10 LGBTQIA+ Films to add to your ‘Watch List’

a group cheering in front of a store

Truthfully, to try to pinpoint the extent of films progression, of which spans from the late 1890s to the present day, would be a disservice.

Some of the films within this list will be recognisable due to their popularity, whereas some others maybe hidden gems for you to discover!

  • PRIDE (Warchus, 2014) – Set during the mining strikes of 1984, London based gay and lesbian activists kickstart a campaign to help a mining village in Wales. Includes gay, lesbian bisexual and queer representation.
  • Bound (The Wachowskis, 1999) – After beginning a passionate love affair from an elevator encounter, Violet and Corky devise a plan for Violet to leave her violent gangster boyfriend and take his sum of mob-made money. Includes lesbian and bisexual representation. Also, a significant marking within the white, cishet male dominated film/directing industry as Lilly Wachowski is a credited transgender director, writer and producer.
  • Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016) – Organised into three connected chapters of life, audiences follow Chiron, a young black man growing up in Hawaii, whose journey into adulthood is aided by the guidance of the community that raised him. Includes gay representation.
  • The Handmaiden (Chan-wook, 2017) – When hiring an orphaned pickpocket, a Korean con man attempts to seduce a Japanese heiress out of her inheritance, but things take a turn when said pickpocket and heiress begin a secret affair. Includes wlw representation.
  • God’s Own Country (Lee, 2017) – The numbing path of a miserable young Yorkshire farmer is re-directed when a Romanian migrant worker comes to help on the farm. Includes mlm representation.
  • Saving Face (Wu, 2004) – Wil dares not tell her widowed mother, Hwei-Ian, or her traditional grandparents that she is a lesbian. But, after the shocking revelation of her Mothers pregnancy, Hwei-Ian is forced to move back in with her daughter. How will this fair with the beginnings of Wil’s relationship with openly gay Vivian? Includes lesbian representation.

It would be ignorant to solely focus on fiction film and exclude one of the most prominent genres whose origins are derived from the queer community – Musical Theatre. Not just in its beginnings, but Musical Theatre has been upheld by the LGBTQIA+ community, holding strong resonance for its experimentation with reality and fiction; To interweave non-naturalistic theatrical elements with tangible storylines is to tap into a sort-of parallel universe.

This is not to fall into the misconception that Musical Theatre is not mediated, nor the idea that it’s queer origins have always been recognised. Unfortunately, due to the prominent in-accessibility of theatre (in regards to ticket prices, location and the withholding of filmed commercial pro-shots). However, the ‘Film Musical’ is considered a genre within itself, and so here are some noticeable ones:

  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Mitchell, 2001) – In the pursuit of fame and love as a rock singer, audiences follow a German immigrant who is the victim of a botched sex-change operation. Adapted from the critically acclaimed off-Broadway rock theatre hit. Includes transgender, genderfluid and genderqueer representation.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Sharman, 1975) – When sweethearts Brad and Janet break down in the middle of the night, they stumble upon the mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist, and a whole lot of sexy chaos ensues. Includes gender-fluid, pansexual and omnisexual representation.
  • Kinky Boots (Jarrold, 2005) – Charlie inherits his families shoe factory business in Northampton. However, a chance encounter with drag-queen cabaret singer Lola inspires a new, seductive line of footwear at the factory – 12 inch heeled boots. Includes gay representation.
  • The Prom (Murphy, 2020) – After learning of the campaign for a lesbian teen in Indiana to take her girlfriend to Prom, down-on-their luck Broadway stars rally to help. Includes lesbian and gay representation.

The LGBTQIA+ community is such a rich, broad and beautiful collective that deserves to be represented in all of it’s glory on the big screen. On the multitude of small screens, stages and pages.

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