I know that June 2020 doesn’t feel as Prideful as it usually does, but I think we are all due for some lighthearted content. I thought that I’d share my favorite LGBTQ movies. You’re welcome in advance.
Brokeback Mountain (2005) – Available on Hulu
Also known as the moment I fell in love with Jake Gyllenhaal. The Ang Lee directed film follows Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Heath Ledger), who work as ranch hands on Brokeback Mountain. During one drunk night, Jack makes a pass at Ennis and a beautifully-complicated relationship ensues. This film was the very first time I watched two gay people on screen and it’s impact on my life has not been lost on me.
Moonlight (2016) – Available on Netflix
When this film first came out, I wanted to see this SO bad that when all theaters were sold out; I found two seats on the first row of an 11:00PM showing and watched the film with my neck at an awkward position the entire time. Worth it. This film is great for many reasons (and most of those have to do with the cast) but Director Barry Jenkins really made a masterpiece. The film follows Chiron, a young black man in Miami, as he goes through his life and eventually comes to terms with his sexuality. This movie will take your breath away repeatedly.
A Fantastic Woman (2017) – Available to rent on Amazon Prime
I knew this movie would alter my life the moment that I saw the trailer. So when the movie played in ONE movie theater in Los Angeles, I dragged my best friend to the 8PM showing. The journey was exquisite and everyone deserves to take it. This film follows Marina (Daniela Vega) who’s life is thrown into turmoils when her partner passes away. A Fantastic Woman shows you a very specific and gut-wrenching journey that one transgender woman goes through. Daniela Vega’s performance is intoxicating and I urge you to watch this film immediately.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) – Available on Hulu
This film. This damn film is everything that I need in a lesbian story and also so much more. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) gets commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) who is a reluctant and stubborn bride-to-be. In the days that it takes for her to work on this painting, the relationship grows between the two women. This movie is passionate, romantic, tender and heartbreaking . Director Céline Sciamma captures this love story in such an invigorating way that it leaves you aching by the last scene.
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) – Available on Netflix
Three Manhattan Drag Queens (Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo) are road tripping to Los Angeles in an attempt to make it to a National competition when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Stuck in a small town, they arrive and change the lives of everyone in that tiny town. If you’re looking for an unapologetic feel-good movie, then you’ve definitely found it. This movie is laugh out loud funny and John Leguizamo as Chi-Chi Rodriguez gave me enough serotonin to last me until the end of the month.
Elisa y Marcela (2019) – Available on Netflix
Based on a true story, this film takes place in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. Elisa & Marcela meet at school and form a great friendship that eventually turns into a forbidden love. Though their lives take them through separate paths, they eventually come back to each other and attempt to make a life together. In 1901 Elisa adopts a male identity in order to marry Marcela. This story is a hard watch, Director Isabel Coixet does an extraordinary job at capturing the love between these two women that when they keep being forced apart it feels painful to witness. This is a story of a dedicated love and it is essential in any LGBTQ movie list.
The Birdcage (1996) – Available on Hulu & Showtime
Full disclosure: I didn’t love the movie when I first watched it. The son’s role in this film truly infuriated me but the magic really happens between Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. Armand (Robin Williams) is a gay Miami drag queen night club owner and when his son gets engaged he’s hesitant to introduce his future in-laws to his gay father (Robin Williams) and his father’s partner (Nathan Lane). Hilarity ensues. If you can get past the fact the son seems extremely unappreciative of his father and who he is as a person, then this movie is truly enjoyable. Robin Williams was a gift to this world and this film is just another example of how much joy he gave to us. This film is so great because two comedic geniuses share the screen and neither one of them takes away from the other. Watch this!
When everything else fails, at least we still have movies & music. I urge you to watch these films. We cannot keep asking for more representation when we don’t go out of our way to consume the small bit of entertainment that does represent us.
Have you already seen some of these movies? What did you think of them?