Best LGBTQ Movies Celebrating Diversity And Love On Screen

best lgbtq movies streaming

Published on March 1st, 2024

In the vast domain of cinema, LGBTQ-centered films have long been a rarity.

From the early days of Hollywood to the present, the journey of queer representation on the silver screen has been one of struggle, progress, and celebration.

Despite the challenges, the LGBTQ community has persevered, advocating for more authentic and diverse portrayals of their experiences.

As we reflect on the evolution of LGBTQ cinema, it becomes evident that each film holds significant cultural importance, shaping not only the way we view others but also how we perceive ourselves.

Historically, LGBTQ characters were often relegated to the sidelines, depicted as one-dimensional stereotypes or tragic figures.

In the 1970s, films like “The Boys in the Band” portrayed self-loathing middle-aged men grappling with their sexuality in a society that deemed their love taboo.

These narratives reinforced harmful stereotypes and perpetuated the idea that being queer was synonymous with suffering and shame.

However, as societal attitudes began to shift, so too did the portrayal of LGBTQ characters on screen.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, films like “Fire Island” and “Love, Simon” introduced audiences to headstrong misfits and love-torn teens, respectively, offering more nuanced depictions of queer identities.

These stories provided a sense of visibility and validation for LGBTQ individuals, showcasing the diversity of their experiences and struggles.

Despite these strides, LGBTQ representation remained largely homogenous, with white characters dominating the screen.

It wasn’t until the release of “Moonlight” in 2016 that mainstream cinema witnessed a groundbreaking shift.

Directed by Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” told the layered and hopeful story of a gay Black man navigating his identity amidst poverty and prejudice.

The film shattered stereotypes and offered a poignant portrayal of intersectionality within the LGBTQ community, earning Jenkins an Oscar and cementing its place in cinematic history.

Since then, the landscape of LGBTQ cinema has continued to evolve, with filmmakers increasingly embracing intersectional narratives and diverse perspectives.

Films like “Bros” have sparked conversations about the importance of LGBTQ representation in mainstream media, challenging major studios to prioritize inclusivity and authenticity in their storytelling.

Moreover, the rise of independent cinema has provided a platform for marginalized voices to share their stories authentically.

Films like “The Watermelon Woman” exemplify the shoestring brilliance of queer filmmakers, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of LGBTQ experiences that often go unseen in mainstream media.

At the same time, big-budget productions like “Rocketman” have brought the flamboyance and resilience of queer icons to the forefront, celebrating their contributions to art and culture.

Through extravagant musical sequences and raw emotional moments, these films pay homage to the LGBTQ community’s resilience and creativity in the face of adversity.

The significance of representation in LGBTQ cinema cannot be overstated. As the rallying cry “representation matters” suggests, the stories we consume have the power to shape our perceptions of others and ourselves.

When a film authentically captures the queer experience, it not only resonates with LGBTQ audiences but also fosters empathy and understanding among viewers of all backgrounds.

The evolution of LGBTQ cinema reflects the ongoing struggle for visibility, acceptance, and equality.

From the early days of marginalization to the emergence of intersectional narratives, each film contributes to a rich tapestry of queer experiences and perspectives.

As we continue to advocate for more inclusive representation in media, let us celebrate the progress we’ve made while recognizing the work that still lies ahead.

After all, every film that truly nails the queer experience is not just a work of art but a triumph of authenticity and representation.

Over the past nine decades, LGBTQ+ cinema has undergone a remarkable transformation, spanning continents, cultures, and genres.

From the pioneering German film “Mädchen in Uniform,” which defied societal norms and was subsequently banned by the Nazis, to modern-day masterpieces like “The Handmaiden” and “Paris Is Burning,” the landscape of LGBTQ+ movies is as diverse as the community it represents.

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Pioneering LGBTQ+ Films: Breaking Boundaries And Defying Conventions

Best LGBTQ Movies

At the forefront of LGBTQ+ cinema is “Mädchen in Uniform,” a groundbreaking German film that challenged the status quo with its portrayal of same-sex desire in a strict boarding school.

Released in 1931, the film dared to explore themes of love and longing between female characters at a time when such topics were considered taboo.

Despite facing censorship and condemnation, “Mädchen in Uniform” paved the way for future LGBTQ+ filmmakers to tell their stories authentically.

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Cult Classics And Iconic Representations

From the cult classic “The Birdcage,” a hilarious American comedy about a gay couple navigating familial acceptance, to the artful Korean crime drama “The Handmaiden,” which intertwines themes of desire and deception, LGBTQ+ cinema has produced a diverse array of iconic representations.

These films not only entertain but also challenge societal norms and perceptions of gender and sexuality.

Groundbreaking Indies And Landmark Documentaries

best lgbtq movies of all time

Independent films like “Tangerine” and landmark documentaries like “Paris Is Burning” have played a pivotal role in shaping LGBTQ+ cinema.

“Tangerine,” shot entirely on an iPhone, offers a raw and authentic portrayal of transgender sex workers in Los Angeles, while “Paris Is Burning” provides an intimate look into the vibrant ballroom culture of New York City’s LGBTQ+ community in the 1980s.

These films shed light on the often-overlooked experiences of marginalized individuals and celebrate the resilience and creativity of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Recent Additions And Emerging Voices

In recent years, a new wave of LGBTQ+ films has emerged, pushing boundaries and challenging conventions.

Documentaries like “Welcome to Chechnya” highlight the ongoing struggles faced by LGBTQ+ activists in countries where their identities are criminalized, while comedies like “Shiva Baby” offer fresh perspectives on the complexities of modern queer relationships.

Even mainstream Hollywood has begun to embrace LGBTQ+ narratives, as seen in films like “The Old Guard,” which features a same-sex relationship between two of its heroes.

Debates And Diversification: Addressing Representation In LGBTQ+ Cinema

While the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and themes in mainstream cinema is undoubtedly a step forward, it also raises important questions about representation and authenticity.

The historical dominance of white male perspectives in LGBTQ+ cinema has been a point of contention, as has the practice of casting straight and cisgender actors in LGBTQ+ roles.

However, films like “Fire Island” and “Bros” offer glimpses into the lives of queer individuals that defy stereotypes and challenge preconceptions.

Looking Ahead: The Future Of LGBTQ+ Cinema

As LGBTQ+ cinema continues to evolve, it is essential to celebrate the diverse voices and stories that contribute to its rich tapestry.

