to fall in love with the older Emma. This movie tells you that there is no love like the first one and with Adele’s exploration of sexuality and discovering sex; all her experiences are put as the facet of the womanhood and therefore, most of us will find it relatable. The audiences might flock to the film for the sequences and scenes that stuff Adele’s stained face, her desires getting reflected on the screen properly.
#16 The kids are alright (2010): Even for a tougher audience, this family drama becomes too much. Filled with wit, Lisa Cholodenko has successfully managed to divide the lesbian journey and established a love triangle in the movie. Annette Bening plays the lesbian partnership with Julianne Moore creates a cocktail with neuroses, marriages, and charms. The movie contains bitterness and as well as resentment, the movie displays the teenagers who try to upend their lives. Mark Ruffalo takes the film to another level where he is cast as the consummate guy who can allure and seduce the woman. With all the kids involved, this film is a perfect dramatic conflict digging into the discontentment making this movie persnickety.
#17 I killed my Mother (2010): Directed by Xavier Dolan, this movie marks the new filmmaking techniques. The Montreal 20-year-old actor portrays the role of a mature and startling human behavior in triple position as the star-writer-director. Playing the role of Hubert, a gay young man who is constantly put at the odds and who lives along with his mother. The movie is described as a forthcoming story as it made the waves at Cannes, but the movie is not exclusively about the sexuality. The title itself makes an evidence about the story that it would toy with the expectations of the audience and that it would turn into a matricidal horror at some point. The heated conversations between his mom and the contrast mindset of him build a tranquility in the picture along with the display of his relations with other people including his boyfriend, Antonin. The nonchalant and progressive attitude of his life disturbed his mother and as a result, a disdain situation is formed at his home. The best part about the film is that amidst all these, there are situations where one would laugh. Hubert confesses the turmoil of the sympathetic mother and her struggle in understanding her son. In a scene where he unloads the school principal with an honest and hilarious vulgar rant. The movie is intense, touching and is immensely credible embellished with a stylistic ambition making a prolific movie on the list of Best LGBTQ movies to watch.
#18 Far from Heaven (2002): Todd Haynes has managed to produce this legendary film as he made this riff on a melodrama written by Douglas Sirk. The perks of this film are that it contains start cast with Dennis Quad, Julianne Moore playing the part of the suburban family back in 1950 with characters having closeted sexuality and its impact on the future. Haynes is known previously for toying with the classic “Poison” which is kind of far from this movie is making a landmark for the director, however, this movie is known for paying homage to the sexual drama as it goes through the cracks and capacity of American people revealing the gender and sexuality in a repressive society. As a result, the characters in the films are lost in the fantasies but will soon be forced by the reality. Slightly resembling with Carol, Haynes manages to solidify the fresh perspective of the gay identity in the American periods through a contemporary lens.
#19 Pariah (2011): If you have watched Dee Rees’ latest Mudbound, you would know how capable she is and why everyone should watch Pariah. The director, being lesbian herself has made her first feature film out of a rendered homosexual story inspired by her own life. Pariah talks about the life of Alike, a teenager and her repressed sexuality till the time she decides to unbridle it. Coed by the masculine expression, the movie contains scenes like Alike changing her baseball t-shirt and hat in a train into a girl sweater as she catches the train to her home in order to calm the suspicions of her parents. However, she at the same time finds her first love in Bina, and from then, we go to the first night out, the romantic scenes between them and the self-discovery as well.
#20 Keep the lights on (2012): This film is known for having the explicitly raw and entirely unexpected scene that stays for you for years after watching it. Ira Sach is known for making films like this and despite having a mid-career; the filmmaker has taken his personal experience and drew a story based on the drug addiction of his parents. Shown as an excruciating love film full of torture, where the addiction is showing rampant in the gay communities and therefore, makes an issue film. Like his other film, “Love is Strange”, this movie also talks about the pain of the unrequited and the romanticism in love making it a brave, yet a profoundly funny film.
#21 God’s Own Country (2017): A dig into the humanity, this movie is from an affluent director who talks in the language full of tenderness and brutality. The film narrates a stunning story full of love and poetic moments. This film can be compared with the ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and if you reduce it; they both can actually be synonyms. However, the movie shows us the full-hearted gay love and whenever necessary it also displays the politics of oppression and relationships. The fight in this film is indeed internal and not with the exterior world while it reveals Johnny’s reality and gives us a new opening. Ultimately, the movie talks about the transformation of love not only between Johnny and his lover Gheorghe but also with his family. A majestic debut from Lee; you can see yourself drawn to the film.
#22 The way he looks (2014): There are just too many things that one can admire in Daniel Ribeiro’s feature about Leonardo. Played by Ghilherme Lobo, Leonardo is a blind youngster growing in Sao Paulo and taking the tentative steps towards first love and as well as independence. For the start, the cast has aced the performances and as a result, you can see the journey of Leonardo from being a sensitive new boy to the one who is attracted to other guys exploring his teen sexuality and as well as gender differences from other guys. The film on a whole looks lovely because of the Brazilian backdrop it has which has been set in the milieu instead of a repetition of the favelas for a major change. Despite all the vibes the movie has, you can’t help but feel the version seen too many times, however, it is still nice to watch it.
