70 Best Queer Movies to Watch

70 Best Queer Movies to Watch

May 14, 2024

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In a world that celebrates love in all its diverse forms, queer cinema has taken center stage, weaving powerful narratives that challenge societal norms and redefine storytelling. From heartwarming romances to thought-provoking dramas, these queer movies are the cream of the crop, bursting with authenticity, emotion, and unapologetic pride. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or simply appreciate exceptional filmmaking, these captivating tales will whisk you away on a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and the universal pursuit of love. Get ready to be moved, inspired, and entertained as we delve into the best queer movies that demand your attention.

51. The Blue Caftan (2022)

best

8.0

Country

Belgium, Denmark, France

Director

Female director, Maryam Touzani

Actors

Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Zakaria Atifi

Moods

Dramatic, Romantic, Touching

Set in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas, Blue Caftan is a tender portrayal of pure love and the different forms it takes. It follows traditional tailor Halim (Saleh Bakri) and his wife Mina (Lubna Azabal) who, despite their imperfect marriage, prove their affection in small but moving ways. He peels tangerines for her and washes her hair, she preps his meals and defends his craft from demanding customers. When a third person, Youssef (Ayoub Missioui), enters the picture, even more manifestations of passion (and the lack and longing and excess of it) emerge. 

It’s a dramatic film, but never overly so. Like the silky fabric Halim handles with expert care, it’s rich but soft, detailed but delicate. In the face of poverty, sickness, and discrimination, the film mines moments of joy, friendship, and pleasure, subverting the expectation that tragic circumstances must mean tragic outcomes. 

Blue Caftan, even in its saddest moments—and there are plenty—is a film full of love, made even more memorable by the deft performances and palpable chemistry of its three leads.

52. Blue (1993)

best

8.0

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Derek Jarman

Actors

Derek Jarman, John Quentin, Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton

Moods

Depressing, Emotional, Intense

Part documentary yet part surreal daydream, director Derek Jarman’s final film is one last rallying cry into a blue void. Against an unchanging screen of International Klein Blue, most of the film is Jarman’s voice, drifting through various subjects, from day-to-day complications of AIDS to contemplations about the color blue. Some of his frequent collaborators chime in. Choirs singing about damnation occasionally pop up too. While essentially a radio drama, the combination of voices, foley, and scores all merge together into an ethereal, haunting soundscape, that sticks in your head long after the film ends. Mirroring his partial blindness, Jarman’s last experiment leaves an impression of his own experience. It’s absolutely devastating.

53. Mysterious Skin (2005)

7.9

Country

Netherlands, United States of America

Director

Gregg Araki

Actors

Bill Sage, Billy Drago, Brady Corbet, Bruno Alexander

Moods

A-list actors, Challenging, Depressing

When Brian was eight years old he lost five hours of his life to a black out. Now ten years later he is searching for the truth. His search leads him to Neil, a boy who was on his little league team the summer of the blackout. Brian has always believed he was abducted by aliens from the dreams he had with Neil in them. Neil however knows the truth. Neil had just left the small town life and moved to New York. When he comes home for Christmas and meets Brian will he finally tell him the answers he has been looking for? This is the story of one boy who can’t remember and a boy who can’t forget.

54. The Watermelon Woman (1996)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Cheryl Dunye, Female director

Actors

Brian Freeman, Camille Paglia, Cheryl Clarke, Cheryl Dunye

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Slice-of-Life

This drama was the first feature written and directed by an out Black lesbian, Cheryl Dunye, and it is an absolute joy: a cheeky faux-documentary that ingeniously blends lesbian dating life with a historical dive into Black actors in 30s Hollywood.

Dunye plays Cheryl, a self-effacing version of herself, an aspiring director working at a video store who begins to research an actress known as the Watermelon Woman for a documentary. The more Cheryl dives into her research, the more she sees parallels between her subject and her own relationship. 

As incisive as it is funny, The Watermelon Woman shares some common ground with other major indie debuts of the era like Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and funnily enough Kevin Smith’s Clerks, but Dunye’s style is wholly her own and a dazzling treat to experience.

 

55. Beau travail (1999)

7.9

Country

France

Director

Claire Denis, Female director

Actors

Adiatou Massudi, Dan Herzberg, Denis Lavant, Gianfranco Poddighe

Moods

Original, Thought-provoking

Often considered Claire Denis’ best film, Beau Travail is an epic exploration of both masculinity and colonialism. Inspired by Melville’s Billy Budd, she transplants the story to Djibouti where the French Foreign Legion run seemingly aimless drills in an arid desert landscape while largely alienated from the local community. 