From mainstream comedies to indie dramas, LGBTQ+ filmmakers are pushing boundaries, amplifying marginalized voices, and challenging societal norms.

Whether it’s through bold experimentation or intimate storytelling, the best LGBTQ+ movies of all time serve as a testament to the resilience, creativity, and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.

The journey of LGBTQ+ cinema is one of resilience, progress, and celebration.

From pioneering classics to contemporary masterpieces, these films have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape, shaping perceptions and challenging conventions.

As we continue to celebrate LGBTQ+ stories on screen, let us honor the trailblazing filmmakers and activists who have paved the way for a more inclusive and authentic cinematic landscape.

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Some Of The Renowned  LGBTQ+ Movies Along With Their Key Details:

Must-See LGBTQ Movies That Celebrate Love and Identity

Title Year Critics Consensus Synopsis
Welcome to Chechnya 2020 An illuminating and urgent call to action, portrays the horrors of the mass persecution of the LGBTQ+ community in the Chechen Republic with tenacity and tenderness. Activists risk their lives to confront Russian leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his government-directed campaign to detain, torture, and execute LGBTQ individuals.
Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado 2020 An absorbing and affectionate tribute to a unique individual, should prove fascinating for Walter Mercado fans as well as first-timers. Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic Walter Mercado discusses his life, career, and post-fame seclusion.
A Secret Love 2020 Pays understated yet powerful tribute to a lifetime of choices and sacrifices made in the name of enduring devotion. A former baseball player keeps her lesbian relationship a secret from her family for seven decades.
We Were Here 2011 Offers a powerful tribute to the inspiring resolve shown at a time of turmoil. Revisits the crises facing the gay community in the early 1980s in San Francisco and offers a powerful tribute to the inspiring resolve shown at a time of turmoil.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) 2017 Offers an engrossing look at a pivotal period in history that lingers long after the closing credits roll. Nathan joins an AIDS activist group in 1990s Paris and becomes involved in the fight against the government’s indifference toward the AIDS epidemic.
Girl Picture 2022 Captures the whirlwind of teenage emotions without sacrificing narrative maturity and depth. Best friends Mimmi and Rönkkö work after school at a food court smoothie kiosk, sharing stories of their frustrations, desires, and emotions.
Moonlight 2016 Offers a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema. Chronicles the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami, exploring his struggles with identity, sexuality, and masculinity.
Flee 2021 Pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking to present a moving memoir of self-discovery. Tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years as a refugee.
God’s Own Country 2017 Marks an outstanding directorial debut for Francis Lee, a quiet, moving rumination on loneliness and newfound intimacy. A young farmer in Yorkshire numbs his frustrations with drinking and casual sex until a Romanian migrant worker arrives and sparks a relationship that changes his life.
All About My Mother 1999 Weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with an affectionate wink to classics of theater and cinema. New friends help a woman struggling to get her life in order after her son’s death.
How to Survive a Plague 2012 Brilliantly constructed documentary about the activists who pushed for action to combat the AIDS epidemic. Documents the efforts of Act-Up and other AIDS activists in the late 1980s and early 1990s to raise awareness and fight for action against the AIDS epidemic.
Paris Is Burning 1990 Dives into ’80s transgender subculture, allowing this world to flourish and the people to speak (and dance) for themselves. Focuses on drag queens living in New York City and their “house” culture, providing insight into the LGBTQ community’s struggles and triumphs.
Disclosure 2020 Engrossingly illuminates the history and effects of the way transgender lives are depicted onscreen. Examines Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and its impact on American culture.
Circus of Books 2019 Proves there are countless stories below the surface if we’re only willing to look. Chronicles the story of a couple who took over an adult book store in 1976, becoming the biggest distributor of gay porn in the US.
Call Me Kuchu 2012 Exposes heinous systematic brutality with a clear eye and admirable precision. Follows openly gay activists in Uganda as they work to defeat legislation that would criminalize homosexuality in their country.
My Beautiful Laundrette 1985 Fast-paced and all over the place because it has so much to say, and show, including a highly watchable fresh-faced Daniel Day-Lewis. Explores the relationship between a young Pakistani man and his uncle’s ex-lover, a white punk who encourages him to start a laundromat business.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire 2019 Finds stirring, thought-provoking drama within a powerfully acted romance. Set in 18th-century France, a young woman falls in love with the artist commissioned to paint her portrait, challenging societal norms and expectations.
The Half of It 2020 Has everything for viewers in search of an uncommonly smart, tender, and funny coming-of-age story. A shy, introverted student helps the school jock woo a girl whom they both secretly desire.
Booksmart 2019 Does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy. Two academic overachievers set out to have one wild night of fun before graduating high school.
Pain and Glory 2019 Finds writer-director Pedro Almodóvar drawing on his own life to rewarding effect. An aging film director reflects on his past, grappling with memories of love, loss, and creativity.
Parallel Mothers 2021 Reaffirms the familiar pleasures of Almodóvar’s filmmaking while proving he’s still capable of growth. Two women give birth in the same hospital and form a bond as they navigate the joys and challenges of motherhood.
The Handmaiden 2016 Uses a Victorian crime novel as the loose inspiration for another visually sumptuous and absorbingly idiosyncratic outing from director Park Chan-wook. A Korean con man devises an elaborate plot to seduce a Japanese heiress with the help of an orphaned pickpocket.
Shiva Baby 2020 Transcends its sitcom setup with strong performances and satisfying insights. A college student has an awkward encounter with her sugar daddy and ex-girlfriend at a Jewish funeral service.
Tangerine 2015 Shatters casting conventions and offers an old-fashioned comedy at heart. A transgender sex worker seeks revenge on her cheating boyfriend/pimp with the help of her best friend.
Tomboy 2011 In tune with the emotion and tribulations of childhood, Tomboy is a charming movie that treats its main subject with warmth and heart. A 10-year-old girl moves into a new neighborhood and decides to dress like a boy.
Gods and Monsters 1998 Gods and Monsters is a spellbinding, confusing piece of semi-fiction, featuring fine performances; McKellen leads the way, but Redgrave and Fraser don’t lag far behind. In the film, retired Hollywood director James Whale forms a unique connection with his new gardener, Clayton Boone, sparking intrigue beyond his usual dalliances. Meanwhile, his disapproving housekeeper observes their evolving relationship amid Whale’s declining health and his past successes as a filmmaker.
Dog Day Afternoon 1975 Framed by great work from director Sidney Lumet and fueled by a gripping performance from Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon offers a finely detailed snapshot of people in crisis with tension-soaked drama shaded in black humor. In “Dog Day Afternoon,” Sonny Wortzik and Sal Naturile botch a bank robbery, leading to a tense hostage situation in Brooklyn. As media attention and FBI involvement intensify, Sonny’s true motives surface amidst the chaos, culminating in a dramatic standoff with law enforcement.
Good Manners 2017 Good Manners adroitly juggles disparate tonal shifts while taking a uniquely smart and sensitive look at female relationships. A mysterious and wealthy woman hires a lonely nurse named Clara to be the nanny of her soon-to-be born child.