#23 Laurence Anyways (2012): “Laurence Anyways,” is a melodrama that has a span of 10 years of someone’s life and their love affair. The movie is an achievement for Xavier Dolan, the filmmaker who is around 24. This movie’s salvation is drafted around the recklessness of the youth and the reason why the movie excelled is that any older director would have muted the operatic scenes of the film. Dolan has let the movie fly without any fear of affectation or accusation and therefore the result of the movie has turned beautiful, big and creates a passion filled rambling immersion structuring the male to female transition. The journey of a 35-year-old teacher, this film also offers lessons on understanding, acceptance and Laurence’s reactions because of the transformation and his relations with his mother and his girlfriend. Looking for something like Danish Girl? Well, you have come to the right place.
#24 The Danish Girl (2015): If you have watched, “The Theory of Everything”, this movie is a must watch for you. Directed by Tom Hooper, it is extraordinary, subtle and exclusively crafted but also the one which pulls you in multiple directions. Hooper tells a radical story with this film in a straightforward lace. An upscale periodic drama, the movie drives attention from the people especially for the production design and also the loving attention with the subject being unsettling and raw. Eddie Redmayne has literally excelled in playing the role that we think he can almost bag another Oscar for this. The Danish Girl is the story of Lili Elbe, who is a brave transgender artist and a positive spirit for most of the transgenders, till date. Being born as a man, she survives few years and gets married to a beautiful woman both only to realize her sexuality and undergo extreme trauma, thereafter. Featuring the story of a repressed husband turn into a girl with the help of a supportive wife during the transformation this film is not just a stammer, but it contains deeply moving scenes which can bring tears to your eyes.
#25 North Sea Texas (2011): A placid and as well as an engaging movie as it is, this is a wonderful debut from Bavo Defurne, an acclaimed short film director. The movie is about a 15-year-old boy, Pim who lives in a big Belgian coastal town with his mother, a fading beauty queen. Over the period, he falls in love with Gino, the dashing boy next door and Gino also falls in love with him but is too scared to expose their secret especially to his sister who’s head over heels dappy for Pim. Defurne succeeds in mirroring the social realism through the horny and lonely story of Pim with a tinge of fog, glow and glittery stylishness. The screenplay and cinematography of North Sea Texas are brilliantly beautiful and at times, it gets hard to hold onto him, swifting in the dream.
#26 Were the world Mine? (2008): A movie that clearly talks about risk-taking, “Were the World Mine,” has many controversial elements in the list of Best LGBTQ movies. However, it has won the jury prize during 2008 Outfest and is also a musical that actually worked the “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, written by William Shakespeare. The movie is about a gay Puck roaming around the town with full of mischief and with the trepidation of the movie, you can see just so many challenges that come with aplomb. However, the movie is a great hit among the gay communities because of the content it has and even won an award at the Florida Film Festival for the crossover appeal.
#27 Shelter (2007): Shelter is a story of a young artist who is torn between his future and his family. Written and directed by Jonah Markowitz, the film can be listed as a sensitive drama. Set in the working class of Los Angeles, the movie is about Zach, a cook who shifts from having a desultory and forceful relation with Tori, his girlfriend, who acts as a father for Cody, his 5-year-old nephew. HIs passion being the graffiti, he starts spraying in the neighborhood and thinks that his sister is the reasons for the sabotage of his art school dreams. Things change when Zach gets drawn to Shaun, a writer who tries to fix and enable Zach of his passions. The two of them somehow manage to hit the surf with enthusiasm and from then the movie takes a turn to show the tanned bodies and the orange sunsets creating a huge aesthetic full of hedonism.
#28 The Birdcage (1996): Shaking a layer full of dust off, this movie actually translates “La Cage aux Folles” to “The Birdcage”. An American remake, it contains a lot of additive elements and as well as new Pizazz as well but it shows the same age as the 1979 French version and hidden ingenuity. During that period AIDS has been a major misconception in the gay community and therefore Mike Nichols has somehow managed to place the story in an AIDS-free universe full of fashion sense and political satire. As usual, Robin Williams excels as a debonair with Nathan Lane and the movie has plenty of dialogue in it.
#29 Kiss Me (2011): Kiss Me is a Richard Bean’s two-hander, the movie talks about Dennis. Dennis is a father of around 200 children and Stephanie gets gobsmacked, thrilled and shocked on learning about this. It’s then they come to know that he has slept with too many women, around 700, and has managed to be an uptight man. Bean talks about this modern problem with homosexuality in the picture and only from an unfamiliar viewpoint from a distance in subject and tone from boisterous crowd. This movie also talks about the life of widow woman, the first World War, the generation of boyfriends and husbands as it goes through four different years. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to watch a pure homosexual film, this one is the perfect one for you to watch in the list of Best LGBTQ movies.
#30 Handsome Devil (2016): Written and directed by John Butler, this film has won both the minds and hearts. Clearly, it talks about conformism and also homophobia in the setting of an Irish boarding school. The film is said to be an autobiographical and personal project for him and if you put a Venn diagram of the film, it overlaps between Sing Street and What Richard Did; but still manages to deliver a new flavor. Music plays the most important role in the film and if you’re one of those kids who has grown up alone are relatively artistic or weird, this movie is the best fit for you and our macho fetish (if you have one). What are you waiting for? Grab popcorn and sit, watch.
Less lusty than the Smiths song of the same name, the sweet-natured drama Handsome Devil studies formulaic coming-of-age movies a little too closely.