70 Best Queer Movies to Watch

70 Best Queer Movies to Watch

May 23, 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.

61. 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. 

62. Giant Little Ones (2018)

7.8

Country

Canada, United States of America

Director

Keith Behrman

Actors

Carson MacCormac, Cory Lee, Darren Mann, Evan Marsh

Moods

Heart-warming, Lovely, Slice-of-Life

An insightful and thoughtful Canadian coming-of-age drama, Giant Little Ones is about two seventeen-year-old best friends whose relationship changes after an incident one night. Spanning a quick 90 minutes, it manages to tell its story quickly and honestly, as it touches on themes of sexual identity not only for the teenagers but for their parents as well. And it has a great message about tolerance. It’s a lovely and wholesome movie. 

63. Buddies (1985)

7.8

Country

United States, United States of America

Director

Arthur J. Bressan Jr.

Actors

David Rose, David Schachter, Geoff Edholm, Tracy Vivat

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Thought-provoking

Robert lies dying in hospital, an activist still raging against the lack of financial support and mainstream acknowledgment of the AIDS crisis. David volunteers to be his “buddy” while he’s bedbound, keeping him company and conversing. He’s less bothered by how the world treats homosexuality and AIDS, and although he commits to sticking by Robert, he’s doubtful of the need for his protests.

The film is firmly on Robert’s side, giving him space to shout and show frustration. What’s more, Buddies never treats sex as dirty or dangerous, allowing it to be something in which gay people find joy and solace, refusing to cast it as shameful. By the end of the decade, Geoff Edholm, who played Robert, and director Arthur J. Bressan Jr. had both lost their lives to the pandemic. It’s a snapshot of hospital rooms across the world, which were often hidden from sight, as a community was left to fend for itself, unsupported. David comes to understand.

64. Strawberry and Chocolate (1994)

7.8

Country

Cuba, Mexico, Spain

Director

Juan Carlos Tabío, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

Actors

Francisco Gattorno, Jorge Perugorría, Mirta Ibarra, Vladimir Cruz

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

Prepare to be captivated by the bittersweet tale of Strawberry and Chocolate, a 1994 Cuban film that immerses you in the complexities of friendship, love, and societal taboos. Set against the backdrop of Havana, the movie beautifully explores the relationship between an earnest university student and a sophisticated gay artist. With its poignant storytelling engrossing itself in the socio-political climate of Cuba, the film delves into themes of identity, acceptance, and the clash between tradition and individuality. Powerful and emotionally resonant, the vibrant Cuban culture is expertly woven into the narrative, transporting you to the heart of Havana’s vibrant streets. 

65. Fire (1996)

7.8

Country

Canada, India

Director

Deepa Mehta, Female director

Actors

Alice Poon, Avijit Dutt, Javed Jaffrey, Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Moods

Character-driven, Intense, Thought-provoking

In this powerful exploration of suppressed desires and societal constraints, Fire delves deep into the lives of two women trapped in loveless marriages. Radha’s husband has banished all desires from their marriage due to Radha’s infertility, while the newlywed Sita knows her husband still sees his lover. As they live their stifling lives being dutiful wives and taking care of their paralyzed matriarch on their own, they begin to find solace in each other—eventually igniting a forbidden romance that challenges what they thought living truly was. The performances by Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi are captivating, as they find renewed passion in each other’s arms even as they question how tradition doesn’t hold a women’s benefit in mind. Fire is a bold and groundbreaking film that provokes reflection on love, freedom, and the courage to defy societal norms.

66. Kokomo City (2023)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

D. Smith, Female director

Actors

Daniella Carter, Dominique Silver, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Instructive, Quirky

The idea of representation in movies is often limited to superficial gestures of putting on screen people who look a certain way. Kokomo City is a reminder of cinema’s possibilities when one really tries to queer filmmaking itself, with genuine queer voices driving a production. This documentary is messy and incredibly playful in its style—in ways that might read to some as lacking cohesiveness, or as tonally inconsistent. But the way director D. Smith is able to capture the dynamic energy of a series of conversations makes these powerful, funny, tragic anecdotes and dialogues feel truly grounded in people’s everyday experiences, and makes the plea for protection of trans lives all the more urgent.