Pariah 2011 Pulsing with authenticity and led by a stirring lead performance from Adepero Oduye, Pariah is a powerful coming out/coming-of-age film that signals the arrival of a fresh new talent in writer/director Dee Rees. “Pariah” follows Alike, a teenage lesbian living in Brooklyn, as she navigates her identity while keeping it hidden from her family, who are dealing with their own issues. Alike seeks her first romantic relationship while grappling with how much she can trust her family. When her mother encourages her to befriend a colleague’s daughter, Alike finds solace in the new friendship.
Heavenly Creatures 1994 Dark, stylish, and captivating, Heavenly Creatures signals both the auspicious debut of Kate Winslet and the arrival of Peter Jackson as more than just a cult director. “Heavenly Creatures,” wealthy and precocious teenager Juliet transfers to New Zealand and forms a close bond with the quiet Pauline through their love of Mario Lanza and games of make-believe. As their friendship intensifies, their parents grow concerned, leading the girls to plan to run away to America. However, their plan takes a dark turn as they hatch a scheme to deal with those who try to keep them apart.
Weekend 2011 It may be a chamber piece but Weekend’s revelations on modern sexuality expand far beyond the modest setting. A gay man’s weekend-long encounter with an artist changes his life in unexpected ways.
Appropriate Behavior 2014 Warm, funny, and quietly profound, Appropriate Behavior serves as a thoroughly compelling calling card for writer, director, and star Desiree Akhavan. Desiree Akhavan, a Brooklynite with a traditional Persian upbringing, grapples with her bisexuality in secrecy while facing the unraveling of her relationship with girlfriend Rebecca Henderson.
Princess Cyd 2017 Princess Cyd defies coming-of-age convention to offer a sweetly understated – yet deeply resonant – look at pivotal relationships. A 16-year-old girl visits her aunt in Chicago for the summer. While there, she falls for another girl, and she and her aunt challenge each other’s sex and spirit.
Being 17 2016 Being 17 rides the roiling emotions of adolescence through a coming-of-age melodrama whose narrative turbulence smartly reflects the confusion of its protagonists. When his mother takes in a bully whose own mother is ill, the son of a soldier must learn to live with the boy who terrorized him.
Call Me by Your Name 2017 Call Me by Your Name offers a melancholy, powerfully affecting portrait of first love, empathetically acted by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. In the summer of 1983, 17-year-old Elio Perlman spends his days at his family’s villa in Lombardy, Italy. He meets Oliver, a doctoral student interning for Elio’s father, and they experience the intoxicating allure of newfound desire against the backdrop of sunlit splendor, a summer that changes their lives forever.
The Power of the Dog 2021 Brought to life by a stellar ensemble led by Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog reaffirms writer-director Jane Campion as one of her generation’s finest filmmakers. In 1925 Montana, Phil Burbank, a striking figure with pale eyes, exudes a captivating yet brutal charm. He and his brother George, wealthy ranchers, encounter Rose and her son Peter at the Red Mill restaurant. Phil’s cruelty reduces them to tears, amusing his companions except for George, who later marries Rose. Phil’s behavior towards Rose takes on a haunting quality, while his treatment of Peter oscillates between mockery and apparent mentorship. Yet, it remains uncertain whether Phil’s actions signal a vulnerability or escalate the threat he poses.
Carol 2015 Shaped by Todd Haynes’ deft direction and powered by a strong cast led by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol lives up to its groundbreaking source material. In 1950s Manhattan, aspiring photographer Therese encounters the elegant Carol among the doll displays of a department store. Their fast bond blossoms into a love fraught with complex consequences.
A Fantastic Woman 2017 Subtle and tender, A Fantastic Woman handles its timely, sensitive subject matter with care. A transgender singer faces scorn and discrimination after the sudden death of her older boyfriend.
Fire Island 2022 Brought to life by a tremendously talented cast, the breezily entertaining Fire Island proves there are still fresh ways to update Austen. In Andrew Ahn’s “Fire Island,” set in the iconic Pines, a modern rom-com unfolds, celebrating queerness and romance with a diverse cast. Inspired by Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” best friends (played by Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) embark on a summer adventure fueled by cheap rosé and their quirky group of friends.
Behind the Candelabra 2013 Affectionate without sacrificing honesty, Behind the Candelabra couples award-worthy performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon with some typically sharp direction from Steven Soderbergh. In the biographical drama “Behind the Candelabra,” world-renowned pianist Liberace enters into a romantic relationship with his much younger lover, Scott Thorson. However, their bond weakens as Liberace indulges in affairs and Thorson battles drug addiction.
The Duke of Burgundy 2014 Stylish, sensual, and smart, The Duke of Burgundy proves that erotic cinema can have genuine substance. Two entomologists play ritual games of dominance and subservience.
Stranger by the Lake 2013 Sexy, smart, and darkly humorous, Stranger by the Lake offers rewarding viewing for adult filmgoers in search of thought-provoking drama. Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man.
The Crying Game 1992 The Crying Game is famous for its shocking twist, but this thoughtful, haunting mystery grips the viewer from start to finish. In “The Crying Game,” IRA member Fergus forms a bond with a kidnapped British soldier, Jody, leading him to promise a visit to Jody’s girlfriend, Dil. Fleeing to London, Fergus becomes entangled with Dil, facing challenges from his IRA past and unexpected revelations about Dil’s identity.
The Normal Heart 2014 Thanks to Emmy-worthy performances from a reputable cast, The Normal Heart is not only a powerful, heartbreaking drama, but also a vital document of events leading up to and through the early AIDS crisis. In 1980s New York, a writer and his friends confront the truth about the emerging AIDS crisis, striving to expose it to the government and the gay community.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 1994 While its premise is ripe for comedy — and it certainly delivers its fair share of laughs — Priscilla is also a surprisingly tender and thoughtful road movie with some outstanding performances. In the film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, drag queen Anthony invites cross-dresser Adam and transsexual Bernadette to join him on a journey across the Australian desert in a colorful bus named Priscilla. As they perform and encounter both supportive audiences and hostile locals, tensions arise when secrets about Anthony’s motives surface, jeopardizing their act and their bond.
Everything Everywhere All at Once 2022 Led by an outstanding Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once lives up to its title with an expertly calibrated assault on the senses. Tax evasion takes a wild turn in this sci-fi comedy by Daniels, where Michelle Yeoh stars as an exhausted Chinese American woman battling not just the IRS, but also bizarre sci-fi obstacles in a hilarious and big-hearted adventure.
Milk 2008 Anchored by Sean Penn’s powerhouse performance, Milk is a triumphant account of America’s first openly gay man elected to public office. 1972, Harvey Milk and his partner move to San Francisco. Milk opens a camera shop in the Castro District, contributing to its LGBTQ community. In 1977, he becomes the first openly gay man elected to public office. Tragically, he’s murdered by Dan White in 1978.
Love Is Strange 2014 Held aloft by remarkable performances from John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, Love Is Strange serves as a graceful tribute to the beauty of commitment in the face of adversity. After losing their home, a recently married gay couple, portrayed by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, are forced to live apart.
Farewell, My Queen 2012 Farewell, My Queen transcends its gaudy period trappings to offer an affecting historical drama built on timeless – and timely – themes. Marie Antoinette develops a relationship with a reader during the last days of the French Revolution.

