Film Favourites – Queer Cinema


Firstly, (late) happy new year! I think we can all safely agree that 2017 was just weird and I am definitely welcoming 2018 with open arms. Now onto my first blog of the year!

Film favourites may become a blog I do from time to time, taking a certain genre, either broad or very specific and just recommending you some of my favourites. I just really love talking about movies.

As a huge film buff, I get very excited at this time of year as its awards season! One massive contender this year is Call Me By Your Name which I watched recently and I think it deserves its hype. I’ve read the book and they’ve made a really beautiful adaptation. It got me thinking about LGBTQ+ cinema in general, and I thought I’d share some of my favourites. This is only a small selection, I’m already planning a part 2 to this! I started thinking of a few then next thing I knew I had a list with 20+ films.

Milk (2008)

‘I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living.’ 

This film is a great educational experience for those in need of an LGBT+ history lesson. Milk is follows the true story of American gay rights activist Harvey Milk who became California’s first openly gay elected official. We meet Milk on his 40th birthday and follow his political journey in San Francisco as well as his private life and various relationships. Sean Penn gives an incredible performance, he captures Milk’s passion but also in quieter moments, his vulnerability. Milk gave the later half of his life to the gay rights movement and this movie shows how he balanced that element with his personal relationships, not always very successfully. It’s put together well, it presents a part of LGBT history, showing both the triumphs and less victorious moments.

GBF (2013)

‘Never in the history of North Gateway High had any student admitted out loud to being an honest-to-goodness, card-carrying, proud – or even slightly modest – homosexual.’ 

GBF is the LGBT version of Mean Girls. It has loveable teen characters, iconic quotes and of course, it ends with an epic prom. It follows Tanner, who is outed at his school and the three Prom queen frontrunners turn him into the ultimate Gay Best Friend. GBF takes the teen movie format and openly mocks it whilst also showing why coming of age stories are important for LGBT teens. So many LGBT films focus on quite dark stories, whereas this is anything but. It’s wacky and camp in all the right ways. It examines the GBF stereotype under a comical lens, exaggerating it and showing how it affects the community. Tanner and Brent are great contrasting characters, their friendship is really interesting and not something I’ve seen in other films. If you want to watch something that will make you laugh, go for this.

A Single Man (2009)

‘For the first time in my life I can’t see my future. Every day goes by in a haze, but today I have decided will be different.’ 

This is one of those films that you could easily ignore the plot of but still enjoy it. The visuals are absolutely stunning but do focus on the story. A Single Man follows an English professor a year after the death of his boyfriend, it is set in the 60s in LA. Tom Ford’s debut explores themes of love, friendship, sexuality, age and grief. Colin Firth gives arguably one of his best performances, you can feel his heart break as he goes about his day. Despite the time period, the film doesn’t make the character’s sexuality a taboo thing. What this film focuses on is the emotions of the relationship. Everything feels like its chosen for a reason, from colours to settings to angles, all the details are very particular. It is an all-round gorgeous film overflowing with emotion.

Appropriate Behaviour (2014)

‘I’m looking for the grown-up underwear of a woman in charge of her sexuality and not afraid of change.’

If you need a lesson in bisexual character representation, this is your movie. It follows Shirin, who is someone of many labels; a woman, Persian, bisexual, a Brooklynite, young, confused and newly single. She tries to navigate life, taking new experiences in her stride whilst not always saying the right thing. This story isn’t told chronologically, it gives us snapshots of Shirin’s previous relationship with a woman named Maxine and how she is post break up. The dialogue is cutting in a good way, there are so many good quotes to take away from this film. There are scenes that most twenty something women will relate to. Shirin is rarely subtle and her bisexuality isn’t fussed over. It’s incredible to see a bisexual character handled with actual dignity. Nothing extraordinary happens in this film, it just shows someone in a section of their life and that’s why I like it so much. It’s a queer film that doesn’t let sexuality take over.

4th Man Out

‘I don’t care if you’re the gayest, shyest kid in all of America. You’re my son, and I love you.’

4th Man Out follows Adam as he turns 24 and finally decide to tell his three best friends he’s gay. I love this film because it’s a comedy, there are too many coming out stories that focus on the down side. While there are serious moments, such as religion and family clashing with sexuality, we instead see the better side of coming out. Coming out is a terrifying experience and this movie shows that there is hope on the other side. Adam’s friends, after a little adjusting, are on board. They help him with online dating and take him to a gay club. It’s a learning experience for not just Adam but his friends and family too. There are lots of laugh out loud moments, this is definitely one to watch if you’re in the mood for something light.

Pride (2014)

‘When you’re in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, well, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, well, that’s the best feeling in the world.’ 

Pride is the story of how gay activists in the UK helped the miners during their strike in the summer of 1984. This film always makes me feel incredibly happy. It not only shows LGBT activism but also how you’ll find help in the places you’ll least expect, in this case the miners and LGSM. It has a lot of perspectives with such a huge range of characters; there’s the out and proud leader Mark, shy youngster Joe who joins the group in secret, brash lesbian Steph who has a soft side, older couple Gethin and Jonathan, the sweet Welsh miner Dai who welcomes LGSM with open arms, Gwen who is more concerned with lesbians’ cuisine choices rather than their sexuality and caring Sian who is more powerful than meets the eye. That’s only a small bunch of the characters too! You’ll find someone who you relate to. This film covers dark times but shows that the best way to deal with them sometimes is with a bit of humour and standing up in what you believe in. The cast is great and it’s a British film through and through.

Holding the Man (2015)

‘What happens to my soul if I go mad? Does it stay trapped inside or is it floating free?’ 

Just putting this out there, if you don’t cry at this film, I will judge you. Holding the Man follows Tim and John in 1970s Australia, who fall in love in their teens and the 15 year relationship that follows. They refuse to be beaten down by any obstacles that come their way. This film is actually based on the book that Tim wrote. It covers a love story essentially, not a simple one but very few LGBT love stories are. You really get to know the characters and you come to care for them. I like that you also get a taste of history but through an ordinary person’s perspective. Unlike Pride or Milk where the characters are figures who have been documented in history, this shows you how ordinary people were affected by the time. I’ve watched this so many times, despite it being quite sad, there’s also so many moments of love and joy and that’s what brings me back every time.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

‘How you live your life is your business, just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once.’ 

This film is a glorious escape. Despite only seeing it twice, it’s quickly become a favourite. CMBYN is set in Northern Italy in the summer of 1983, where 17 year old Elio begins a relationship with Oliver, his father’s research assistant who is staying with his family for 6 weeks. While at first they don’t necessarily get on, they soon start to bond over intellect, their Jewish backgrounds and later sensuality and complete intimacy. Although the word is never uttered, it is refreshing to see two bisexual characters together, especially male characters as there’s even fewer of those than female in media representation. Having read the book, I have to say Timothée Chalamet’s performance is insanely good, he embodies Elio’s character completely. You can tell all the choices have been made carefully, from music to camera angles. You’re watching a very unusual love story unfold but you feel you’re in confident hands. We’re seeing it from Elio’s point of view (just like the novel) so we learn about him as he does. If you’re looking for a romance which isn’t so run of the mill and fancy a little escape, this is the film for you.

I hope you’ve maybe found something new to watch! I already have a part two planned for this as I have a huge list, too many for just one blog.

Happy watching! x