Have you ever heard of Pride Month? Every year, during the month of June, a lot of LGBT events are held around the world commemorating the Stonewall Riots that occurred at the end of June 1969 and changed the face of LGBT rights. All the parades, festivals, concerts, and events during this period have been letting people take part in this celebration having fun, and at the same time, have been directing the world’s attention towards the struggles that people of the LGBT community face on a daily basis.
However, since COVID 19 struck all over the world, facilitating in-person festivals wouldn’t be possible for the foreseeable future. But don’t be sad. There is more than one way to celebrate Pride Month. So, here I brought you the 10 best LGBT movies you must watch. Aside from <Call Me By Your Name> and <Brokeback Mountain >, there are so many great movies awaiting you. Appreciating these fascinating movies, ruminate on the real value of Pride Month.
Director Céline Sciamma | Cast Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy | 2011 | 82 min
Laure is a 10-year-old girl who prefers blue and short-cut hair and moves to a new address in Paris with her family. Laure meets a neighborhood girl, Lisa, and impulsively introduces herself with the male name “Mickaël”. Lisa then introduces Laure to the rest of the neighborhood kids, and Laure quickly becomes friends with Lisa and the boys, playing soccer with them. Over time, Lisa and Laure get closer, and eventually, Lisa kisses Laure. However, Laure’s lie is soon revealed by her mother and gets punished by wearing a pretty blue dress. At the end of the story, Lisa asks Laure’s name again, and Laure gives answers with a smile. “Laure”.
The director Sciamma well-known for <Portrait of the Lady on Fire>(2019) said “ I made it with several layers so that a transexual person can say ‘that was my childhood’ and so that a heterosexual woman can also say it.” The film describes the girl who pretends to be a boy, and in the end, becomes a tomboy unbound to the gender identity assigned by others.
Director James Ivory | Cast James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant | 1987 | 140 min
In 1909, Maurice enters Cambridge and meets Clive there. Over time, they get closer, and eventually, Clive confesses he is sexually attracted to Maurice. Maurice realizes he is a homosexual when he begins to return Clive’s feelings. The two keep their love secret but are frightened when their friend Lord is arrested after soliciting sex from a soldier. Clive gets afraid of being exposed as a homosexual so he breaks with Maurice and marries Anne. To heartbroken Maurice, the gamekeeper Alec appears. Maurice falls in love with Alec and their love ends up with happy endings. Meanwhile, Clive is getting ready for bed and briefly reminiscences about his time with Maurice.
<Maurice> follows the life of Maurice from struggling to fit into society to being united with his true love. The film got applause for its sensitive touch on characters’ emotions in the restrictive culture and received the Silver Lion award as Best Director at the 44th Venice Film Festival. After 30 years, the film < Call Me By Your Name>(2017) brought James Ivory Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards.
3. <Single Man>
Director Tom Ford | Cast Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode | 2009 | 101 min
Eight months ago, a car accident took the life of Jim, George’s 16-year-long partner. George is a middle-aged English college professor living in L.A. After Jim has gone, George’s life turns grey except for the moment when he recalls his lover, Jim. One day, George gives a lecture on society’s fear of the outsider, the minority. “Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Think about it. Fear that we’re going to be attacked, fear that there are communists lurking around every corner, fear that some little Caribbean country that doesnʼt believe in our way of life poses a threat to us. (…)Fear of growing old and being alone.”
<Single Man> might be the story about people who are afraid of being lonely. The film was the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford. He used a contrast of colors to describe George’s emotional changes, which makes the film way stylish. In September 2009, it premiered at the 66th Venice International Film Festival and Colin Firth won Best Actor at the 63th Academy Awards and 66th Venice International Film Festival.
Director Francis Lee | Cast Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones | 2020 | 118 min
In the 19th century, the field of geology is dominated by men. In spite of her contribution to the field, fossil collector and paleontologist Mary lives in the suburbs with her ailing mother Molly running her shop. One day, geologist Roderick visits Mary’s shop accompanied by his wife Charlotte. As he departs to Europe for a six-week expedition, he asks Mary to take care of her wife and Mary reluctantly agrees to the offer. Despite the distance between their social class and personalities, an intense bond begins to develop, compelling the two women to determine the true nature of their relationship.
<Ammonite>(2020) took 3 years to be released since director Francis Lee had successfully debuted with <God’s Own Country>(2007). Sometimes, it’s compared with <Portrait of a Lady on Fire>(2019) but worth a watch with the only reason for the acting of Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.
5. <Far From Heaven>
Director Todd Haynes | Cast Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert | 2002 | 108 min
In 1957 suburban Connecticut, Cathy plays her role as a wife, mother, and homemaker perfectly. Her husband Frank is also a successful executive at Magnatech, a company that sells television advertising. One night, Frank stays late at the office for work, and a perfect wife Cathy decides to bring his dinner to him at work. There, she finds Frank passionately kissing another man. Cathy asks him to sign up for conversion therapy to cure his “disease”. However, soon, they realize that problem is not something they can deal with. Meanwhile, Cathy becomes closer to a gardener named Raymond, a black man. They are soon together by one of Cathy’s neighbors, and the town is soon ablaze with gossip about the two of them.