best lgbtq movies streaming now

Title Year Critics Consensus Starring Directed By
The Fallout 2021 Empathetic and well-acted, The Fallout uses the aftermath of teen trauma to grapple with the experience of grief. Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp Megan Park
Blue Jean 2022 Bridging times past with issues that are still current, Blue Jean resonates intellectually and emotionally thanks to thoughtful direction and authentic performances. Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes, Lydia Page, Stacy Abalogun Georgia Oakley
My Name Is Pauli Murray 2021 My Name Is Pauli Murray educates and uplifts in equal measure while paying stirring tribute to a largely unsung — yet hugely important — individual. Patricia Bell-Scott, Dolores Chandler, Brittney Cooper Betsy West, Julie Cohen
The Way He Looks 2014 Compassionate, emotionally detailed, and populated with resonant characters, The Way He Looks leaves a warmth that lingers. Ghilherme Lobo, Fábio Audi, Tess Amorim, Selma Egrei Daniel Ribeiro
Dallas Buyers Club 2013 Dallas Buyers Club rests squarely on Matthew McConaughey’s scrawny shoulders, and he carries the burden gracefully with what might be a career-best performance. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare Jean-Marc Vallée
Love, Simon 2018 Love, Simon hits its coming-of-age beats more deftly than many entries in this well-traveled genre — and represents an overdue, if not entirely successful, milestone of inclusion. Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Tony Hale Greg Berlanti
The Kids Are All Right 2010 Worthwhile as both a well-acted ensemble piece and as a smart, warm statement on family values, The Kids Are All Right is remarkable. Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska Lisa Cholodenko
Pride 2014 Earnest without being didactic and uplifting without stooping to sentimentality, Pride is a joyous crowd-pleaser that genuinely works. Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine Matthew Warchus
Hedwig and the Angry Inch 2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch may very well be the next Rocky Horror midnight movie. It not only knows how to rock, but Hedwig’s story has an emotional poignancy. John Cameron Mitchell, Michael Pitt, Miriam Shor, Stephen Trask John Cameron Mitchell
Swan Song 2021 Udo Kier’s layered performance lends Swan Song a nuance and poignancy that offset its potentially outlandish story. Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie Todd Stephens
The Watermelon Woman 1996 An auspicious debut for writer-director Cheryl Dunye, The Watermelon Woman tells a fresh story in wittily irreverent style. Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker, Lisa Marie Bronson Cheryl Dunye
Summertime 2015 Summertime (La Belle Saison) presents a well-acted, beautifully framed period romance that offers a refreshing perspective on its era in the bargain. Cécile De France, Izïa Higelin, Noémie Lvovsky, Kévin Azaïs Catherine Corsini
Unpregnant 2020 Unpregnant puts a compelling twist on the road trip comedy — and treats its sensitive subject with heart. Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Giancarlo Esposito, Alex MacNicoll Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Cabaret 1972 Great performances and evocative musical numbers help Cabaret secure its status as a stylish, socially conscious classic. Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, Helmut Griem Bob Fosse
Grandma 2015 Boasting a stellar performance from Lily Tomlin and some powerfully empathetic work from writer-director Paul Weitz, Grandma is a dramedy that shouldn’t have to ask you to visit. Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer Paul Weitz
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair 2021 Narratively challenging and visually haunting, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair adds a uniquely ambitious and unsettling entry to the crowded coming-of-age genre. Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers Jane Schoenbrun
Show Me Love 1998 A naturalistic depiction of teenage life, Show Me Love has a charming, authentic feel. Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecca Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust Lukas Moodysson
The Imitation Game 2014 With an outstanding starring performance from Benedict Cumberbatch illuminating its fact-based story, The Imitation Game serves as an eminently well-made entry in the “prestige biopic” genre. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear Morten Tyldum
Titane 2021 Thrillingly provocative and original, Titane reaffirms writer-director Julia Ducournau’s delightfully disturbing vision. Agathe Rousselle, Vincent Lindon, Garance Marillier, Laïs Salameh Julia Ducournau
Passing 2021 While Passing’s delicate approach has a dampening effect on its story, debuting director Rebecca Hall makes the most of an impressive cast — and handles thorny themes with impressive dexterity. Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård Rebecca Hall
Supernova 2020 Led by moving performances from Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, Supernova is a heartbreaking look at the emotional toll that comes with accepting mortality. Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Pippa Haywood, Peter MacQueen Harry Macqueen
My Summer of Love 2004 My Summer of Love is a moody, bittersweet love story featuring outstanding performances from the leads. Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews Paul Pavlikovsky
Title Year Critics Consensus Starring Directed By
Boys Don’t Cry 1999 Harrowing yet stirring, Boys Don’t Cry powerfully commemorates the life — and brutally unjust death — of transgender teen Brandon Teena. Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III Kimberly Peirce
Anaïs in Love 2021 The main character may be hard to like, but Anaïs in Love offers a well-acted and breezily humorous take on its admittedly well-worn themes. Anaïs Demoustier, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Denis Podalydès, Jean-Charles Clichet Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
Keep the Lights On 2012 Keep the Lights On is a mysterious, sexy journey deep into the love affair of two men that always manages to stay true to life. Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Paprika Steen Ira Sachs
Bros 2022 Bros marks a step forward in rom-com representation — and just as importantly, it’s a whole bunch of fun to watch. Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, TS Madison, Monica Raymund Nicholas Stoller
Bound 1996 Bound’s more titillating elements attracted attention, but it’s the stylish direction, solid performances, and entertaining neo-noir caper plot that make it worth a watch. Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Kivel Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Brokeback Mountain 2005 A beautiful, epic Western, Brokeback Mountain’s love story is imbued with heartbreaking universality thanks to moving performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris Ang Lee
