With such a large selection of lesbian and gay themed movies to be streamed on Netflix, how do you choose which one to settle down with? Let us be your guide with our definitive top ten!
1. A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009)
Tom Ford’s sumptuous directorial debut, based on a 1964 novella by gay writer Christopher Isherwood, deals with love and loss, following George Falconer (Colin Firth) whose lover of 15 years, Jim (Matthew Goode), has died in a recent car accident.
George’s whole world – his beautiful house, his circle of caring friend, his great job as a lecturer – have all lost their value, as George grapples with the meaning of life without the man he loves. This is a beautiful, detailed film that slowly excavates the intricacies of the heart, featuring a deeply moving performance from an Oscar nominated Firth.
2. Any Day Now (Travis Fine, 2012)
It’s kinda hard to take Alan Cumming’s hair seriously at the beginning of this film, and the storyline sounds like something from True Life movies – a gay couple in 1970s LA battle for custody of a neglectful neighbour’s son who has Down’s syndrome – but this drama from director, Travis Fine slowly builds until you find yourself so emotionally involved, you become part of this alternative little family. Kleenex warning: you’ll need a man-sized box.
3. Bound (The Wachowskis, 1996)
Sparks fly when Violet (Jennifer Tilly) sets eyes on Corky (Gina Gershon) in an elevator. Violet is the girlfriend of a violent gangster, Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), while Corky is fresh out of prison and doing renovations on the apartment next door. As the two women launch into a passionate love affair, they assemble an intricate plan for Violet to escape from Caesar, with two million dollars of the mob’s money — but the important part is to make it out alive.
This debut from The Wachowskis (known as the Wachowski brothers at the time) is a deliciously dark celebration of cinema genres, from thriller to slapstick comedy to erotica, with two iconic performances at its heart.
4. Boys (Mischa Kamp, 2014)
Escaping the attentions of his rebellious older brother and his widower Dad, gentle teenager Sieger (Gijs Blom) spends a lot of time on the racetrack. When his coach suggests he join a relay race group who are preparing for a championship, he begins a friendshiop with slightly older team member Marc (Ko Zandvliet), which slowly begins to grow into something more. This Dutch coming of age, coming out movie doesn’t steer off a well-trodden track, but it’s beautiful to watch with two genuinely moving performances at its centre.
5. G.B.F. (Darren Stein, 2013)
Clueless meets Mean Girls meets Pretty in Pink in this high-school movie as three popular girls compete for the season’s trendiest personal accessory, a Gay Best Friend, as they vie to win the Prom Queen crown. It’s a harmless confection to wile a couple of hours away on, with some great performances, plenty of drop-dead one-liners, and a gay hero you can’t help rooting for, and star turns from Will & Grace alumni, Megan Mullally and OITNB’s Natasha Lyonne.
6. Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014)
Together for almost 40 years, and living in a beautiful apartment in uptown New York, artist Ben (John Lithgow) and music teacher George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot. But then the powers that be at George’s workplace, a Catholic school, fire him because of his marriage, spelling financial disaster for the couple.
Ira Sach’s beautiful, intimate film explores the insidiousness of anti-gay prejudice, how it effectively operates and subtly reverberates, not only with its victims, but society as a whole.
7. Loving Annabelle (Katherine Brooks, 2006)
This adaptation of classic lesbian drama Mädchen in Uniform tells the tale of a precocious senator’s daughter and Catholic boarding school student who falls desperately in love with her beautiful poetry teacher. Simone Bradley (Diane Gaidry) is a teacher who finds peace within the walls of Saint Theresa’s school, until the arrival of rebellious student Annabelle (Erin Kelly) who begins to tap into her teacher’s innermost desires. And pretty hot desire it is too, in a rare way for lesbian features it doesn’t cut away from the love scene action. Even thought there’s nothing new on display in terms of a typical lesbian coming of age story, it still touches the heart.
8. Snervous Tyler Oakley (Amy Rice, 2015)
Partly filmed in Dublin, this documentary following YouTuber Tyler Oakley as he embarks on the world tour of his Slumber Party show, is co-produced by Oakley himself, so if you’re looking for any examination of the phenomenon of queer YouTube sensations, it’s best to look elsewhere. Still, Oakely is ever friendly, upbeat, disarmingly honest and aware enough of the unlikeliness of his fame to be a little sheepish throughout this documentary, even if we get to see little of why his fans (mostly tweenage girls and young gay men) adore him so much.
9. Tig (Kristina Goolsby & Ashley York, 2017)
It’s not hard to fall for lesbian comedian Tig Notaro in this unflinching documentary that follows her tour post a breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy in 2012. It follows many things in Notaro’s life: recovering her health, grieving her mother, attempting to have a child, falling in love and regaining her balance as a comedian, and never fails to make you laugh along the way.
10. Gayby (Jonathan Lisecki, 2012)
With her biological clock ticking, thirtysomething hot-yoga teacher Jenn (Jenn Harris) persuades her gay best friend Matt to father her baby in this cute sex comedy. Turned off by turkey basters, Jenn insists they conceive “the old-fashioned way,” leading to lots of awkward comedy moments, sexual couplings yield considerable comedy of awkwardness, and while there’s little doubt about where the story is headed, director Lisecki keeps it fresh with some wry twists and genuine affection for his characters. Gayby doesn’t break a lot of new ground in the rom-com or parenthood genres, but its warm sense of humor makes it well worth watching.
If you’re looking for more LGBT films to watch, be sure to check out the GAZE Film Festival Promo.
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