Denis inverts the male gaze and imbues charged eroticism to the bodies in motion as the men train and wrestle. Accompanied by the music of Britten’s Billy Budd opera, these movements transform into a breathtaking modern dance. Underneath her jaw-dropping direction is a cutting allegory on repression, desire, and violence, working on both the individual and geopolitical level. This incredible tale is capped off by one of the best end credit sequences of all time. 

56. Uncle Frank (2020)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Alan Ball

Actors

Banks Repeta, Britt Rentschler, Burgess Jenkins, Caity Brewer

Moods

Easy, Emotional, Feel-Good

You’ll recognize more than a few faces in Uncle Frank. There are no mega-stars but the caliber of acting in this 70s story is truly impressive.

Beth is an 18-year-old in rural South Carolina who grew up admiring the family member she could relate to the most: her uncle, a college professor living in New York.

When she finishes high-school, she makes the move to the city her beloved uncle told her so much about. Once there, she discovers that he has been living a double life which he kept a secret from the family.

This is the perfect holiday movie for those looking for a story that’s not about the actual holidays. It’s sweet, often funny, and packs a heartfelt and genuine story without being too predictable.

57. A Secret Love (2020)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Chris Bolan

Actors

Chris Bolan, Diana Bolan, Jack Xagas, John Byrd

Moods

Emotional, Heart-warming, Inspiring

Even when it necessarily tackles the difficulties that are part and parcel of same-sex love in the 20th century, there’s something pleasant about the way A Secret Love is told. The documentary puts Terry and Pat’s love above all else, so even though we hear about how they had to tear the bottom pages of their letters to avoid getting caught, or how they had to split from close family members after coming out, things never feel too heavy or dire because at the end of the day, they’re still together, their decades-old companionship a beautiful example of how love wins. And aside from giving us an intimate look at this rare win for elderly closeted couples, A Secret Love serves as an insightful portrait of elderly life. Terry and Pat, with their perseverance and unyielding support, make aging look beautiful rather than scary. 

58. Carol (2015)

7.8

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Todd Haynes

Actors

Amy Warner, Anita Farmer Bergman, Ann Reskin, Annie Kalahurka

Moods

A-list actors, Discussion-sparking, Romantic

Watching Carol is like reading a really interesting book while relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. It is one of those movies that you probably heard about during its Oscar run, and have since delayed actually viewing it. Well now that it is on Netflix and other streaming services you have no excuse! It’s refreshingly unique, incredibly charming, and features a kind of story that hasn’t been told very often – a love story between two women. Both characters played by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara attempt to live true to their own principles while facing unjust yet severe backlash from society. If you are open to it, the love story in this will stay with you forever.

59. A Fantastic Woman (2017)

7.8

Country

Chile, France, Germany

Director

Sebastián Lelio

Actors

Alejandro Goic, Aline Kuppenheim, Amparo Noguera, Antonia Zegers

Moods

Character-driven, Emotional

As heartbroken as you will be after watching this movie, you will feel nothing but triumph in the main actor’s debut role. This movie has very little hope to offer the viewer, except the small amount felt every time the main character, Marina, gets up again to fight another day. This film depicts grief in such a profound and personal way within a character who must remain relatively silent and alone most of the movie. You will quickly know why the film is called “A Fantastic Woman”.

60. And Breathe Normally (2018)

7.8

Country

Belgium, Iceland, Sweden

Director

Female director, Isold Uggadottir

Actors

Ísold Uggadóttir, Babetida Sadjo, Bragi Arnason, Gunnar Jonsson

Moods

Slice-of-Life, Slow, Thought-provoking

Iceland is a country of vast lands but limited population – only about 300,000 people can call themselves Icelandic. On the other hand, 8 million people have connecting flights through Iceland every year. 

In this setting of mass movement, a single mother dealing with poverty is offered a chance to turn things around – a job as a border agent. One of her first days, she comes across an asylum seeker on a connecting flight from Guinea Bissau to Canada, trying to cross with a fake passport. 

Their stories don’t only intertwine as border agent and asylum seeker, but as two mothers. And Breathe Normally is about struggling with poverty both in Europe and coming from a place like Guinea Bissau. It’s a beautiful, plot-heavy statement on the importance of solidarity and of seeing the human behind the country of origin or race. 

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