Blue Is the Warmest Color 2013 Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema’s most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama. Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Mona Walravens Abdel Kechiche
Bad Education 2004 A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama. Fele Martínez, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lluís Homar Pedro Almodóvar
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 2021 Fear Street Part Three: 1666 sends the slasher series back in time for a trilogy-concluding installment that caps things off on a screaming high note. Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Olivia Welch Leigh Janiak
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women 2017 Professor Marston & The Wonder Women winds a lasso of cinematic truth around a fascinating fact-based tale with strong performances from its three stars. Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton Angela Robinson
Saving Face 2004 A charming tale of a love affair that overcomes cultural taboos. Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen, Jessica Hecht Alice Wu
A Single Man 2009 Though the costumes are beautiful and the art direction impeccable, what stands out most from this debut by fashion designer Tom Ford is the leading performance by Colin Firth. Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode Tom Ford
Mysterious Skin 2004 Bold performances and sensitive, spot-on direction make watching this difficult tale of trauma and abuse a thought-provoking, resonant experience. Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jeff Licon Gregg Araki
Circumstance 2011 A thought-provoking, insightful look into Iranian youth culture. Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa Maryam Keshavarz
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood 2017 Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood offers plenty of prurient thrills for film fans, but beyond the gossip lies a poignantly illuminating look at decades of sexual mores. Scotty Bowers, Peter Bart, Stephen Fry, Tony Charmoli Matt Tyrnauer
The Five Devils 2022 Overflowing with ideas as it moves across genres, The Five Devils uses intoxicating magical realism to explore a family’s troubled past. Adèle Exarchopoulos, Sally Dramé, Swala Emati, Moustapha Mbengue Léa Mysius
Yossi & Jagger 2002 A tersely told yet deeply felt romance. Yehuda Levi, Ohad Knoller, Assi Cohen, Aya Koren Eytan Fox
Mulholland Dr. 2001 David Lynch’s dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmerizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood. Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Ann Miller David Lynch
Beginners 2010 Wearing its twee heart on its sleeve, Beginners explores the depths of modern, multi-generational romance with wit and depth. Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic Mike Mills
Old Joy 2006 A serene, melancholy beauty permeates this meditative portrait of deep friendship and faded glory. Will Oldham, Daniel London, Tanya Smith, Robin Rosenberg Kelly Reichardt
Other People 2016 Other People resists easy melodrama, rewarding viewers with a smart, subtle look at family dynamics with a talented cast and a finely calibrated blend of funny and serious moments. Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow Chris Kelly
Battle of the Sexes 2017 Battle of the Sexes turns real-life events into a crowd-pleasing, well-acted dramedy that ably entertains while smartly serving up a volley of present-day parallels. Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
Benedetta 2021 Precariously walking a tightrope of varying genres and tones, Benedetta provokes salient questions about sexual freedom and its relationship to faith. Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson, Daphne Patakia Paul Verhoeven
Beach Rats 2017 Empathetic and powerfully acted, Beach Rats takes a clear-eyed yet dreamlike look at a young man’s adolescent turmoil. Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Nicole Flyus Eliza Hittman
Chuck & Buck 2000 As poignant as it is unsettling, Chuck & Buck uses the complex dynamic between two men as fuel for untangling a rich assortment of thought-provoking themes. Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt Miguel Arteta
Laurence Anyways 2012 Passionate and powerfully acted, Laurence Anyways sometimes strains to achieve its narrative ambitions (and fill its three-hour running time), but ultimately succeeds. Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri Xavier Dolan
Handsome Devil 2016 Handsome Devil offers a charming, well-acted variation on the coming-of-age story with a few fresh topical twists. Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford John Butler
Happy Together 1997 Happy Together’s strong sense of style complements its slice of life love story, even if the narrative slogs. Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Gregory Dayton Kar-Wai Wong
The Birdcage 1996 Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles. Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest Mike Nichols
Happiest Season 2020 A jolly good time with heartfelt performances and more than enough holiday cheer, all you’ll want for Christmas is Happiest Season. Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Mary Steenburgen, Victor Garber Clea Duvall
Water Lilies 2007 Water Lilies is a sharply-observed, provocative coming-of-age story that captures the anxieties of the early teen years. Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adèle Haenel, Warren Jacquin Céline Sciamma
Monster 2003 Charlize Theron gives a searing, deglamorized performance as real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, an intense, disquieting portrait of a profoundly damaged soul. Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern, Scott Wilson Patty Jenkins
Knife + Heart 2018 Knife + Heart wrings giallo-inspired thrills out of a boldly challenging story that defiantly succeeds on its own stylish merits. Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet Yann Gonzalez
Philadelphia 1993 Philadelphia indulges in some unfortunate clichés in its quest to impart a meaningful message, but its stellar cast and sensitive direction are more than enough to compensate. Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas Jonathan Demme
The Old Guard 2020 The Old Guard is occasionally restricted by genre conventions, but director Gina Prince-Bythewood brings a sophisticated vision to the superhero genre – and some knockout action sequences led by Charlize Theron. Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts Gina Prince-Bythewood
