With quarantine Pride coming in hot this summer, maybe you’re looking for something to do in the absence of sweaty dance parties. A great way to fill that Pride void is to read/watch some queer movies and reflect on where we’ve been and still have to go. And while that may sound like a daunting task, there are a vast array of options out there.
While not all of these movies contain queer actors or creators, they feature a wide range of queer stories and voices that honour Pride and how much we have had to fight for representation on screen. So to celebrate Pride and stay safe in order to be around next year to party even harder, please enjoy these queer movies from over the years.
Following the life of a young black boy through his childhood, adolescence, and early adult life, this film explores the difficulties faced by queer people of color and explores the different forms of masculinity that are at play in black culture. Complete with gorgeous visuals and a script that is as strong as its actors, this film is a must watch for anyone living in 2020.
This film follows a young Latin-X hairdresser turned drag performer who, following the release of his macho father from prison, must come to terms with their relationship when his father moves in with him.
This semi-autobiographical film tells the story of a 17 year-old black girl named Alike growing up in Brooklyn. With her parents’ marriage on the rocks, Alike spends much of her time out of the house going to clubs and gay bars with her openly lesbian friend. Over the course of the film, Alike begins to quietly discover her own identity as a butch lesbian with the help of a new friend: Bina.
On Christmas Eve, trans sex-worker, Sin-Dee Rella, is released from a 28-day prison sentence. Upon being released, she finds out from her friend Alexandra, that her pimp/boyfriend has been sleeping with a white cis woman. This causes Sin-Dee into going on a trek across Los Angeles to find the unfaithful pair.
But I’m a Cheerleader
Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, an all-American high school cheerleader whose parents send her away to a conversation therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. When she discovers love in the form of Graham (Clea DuVall), things at the pristine camp filled with over exaggerated blue and pink colors, get out of hand for the strict staff.
At Camp Ovation, young theatre performers are molded into stars through an intensive summer program that includes, singing, dancing, and acting lessons that always culminate in a series of performances with ranging quality. When a straight boy arrives at the camp, both romantic and artistic summer aspirations are turned upside down by his guitar and puka-shell necklace. With an iconic early performance by Anna Kendrick, this film is a must-watch.
Stranger by the Lake
This erotic French thriller takes place almost entirely on a nude beach and the surrounding woods that serve as a cruising spot for local gay men. After witnessing the supposed murder of a cruiser, one man must choose between what he thinks he saw, and his attraction to the potential perpetrator. What unfolds is a shocking, intriguing and seductive romp through the French countryside.
Set in Japanese-occupied Korea, the film opens with a con man planning to seduce a Japanese heiress out of her inheritance and send her to an asylum. With time, identities are proven to be false, and not everything is as it appears to be.
Extra Careful of Marriage
This Hindi-language romantic comedy tells the story of Aman, a boy from a conservative family who falls in love with a runaway. When their relationship is exposed at his cousin’s wedding, Aman has to process his family’s feelings of outrage about their relationship mixed with their attempts to ‘purify’ their son.
The Half of It
This film follows the quiet and intelligent Ellie as she tries to help an inarticulate jock woo a girl. Things get complicated when Ellie discovers that she herself may have feelings for the same girl.
Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) is the most popular girl in school. Until one day, when she is sacrificed by an indie rock band and turns into a man-eating demon succubus and enacts revenge on all the boys in town. The only person who can stop her is her mousy best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), but will she let her confusing feelings of attraction towards the former Snowflake Queen overtake what is right and wrong? With a killer (ha) script from Juno scribe, Diablo Cody, this is a queer horror film that stands alone.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
The second instalment in the famous horror series is one of much debate among horror and queer historians. The plotline is rather straight forward: a new family moves into the former house of Nancy, the protagonist of the first film, and weird stuff begins to happen for the teenage son, Jesse. Much of the antics of the film have an undeniable homoerotic flair to them—a fact that the director initially denied, but when the tides changed on homosexuality in the early 2000’s, he later chose to embrace his intent to make a film for queer teens.
For more info on this film and its impact on its queer star, check out the documentary: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street.
Based on the true story of Lizzie Borden, the famous murderess, this film reimagines the story of the events leading up to the fateful deaths of her father and step-mother. In this version, Lizzie (Chloë Sevigny) is exploring her sexuality with her family’s maid (Kristen Stewart) and uses that as a motive for the murders against her abusive father. If you can get past the historical inaccuracies (Borden was speculated to be a lesbian, but not with the maid) then this is the film for you.
Summer of Mesa
This film tells the story of two young girls who meet in the summer of 1985 in Cape Cod. They quickly fall in love over the course of the summer and it leads one of the protagonists to question her relationship with her current boyfriend. This is a small-budget production that was released earlier this year and is available to watch on YouTube.
Following the lives of two young girls growing up in Nairobi, this film focuses on the different ways the girls live their lives and how they come together. While Kena is waiting to begin nursing school, Ziki has a passion for dance and hanging out with her friends. Their lives intersect one day when their respective fathers run against each other for local office. Soon they find ways to love each other without the watchful eyes of their families.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
In 18th century France, Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just recently left a convent. Though Héloïse is reluctant to be married, Marianna observes her day to day without her knowing of the task at hand and the feelings that are developing.
Were the World Mine
Timothy is the only openly gay student at an all-boys prep school. When he is drafted into a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the role of Puck, he begins putting some of his newfound magical skills to use to make the object of his affection fall in love with him. Complete with musical numbers and plenty of queer pining, this film is an essential watch for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood in their community.
Hidden within the normal SAT is a secret test that determines the female aptitude for espionage potential. Women who score high enough are recruited into D.E.B.S. (Discipline, Energy, Beauty, Strength) a secret paramilitary academy. When the newest recruit of the teenage crime fighters falls for the alluring villainess, the team must band together to save the world and themselves.
Farewell, My Queen
This film delves into territory that Sophia Coppola’s iconic film dared not to venture. The focus of this film is a fictionalized account of the last days of Marie Antoinette as seen through the eyes of a young servant girl who reads out loud to the queen and develops a secret relationship with the misunderstood historical figure.
The Imitation Game
Based on the 1983 biography of Alan Turing, Benedict Cumberbatch stars at the titular WWII cryptanalyst who decrypted German intelligence messages. In addition to his work, he was also a gay man and while the film does not delve into it as much as it should, the existence of this film alone is a sign of Hollywood progressing—even just a little bit.
This film follows the life and times of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Filled with vintage looks and fashions, this film is absolutely necessary viewing, no list of queer movies to watch for Pride month would be complete without this reminder of our history.
So there you have it, with so many queer movies to watch for Pride, best get started now!
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