The 5 Best LGBTQ+ Stories on Netflix

Updated January 2, 2022 • Staff

Recently, we started a new section titled "Spotlight: LGBTQ+ Stories". The goal of this category is to showcase quality movies where at least one of the main characters doesn’t identify as heterosexual or cisgender. This includes stories about the LGBTQ+ experience, but not just. A good example is We the Animals, which is about the main characters dealing with their parents' decaying mixed-race relationship while exploring their own sexuality. These stories and experiences, while an integral part of human history, are only recently are starting to be told in mainstream film. Below are five great ones we recommend on Netflix.

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5.

Girl (2019)

Girl won four awards at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was nominated to 9 Magritte Awards. It was also Belgium’s entry to the Oscar for best foreign-language film. When a dance school accepts her, Lara has the opportunity to realize her dream and become a professional ballerina. The dancing takes a toll on her body, but her biggest obstacle is that she was born into the body of a boy. Girl illustrates the trans teenage experience with sensitivity, slowly and humanly making Lara’s anguish become the viewer’s. Based on a true story.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Alice de Broqueville, Angelo Tijssens, Arieh Worthalter, Chris Thys, Els Olaerts, Katelijne Damen, Lukas Dhont, Magali Elali, Nele Hardiman, Oliver Bodart, Steve Driesen, Tijmen Govaerts, Valentijn Dhaenens, Victor Polster
Director: Chad Faust, Lukas Dhont
Rating: N/A, R
Go to Netflix
4.

Carol (2015)

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.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Anita Farmer Bergman, Carrie Brownstein, Cate Blanchett, Cory Michael Smith, Giedre Bond, Greg Violand, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, Ken Strunk, Kevin Crowley, Kk Heim, Kyle Chandler, Nik Pajic, Rooney Mara, Sadie Heim, Sarah Paulson, Todd Haynes
Director: Todd Haynes
Rating: R
Go to Netflix
3.

And Breathe Normally (2018)

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. 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ísold Uggadóttir, Babetida Sadjo, Bragi Arnason, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson, Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson, Sveinn Geirsson, Þorsteinn Bachmann
Director: Isold Uggadottir
Rating: TV-14
Go to Netflix
2.

Handsome Devil (2016)

I can’t get a song out of my head from this movie: the 1985 UK hit Desire As from Prefab Sprout.

It plays when the two main characters, a sensitive kid who’s bullied by his school for not liking rugby, and the school’s rugby star; talk over the “Berlin Wall” that separates their dorm room.

The song echoes “It's perfect as it stands, so why then crush it in your perfect hands?”. These two seemingly incompatible personalities form a friendship that comes under threat from their school’s traditional authority, especially as one of them is revealed to be gay. 

It might seem like a tough premise, but Handsome Devil is actually a comedy. It’s a sweet and easy coming-of-age comedy.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Amy Huberman, Andrew Scott, Ardal O'Hanlon, Ardal O'Hanlon, Fionn O'Shea, Fionn O'Shea, Hugh O'Conor, Jamie Hallahan, Jay Duffy, John Butler, Mark Lavery, Michael McElhatton, Moe Dunford, Nicholas Galitzine, Ruairí OConnor, Ruairi O'Connor
Director: John Butler
Rating: N/A
Go to Netflix
1.

We the Animals (2018)

Three half-Puerto-Rican, half-white boys grow up in suburban New York in this personal movie shot on stunning 16mm film.

This movie follows the boys, often literally with the camera behind their backs, as their parents’ relationship goes through turmoil. The kids are often left unattended and have to fend for themselves. The beauty of We the Animals is illustrating how they grow-up swinging between the angry character of their father and the protective nature of their mother.

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I think I loved it so much because I was able to relate and feel for the main character (one of the boys). I really hope you will too.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Evan Rosado, Giovanni Pacciarelli, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Gabriel, Mickey Anthony, Moe Isaac, Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand, Terry Holland, Tom Malley
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
Rating: R
Go to Netflix

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