My Own Private Idaho 1991 A tantalizing glimpse of a talented director and his stars all at the top of their respective games, Gus Van Sant’s loose reworking of Henry IV is smart, sad and audacious. River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert Gus Van Sant
G.B.F. 2013 G.B.F. explores high school relationship dynamics and teen stereotypes with a refreshingly humorous touch – and surprisingly subtle smarts. Michael J. Willett, Paul Iacono, Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen Darren Stein
Framing Agnes 2022 Framing Agnes may be frustratingly uneven as a work of cinematic storytelling, but that’s often outweighed by its thoughtful expansion of established historical narrative. Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Zackary Drucker, Max Valerio Chase Joynt
The Hours 2002 The movie may be a downer, but it packs an emotional wallop. Some fine acting on display here. Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris Stephen Daldry
The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975 Rocky Horror Picture Show brings its quirky characters in tight, but it’s the narrative thrust that really drives audiences insane and keeps ’em doing the time warp again. Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien Jim Sharman
Get Real 1998 An authentic portrayal of homosexuality in high school, Get Real is an engaging dramedy that doesn’t sermonize its audience nor trivialize its characters. Ben Silverstone, Brad Gorton, Charlotte Brittain, Stacy Hart Simon Shore
The Intervention 2016 The Intervention’s familiar plot is enlivened by complex character dynamics and a likable cast. Clea Duvall, Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne, Vincent Piazza Clea Duvall
Transamerica 2005 A terrific performance by Felicity Huffman carries this unconventional but touching transgender road movie. Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Fionnula Flanagan, Graham Greene Duncan Tucker
Uncle Frank 2020 Uncle Frank finds writer-director Alan Ball still untangling the modern American family dynamic, aided by standout work from Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis. Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn Alan Ball
Outrage 2009 Outrage walks a difficult moral and ethical line — and not always successfully — but despite its flaws, it’s a fascinating, provocative look at homosexuality in American politics. Kirby Dick
High Art 1998 A surprisingly sultry performance from Ally Sheedy elevates High Art from pretentious melodrama to compelling — if still a little pretentious — romance. Ally Sheedy, Radha Mitchell, Patricia Clarkson, Tammy Grimes Lisa Cholodenko
The World to Come 2020 The World to Come is made from ingredients that will be familiar to fans of period forbidden romance movies, but they’re given fresh life thanks to an excellent cast. Katherine Waterston, Vanessa Kirby, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott Mona Fastvold
Title Year Critics Consensus Starring Directed By
Go Fish 1994 With sensitive direction from Rose Troche and terrific work from co-writer/star Guinevere Turner, Go Fish plays a winning hand. V.S. Brodie, Guinevere Turner, T. Wendy McMillan, Migdalia Melendez Rose Troche
Concussion 2013 Smart, nuanced, and sexy, Concussion transcends its more awkward moments thanks to Robin Weigert’s remarkable starring performance. Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Daniel London, Ben Shenkman Stacie Passon
Before Night Falls 2000 An impressionistic, fragmented look at Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls’ imagery manages to evoke a sense of the writer’s artistry, and Bardem’s strong performance holds the film together. Finally, a biopic done well. Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Johnny Depp Julian Schnabel
Heartbeats 2010 An art film to the max, Heartbeats intriguing and appealing premise is sometimes buried by director Xavier Dolan’s filmmaking flourishes. Niels Schneider, Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokri, Anne Dorval Xavier Dolan
I Love You Phillip Morris 2009 This fact-based romantic comedy has its flaws, but they’re mostly overcome by its consistently sweet, funny tone and one of the best performances of Jim Carrey’s career. Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Monster 2023 Gently devastating in its compassion, Monster is a masterpiece of shifting perspectives that surprises to the end. Sakura Andô, Eita Nagayama, Soya Kurokawa, Mitsuki Takahata Hirokazu Koreeda
C.R.A.Z.Y. 2005 Balancing heart and humor against outstanding work from a talented cast, C.R.A.Z.Y. proves the coming-of-age formula can still produce powerful results. Michel Côté, Marc-André Grondin, Danielle Proulx, Pierre-Luc Brillant Jean-Marc Vallée
Victim 1961 Further elevated by a strong central performance from Dirk Bogarde, Victim offers an eloquent and emotionally affecting argument against prejudice. Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Nigel Stock Basil Dearden
Portrait of Jason 1967 Like any great work of art, Portrait of Jason tells a story that reaches far beyond its canvas in the act of illuminating its subject. Shirley Clarke
Signature Move 2017 No consensus yet. Fawzia Mirza, Shabana Azmi, Sari Sanchez, Audrey Francis Jennifer Reeder
Victor/Victoria 1982 Driven by a fantastic lead turn from Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards’ musical gender-bender is sharp, funny and all-round entertaining. Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren Blake Edwards
The Celluloid Closet 1996 The Celluloid Closet takes a thought-provoking look at the decades of omission and misrepresentation endured by the gay community in mainstream cinema. Lily Tomlin, Antonio Banderas, Susie Bright, Quentin Crisp Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
In the Family 2011 In the Family uses one couple’s tragedy to examine the legal meaning of parenthood – and make a persuasive argument for a more inclusive approach to family law. Patrick Wang, Sebastian Banes, Trevor St. John, Lisa Altomare Patrick Wang
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson 2017 The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson uses its belated investigation into an activist’s murder as the framework for a sobering look at the ongoing battle for equal rights. James Abreu, Victoria Cruz, Karla Jay, Agosto Machado David France
The Wedding Banquet 1993 Ang Lee’s funny and ultimately poignant comedy of manners reveals the filmmaker’s skill across genres. Winston Chao, May Chin, Mitchell Lichtenstein, Sihung Lung Ang Lee
The Times of Harvey Milk 1984 True to its title, The Times of Harvey Milk looks back on the life of the titular politician and activist — and the era he helped define with his trailblazing career. Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann Rob Epstein