Throughout Kokomo City, this collection of individuals goes off on various tangents that never become difficult to follow. They speak about the nature of sex work, hidden desires felt by traditionally masculine male clients, and various degrees of acceptance within the Black community. And between these statements alternating from impassioned to emotional to humorously candid, Smith injects cheeky cutaway footage, layers text on screen, and plays an eclectic rotation of music throughout. It’s about as real and as three-dimensional as these trans lives have ever been shown on screen.

67. Doi Boy (2023)

7.8

Country

Cambodia, Thailand

Director

Nontawat Numbenchapol

Actors

Arak Amornsupasiri, Awat Ratanapintha, Bhumibhat Thavornsiri, Ornjira Lamwilai

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

After years of documentaries covering Thailand’s controversial issues, some of which have been temporarily banned by the Ministry of Culture, Nontawat Numbenchapol takes a step into feature film in Doi Boy. The plot covers plenty of the topics he’s previously depicted– immigration, prostitution, and corruption– but it unfolds naturally into a slow-paced, but moving drama where an undocumented sex worker tries to find home. Awat Ratanapintha as Sorn excellently leads this journey, but Arak Amornsupasiri as reluctant cop Ji, and Bhumibhat Thavornsiri as passionate activist Wuth also make their mark. While the film doesn’t delve into the intricate intersectionality, it feels like that’s part of the point. The notion of a nation doesn’t care about people’s dreams, even if that dream is for the nation to be better.

68. Housekeeping for Beginners (2024)

7.8

Country

Australia, Croatia, Kosovo

Director

Goran Stolevski

Actors

Alina Serban, Anamaria Marinca, Bislim Muçaj, Blagoj Veselinov

Moods

Emotional, Heart-warming, Lovely

Only a few people in Dita’s house are related by blood, but you wouldn’t know that by how they move. They’re tight-knit but argumentative, loving at times but spiteful in other instances. In other words, they’re complicated just like any other family. Housekeeping for Beginners makes a compelling case for the validity—and at times necessity—of found families like Dita’s, who all found each other after being shunned by their race and sexuality. As in his previous works, Director Goran Stolevski paints a realistic and relevant portrait here, one tinted with striking pain and poignancy, bound to leave your heart aching long after the credits roll.

69. Chasing Amy (1997)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Kevin Smith

Actors

Ben Affleck, Brian O'Halloran, Carmen Llywelyn, Casey Affleck

Moods

Heart-warming, Romantic, Sweet

For a film made in the mid-90s, by a straight white man in his early 20s, Chasing Amy is startingly smart and sensitive, filled with more relatable moments than anyone would care to admit. Sure, by today’s standards, its exploration of sexuality is questionable at best and cringe-worthy at worst, but it’s also an honest depiction of how an era (and some people still) confront this reality. And for all the important issues it tries to address, like homophobia, racism, and toxic masculinity, it’s also at its core a confectionary romcom. If When Harry Met Sally asks, “Can women and men be friends?”, then Chasing Amy complicates it with a question of its own: “Can a lesbian and a guy who falls in love too quickly be friends?” You may or may not arrive at an answer by the film’s end, but you’ll find much to like in its earnestness and thoughtfulness.

70. Mona Lisa (1986)

7.7

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Neil Jordan

Actors

Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Clarke Peters, David Halliwell

Moods

Character-driven, Emotional, Gripping

With a driver protagonist, trying to reintegrate with the rougher parts of his home city, forming a connection with a woman way out of his league, Soho-based Mona Lisa has spawned comparisons to the New York-classic Taxi Driver (1976), but this British neo-noir has a completely different tone and spirit, with a completely different conclusion. Mona Lisa has, of course, Nat King Cole crooning the similarly named tune, and as George gets enamored with Simone, both roles played fantastically by Bob Hoskins and Cathy Tyson respectively, they both keep their cards to their chest, as if similar to the famous painted smile. The ending may be a tad abrupt, but Mona Lisa has a lot of compassion and hope for these two trying to make a better life for themselves, a lot more than expected from the genre.

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