Updated: Jun 11, 2018
In the spirit of allyship and Pride month, I decided to share a list of LGBTQ+ films (and other forms of media) that I've watched recently.
Here they are in (mostly) alphabetical order...
This movie takes place in Akron, Ohio. Although the plot isn't too complicated, the characters experience complex emotions. It has some somber parts but also a lot of lovely and lively ones. Every moment is sincerely portrayed and the two main actors (Matthew Frias and Edmund Donovan) have a great amount of chemistry. Also one of the directors, Brian O' Donnell, graduated from my school: NYU! If you're in the mood for a calm, emotional, and sincere ride, then I suggest this movie!
God's Own Country
Don't mind me while I fangirl for a minute. I watched this movie the most recently and I absolutely adored it. I may have seen a preview for it a long while ago but I had no expectations when I began the journey. This movie is a cinematic masterpiece, with aesthetically pleasing camera work, a gripping story, earnest writing, and a chemistry-packed love duo. After watching this film, I did major research about the
writer and director, Francis Lee, as well as the two main actors, Josh O' Connell and Alec Secăreanu. The way in which the film was shot-chronologically and after each actor lived in the environment of the movie for weeks- contributes to the extreme honesty and rawness of the film. What a pleasure to watch. I highly suggest this very open, uncensored, and masterfully constructed gem.
I Am Michael
This movie has major star talent, with leading actors James Franco and Zachary Quinto. It is based on a true story, I real person named Michael. I don't know much about the fellow because I didn't look into him. To be honest, upon reading the description of the film, I thought it would be the exact opposite of what it was. But it is still well made. It tells a damning story of the effect of guilt and institutionalized religion on one's confidence to express identity and sexuality. I remember really enjoying the acting and really sympathizing with the characters amidst their personal conflict. This is a thoughtful piece. Buckle down and strap in for emotion and enjoy the journey. There is definitely a lot to learn from this film.
I Like It Like That
Okay so this movie is arguably not an LGBTQ+ film but it popped into my head when I was making this list. The main plot is about a hardworking woman and her struggle to create a better life for herself despite her often-trifling husband. BUT, there is a strong subplot about her transgender sister, Alexis (played by Jesse Borrego).
The movie explores Alexis' struggle to be received as a woman by her family. This movie is definitely a throwback but I only watched it recently. It is raw and unapologetically portrays the scrappiness of life but it is still a beautifully made film.
You may recognize this film as the winner of Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars! This movie features actors Alex. R Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes, who all play the character, Chiron, a young black man who grapples with his identity and considers his sexuality throughout the film. I really liked this film because I found that it was more about Chiron's individual identity rather than his relationship to anyone else. Shout out to the director Barry Jenkins. Shout out to the actors Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, and Andre Holland for bringing the love interest, Kevin, to life. And shout out to Janelle Monáe just because she was beautiful in this film.
Paris Is Burning
This is actually a documentary. It is about New York's drag queen ballroom culture in the 90s and a little before that too. It was a great history lesson to me and was an emotional journey because the people portrayed were real as were their struggles. This film explores many themes related to race and poverty as well as sexuality. It elaborates how crucial black and transgender people of the LGBTQ+ community were and are to current popular culture references and practices. It also elaborates the violence that many gay and transgender black people and people of color were exposed to and threatened with on a daily basis. But it is also a celebration of being and of expression. A must watch for everyone. Notable people in the film include Dorian Corey, Venus Xtravaganza, Will Ninja, and Pepper Labeija.
The Way He Looks
This is a film set in Brazil. It is a coming-of-age story about a blind youth named Leonardo (played by Ghilherme Lobo), his best friend Giovana (played by Tess Amorim), and the new kid in town Gabriel (played by Fábio Audi). It was in Portuguese but reading subtitles was no problem. We really need more films like this, films that feature people with handicaps which don't define or limit their stories. I loved the concept. It was simple and sweet with great writing. Like Moonlight, I felt that it focused more on individual identity (as do many of these films) rather than an outward relationship. The acting is great too. It is calmly paced but I never grew bored of it. I totally recommend.
In a Heartbeat
This is a lovely silent short film that I feel speaks for itself. It innocently depicts an unbridled crush and I think it is well worth the watch.
There are definitely more notable LGBTQ+ films and characters, these are just my favorites among what I've recently seen. What are your favorite LGBTQ+ films and characters? I can already think of so many that I didn't include in this article, mostly from shows. Thanks for reading! Happy Pride!