The Stroll 2023 A call to life and the ever-necessary visibility of a once-silenced community, The Stroll serves as a brilliant beacon of hope and resilience for trans women of color. Zackary Drucker, Kristen Lovell
The Queen 1968 Celebrating its subjects without ever losing sight of their story, The Queen is a fascinating time capsule that has only gained resonance since its release. Jack Doroshow, Andy Warhol Francis Simon
Southern Comfort 2001 No consensus yet. Kate Davis
Chris & Don: A Love Story 2007 Chris and Don paints an affecting, enlightening portrait of a one-of-a-kind love affair. James Berg, John Boorman, Paul Bowles, Don Bachardy Tina Mascara, Guido Santi
Before Stonewall 1984 No consensus yet. Rita Mae Brown, Allen Ginsberg, Harry Hay, Frank Kameny Greta Schiller
Straight Up 2019 Well-acted and sharply written, Straight Up serves as an effervescent calling card for writer/director/star James Sweeney. Randall Park, Katie Findlay, Betsy Brandt, Tracie Thoms James Sweeney
My Life in Pink 1997 Ma Vie en Rose follows a child’s exploration of their gender identity with warmth and empathy — for its young protagonist as well as the family affected by their journey. Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Hélène Vincent, Georges Du Fresne Alain Berliner
Beautiful Thing 1996 An engaging slice of life drama that happens to double as a gay coming-of-age story, Beautiful Thing captures its place and time with deceptive depth and skill. Linda Henry, Glen Berry, Scott Neal, Ben Daniels Hettie MacDonald
Passages 2023 Elevated by a remarkable Franz Rogowski performance, Passages adds another smart, deeply humanistic film to director Ira Sachs’ estimable filmography. Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Erwan Kepoa Falé Ira Sachs
Title Year Critics Consensus Starring Directed By
Longtime Companion 1990 Longtime Companion is a sensitive ensemble AIDS drama, lensed with sympathy which builds to a moving finale. Bruce Davison, Campbell Scott, Stephen Caffrey, Mark Lamos Norman René
The Wild Boys 2017 Debuting writer-director Bertrand Mandico’s The Wild Boys impresses with the breadth of its ambitions — and the skill with which they’re often triumphantly realized. Christophe Bier, Pauline Lorillard, Sam Louwyck, Elina Löwensohn Bertrand Mandico
Gayby 2012 No consensus yet. Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Charlie Barnett, Samantha Buck Jonathan Lisecki
First Girl I Loved 2016 Intelligent, empathetic, and well-acted, First Girl I Loved explores teen romance from a refreshing – and emotionally resonant – perspective. Brianna Hildebrand, Pamela Adlon, Dylan Gelula, Mateo Arias Kirun Sanga
The Boys in the Band 1970 No consensus yet. Cliff Gorman, Leonard Frey, Peter White, Kenneth Nelson William Friedkin
Desert Hearts 1985 No consensus yet. Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers Donna Deitch
Fire 1996 Fire takes a slow-burning approach to its exploration of illicit love, trading overwhelming heat for a seductive warmth that lingers. Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Jaaved Jaafei Deepa Mehta
The Persian Version 2023 A vibrant portrait of culture clashes and generation gaps, The Persian Version gains added resonance through its spirited specificity. Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bijan Daneshmand Maryam Keshavarz
Undertow 2009 A drama as beautifully filmed as it is finely detailed, Undertow is a wonderfully unique love story with a touch of magic. Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona, Atilia Boschetti Javier Fuentes-León
Born in Flames 1983 No consensus yet. Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield, Florynce Kennedy Lizzie Borden
All Over Me 1996 All Over Me takes a serious, sensitive approach to teen lives and romantic relationships that are all too often ignored or misunderstood. Alison Folland, Tara Subkoff, Cole Hauser, Wilson Cruz Alex Sichel
I Killed My Mother 2009 I Killed My Mother’s raw, blunt coming-of-age narrative marks an impressive debut for filmmaker Xavier Dolan. Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, François Arnaud, Suzanne Clément Xavier Dolan
Kiss of the Spider Woman 1985 Kiss of the Spider Woman weaves an alluring exploration of sexual and societal norms that’s further elevated by strong work from William Hurt and Raul Julia. William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, José Lewgoy Hector Babenco
Black White & Gray 2007 Vital documentation of an unsung 70’s art patron and his famous photographer lover. A vivid and tragic story. Joan Juliet Buck James Crump
Margarita, with a Straw 2014 Elevated by a unique perspective and a magnetic lead performance, Margarita with a Straw puts some welcome spins on the coming-of-age genre. Kalki Koechlin, Revathi, Sayani Gupta, Hussain Dalal Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
Beautiful Boxer 2004 Beautiful Boxer blends boxing and identity politics to create a striking, if overdrawn, portrait of self discovery. Asanee Suwan, Sorapong Chatree, Kyôko Inoue, Sitiporn Niyom Ekachai Uekrongtham
Kiki 2016 Kiki compassionately captures a scene on the social margins, offering — and demanding — respect and empathy for people to whom it’s too often denied. Sara Jordenö
Lovesong 2016 Wise, well-acted, and emotionally resonant, Lovesong explores emotionally resonant themes through the ups and downs of the bond between two women. Jena Malone, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker, Ryan Eggold So-yong Kim
North Sea Texas 2011 Strong direction and delicate performances save Noordzee, Texas from its narrative cliches. Eva van der Gucht, Thomas Coumans, Katelijne Damen, Jelle Florizoone Bavo Defurne
Closet Monster 2015 Closet Monster is a unique, understated fable, buoyed by a strong performance from Connor Jessup. Connor Jessup, Aaron Abrams, Isabella Rossellini, Joanne Kelly Stephen Dunn
Funny Boy 2020 No consensus yet. Agam Darshi, Nimmi Harasgama, Ali Kazmi, Seema Biswas Deepa Mehta
Maurice 1987 Maurice sensitively explores the ramifications of forbidden desire with a powerful love story brought to life by the outstanding efforts of a talented cast. James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliott James Ivory
Alex Strangelove 2018 Alex Strangelove offers a refreshingly insightful — and fittingly adult — take on teen sexuality enlivened by smart humor and a fearlessly progressive approach. Daniel Doheny, Madeline Weinstein, Antonio Marziale, Joanna P. Adler Craig Johnson
Holding the Man 2015 Heart-wrenching performances center Holding the Man, an achingly beautiful portrayal of love and death that may be too real for some. Sarah Snook, Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia Neil Armfield
Lianna 1983 No consensus yet. Linda Griffiths, Jane Hallaren, Jon DeVries John Sayles