Director Todd Haynes has been paying attention to the relations between minorities and society even before he released <Carol>(2002). A wife, gay, black man. All characters represent minorities of the society who lost their voice under the system of majority.
6. <Other People>
Director Chris Kelly | Cast Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford | 2016 | 97 min
After breaking up with his boyfriend, David moves home to Sacramento to take care of his mother, Joanne, who is dying of cancer. Even though his father never accepts his homosexuality and the condition of his mother gets worse every day, David tries not to lose laughter. As Joanne gives up her fight against cancer, each family member deals with the inevitable loss in their own way.
<Other People> features a semi-autobiography consisting of short episodes. Director Chris Kelly was a supervising writer for Saturday Night Live, and his career melted across the movie. The funny moments of this film are incredibly well mixed with the heavy subject such as mom’s cancer, and each and every actor plays their role amazingly. Jesse Plemons especially did a GREAT job in his role. It’s worth watching the film for their acting alone.
Director Sam Feder | Cast Laverne Cox, Bianca Leigh, Jen Richards | 2020 | 108 min
The film follows an in-depth look at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and the impact of their stories on transgender lives and American culture. It features many famous transgender people in the film industry and shows how damaging and inaccurate depiction and ideas of transgender people were displayed throughout, mostly, the cinema.
<Disclosure> exposes the way media describes transgender people focusing on relations between them and social groups around them. It includes even minority groups such as feminists and the LGBT communities. The great virtue of this film is not being distracted to deliver too many things at once. It defines itself as just a documentary film about transgender people by analyzing media, and simply hands over the baton to the next one. Then as the next one who received the baton what should we do or shouldn’t do for transgender people in society? The value of this film is there.
8. <The Boys in the Band>
Director Joe Mantello | Cast Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin De Jesus | 2020 | 122 min
In 1968, Michael prepares for Harold’s birthday party at his apartment in Manhattan. As the sun sets, Michael’s friends arrive and seven gay friends gather for the birthday party. Then, an unexpected guest, Alan, joins the party. Michael warns others that Alan is heterosexual and doesn’t know about Michael’s homosexuality. Michael suggests the game. Everyone must use the telephone to call the one person they truly believe they have loved. Since the game, their party enters upon a new phase.
<The Boys in the Band> is based on the 1968 play of the same name. Considering the state of the period in the ’60s, it was a huge challenge for the director and actors to stage a play about gay. The movie talks about various issues queer people have. Aging, appearance, depression, self-hatred, money, relationships, race, all kinds of individual problems are featured across the film. Aside from the plot, terrific casting and production such as clothing and set design are just spot on.
9. <The Half of It>
Director Alice Wu | Cast Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire | 2020 | 105 min
Ellie Chue lives in the remote town of Squamish with her widowed father. She makes extra money by writing homework papers for her fellow students. One day, Paul Munsky approaches her to ask writing a love letter to Aster Flores. Over time, Ellie begins to have feelings for Aster corresponding with her in letters and text messages, so as Aster but Aster believes it’s Paul. Meanwhile, as Paul gets to know about Ellie, he develops feelings for her and eventually attempts to kiss her.
<The Half of It> is about love, friendship, family, and true self. Despite the character Ellie Chue represents the minority of the society as Asian, lesbian, and poor, her warmheartedness and solidity make us inevitably fall in love with her. One of the most important messages of this film is “finding true self”.
At the end of the story, Ellie left the town to start a new journey in her life and Paul takes part in the family’s sausage business as he wants, and Aster applies to art school. The three have found who they really are, and what they want to become, and carry on their journey to it. Ellie said, “You can have a good painting, but to make it a great one you need to make a bold stroke.” This movie keeps telling us not to stop our journey to make the bold stroke and create our own great painting of life.
10. <Your Name Engraved Herein>
Director Kuang-Hui Liu | Cast Edward Chen, Jing-Hua Tseng, Leon Dai | 2020 | 114 min
As martial law ends in 1980s Taiwan, two male students, Chang Jia-han(A-han) and Wang Bo Te(Burdy) meet in all-boys Catholic high school and become closer. One evening, they witness a homosexual student Horn is being bullied by other students. A-han rescues Horn from getting bullied. After the death of President Chiang Ching-kuo is announced, the two travel to Taipei to mourn on behalf of their school. While in Taipei, they see a protester holding a sign “Homosexuality is not a disease!” is arrested by police. They visit the video salon room, and A-han realizes his feelings for Burdy after trying to kiss him while he sleeps. After the trip, A-han remains melancholic due to conflicting thoughts about his identity and feelings.
<Your Name Engraved Herein> is about the two students who fell in love amid family pressure, homophobia, and conflicting sexual identity. The film delicately describes the mood of Taiwan in the 80’s and the two characters’ emotional change. The nostalgic and troubled love story features a watercolor-like mood. This film became the highest-grossing LGBT film in Taiwan’s history and the most popular Taiwanese film of 2020 as the first for a gay-themed movie.
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