Edge of Seventeen 1998 A time capsule assembled with honesty and sensitivity, Edge of Seventeen overcomes youthful fumbles to capture a time of life — and an era. Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Andersen Gabrych, Stephanie McVay David Moreton
Trick 1999 By portraying its love story as nothing less than conventional, Trick avoids genre tropes to create a simple, effective romance. Christian Campbell, J.P. Pitoc, Tori Spelling, Steve Hayes Jim Fall
Crush 2022 Some of the writing is stilted and the execution is occasionally uneven, but Crush’s central love story is easy to fall for. Rowan Blanchard, Auli’i Cravalho, Isabella Ferreira, Tyler Alvarez Sammi Cohen
Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss 1998 Insubstantial yet charming, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss tells a love story that’s as rooted in classic Hollywood as it is in timely themes. Sean Hayes, Brad Rowe, Richard Ganoung, Meredith Scott Lynn Tommy O’Haver
Burning Money 2000 Burnt Money tells a stylish and steamy story about criminals on the lam. Eduardo Noriega, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pablo Echarri, Leticia Brédice Marcelo Piñeyro
Torch Song Trilogy 1988 No consensus yet. Harvey Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick, Brian Kerwin Paul Bogart
In & Out 1997 It doesn’t always find comfortable ground between broad comedy and social commentary, but lively performances — especially from Kevin Kline and Joan Cusack — enrich In & Out’s mixture of laughs and sexual tolerance. Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Matt Dillon, Debbie Reynolds Frank Oz
Personal Best 1982 Mariel Hemingway has a career-making star turn in this highly physical drama about two Olympic athletes who find each other during competitive training. Mariel Hemingway, Patrice Donnelly, Scott Glenn, Kenny Moore Robert Towne
Strange World 2022 Strange World is a Disney milestone in terms of representation — but as a storytelling experience, this dazzlingly animated adventure offers little audiences haven’t already seen. Jake Gyllenhaal, Alan Tudyk, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White Don Hall, Qui Nguyen
Bent 1997 Bent juggles heavy topics with style, though its heavy-handedness at times feels more like exploitation than exploration. Clive Owen, Lothaire Bluteau, Brian Webber, Ian McKellen Sean Mathias
Mayor Pete 2021 Mayor Pete may not pull back the curtain on its subject’s deepest inner self, but it remains a compelling portrait of a candidate on the campaign trail. Pete Buttigieg, Chasten Buttigieg Jesse Moss
Set It Off 1996 It may not boast an original plot, but Set It Off is a satisfying, socially conscious heist film thanks largely to fine performances from its leads. Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood F. Gary Gray
Love! Valour! Compassion! 1997 Sharp writing and a strong ensemble make Love! Valour! Compassion! work, though its stage-like presentation leaves something to be desired. Jason Alexander, Randy Becker, Stephen Bogardus, John Glover Joe Mantello
Were the World Mine 2008 Charming, endearing, and a little clunky, Were the World Mine is an entertaining, if somewhat unnecessary, musical adaptation. Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams Tom Gustafson
Boy Culture 2006 Eloquent one-liners and quick pacing make Boy Culture sharper than the typical gay indie flick. Derek Magyar, Patrick Bauchau, Darryl Stephens, Jonathon Trent Q. Allan Brocka
Jeffrey 1995 Jeffrey offends as readily as it amuses, but an outstanding performance from Patrick Stewart keeps it from going completely off the rails. Steven Weber, Michael T. Weiss, Irma St. Paule, Patrick Stewart Christopher Ashley
Ammonite 2020 The chemistry between Saoirse Ronan and a never-better Kate Winslet helps Ammonite transcend its period romance trappings. Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, James McArdle Francis Lee
The Runaways 2010 Viewers expecting an in-depth biopic will be disappointed, but The Runaways is as electric as the band’s music, largely thanks to strong performances from Michael Shannon, Dakota Fanning, and Kristen Stewart. Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Alia Shawkat, Scout Taylor-Compton Floria Sigismondi
Shortbus 2006 The sex may be explicit, but Mitchell integrates it into the characters’ lives and serves the whole story up with a generous dose of sweetness and wit. Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Lindsay Beamish, PJ DeBoy John Cameron Mitchell
Life Partners 2014 With two appealing leads adrift in a sitcom-worthy plot, Life Partners doesn’t do quite enough to earn viewers’ commitment. Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Brody, Abby Elliott Susanna Fogel
Strange Way of Life 2023 A tantalizing glimpse of the bond between two people, the well-acted Strange Way of Life adds a brief but still rewarding chapter to Pedro Almodóvar’s filmography. Ethan Hawke, Pedro Pascal, José Condessa, Manu Rios Pedro Almodóvar
Princesa 2001 No consensus yet. Ingrid de Souza, Cesare Bocci, Lulu Pecorari, Mauro Pirovano Henrique Goldman
Knock at the Cabin 2023 Although it’s often less than scary and parts of the story don’t bear scrutiny, Knock at the Cabin is a thought-provoking chiller and upper-tier Shyamalan. Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird M. Night Shyamalan
Falling 2020 As messy and complex as the relationship at its center, Falling’s repetitive nature can be taxing, but its heart is clearly in the right place. Viggo Mortensen, Lance Henriksen, Laura Linney, Sverrir Gudnason Viggo Mortensen
Reaching for the Moon 2013 Reaching for the Moon’s uptight sensibilities sometimes play more pretentious than poetic, but solid performances and sumptuous photography leave a lingering longing for love in the tropics. Gloria Pires, Miranda Otto, Tracy Middendorf, Marcello Airoldi Bruno Barreto
The Danish Girl 2015 The Danish Girl serves as another showcase for Eddie Redmayne’s talent — and poignantly explores thought-provoking themes with a beautifully filmed biopic drama. Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch Tom Hooper
Gun Hill Road 2011 Equal parts absorbing and educational, Gun Hill Road wears its heart on its sleeve through tender performances that make up for its narrative familiarity. Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana, Miriam Colon Rashaad Ernesto Green
Camp 2003 Campy comedy that squeaks by on its charms. Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat, Tiffany Taylor, Sasha Allen Todd Graff
Big Eden 2000 Though unrealistic, Big Eden has all the charm and sweetness of a fairy tale. Arye Gross, Eric Schweig, Tim DeKay, Louise Fletcher Thomas Bezucha
The Broken Hearts Club 2000 The Broken Hearts Club often feels like an amalgam of 70s sitcoms — though a hunky lead and a sweet central romance provide soapy delights. Timothy Olyphant, Andrew Keegan, John Mahoney, Dean Cain Greg Berlanti