The two main characters in Rafiki look at each other (Rafiki)
As 2018 draws to a close, PinkNews looks at the best gay films released across the year in queer cinema.
2018 saw gay movies break into the mainstream with Love, Simon and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, while plenty of other releases championed queer representation. We list the best gay movies with descriptions about them.
Love, simon: at last hollywood is saying ‘i’m gay’
The coming-out movie, commonly found on the film festival or arthouse circuit rather than at a multiplex, has always been a reliable source of angst. For a sign of how times have changed, try this: at a London preview last week of Love, Simon, a glossy rom-com about a US high-school student (Nick Robinson) inching slowly out of the closet, audience members were invited to ride a giant Love, Simon ferris wheel in Leicester Square in homage to the film’s giddy, fun-fair climax. There were few takers –well, it was raining – but that’s not the point. Even Beautiful Thing in 1996, which represented the previous benchmark for making a mainstream coming-out story that wouldn’t scare the horses, never had a ferris wheel erected in its honour.
Money makes a big difference. With the corporate clout of 20th Century Fox behind it, Love, Simon is the first gay teen movie from a major studio. In its eagerness to please (Simon’s opening line is: “I’m just like you”) and its relentless upbeat jauntiness, the film makes Beautiful Thing look like Fassbinder. Breakthroughs come in different shapes and sizes, though, and it would be unfair to disparage this hugely entertaining picture simply for being big and fluffy and pink.
It’s important also not to sentimentalise its significance. Fox certainly would not have funded Love, Simon were there not plentiful profits to be made. Tolerance has its commercial benefits; a gay film need no longer appeal exclusively to small or specialised audiences.
Back when Beautiful Thing opened in 1996, the UK age of consent for gay men had only recently been lowered from 21 to 18 (still two years higher than the heterosexual one). Lesbians and gay men were banned from serving in the armed forces, the insidious Section 28 was seven years away from being repealed while phrases like “civil partnership” and “marriage equality” were as unfamiliar then as “social media” and “trigger warning”.
In Get Real, a British coming-out movie that followed two years after Beautiful Thing, feel-good material still had to acknowledge the possibility of violence and homophobia. The title character in Love, Simon, on the other hand, delays his coming out only because of generalised concerns about being rejected, while the recent God’s Own Country includes a pair of casual coming-out-to-the-family scenes, conveyed in knowing glances, which only the eagle-eyed would spot. To borrow the parlance of the 21st-century teenager, it’s simply not that deep any more.
The de-stigmatisation of homosexuality has removed from drama one of its oldest standbys: the threat of ostracisation and social ruin. Audiences in the 1960s could well comprehend the distress of the barrister, played by Dirk Bogarde, who is blackmailed over his sexuality in , just as their 1980s counterparts appreciated the scandal of a married man with a gay lover in Making Love. But no version of those stories made now would have the same currency, just as history has endangered if not rendered extinct the conditions from which the 1997 comedy In & Out emerged. Inspired by Tom Hanks’s Oscar speech in which he accidentally outed one of his former teachers, In & Out gets itself into an awful tizzy over the farcical efforts of its main character, a teacher played by Kevin Kline, to hide his true sexuality.
One of the cleverest coming-out scenes in cinema occurs in a film about another teacher, Ron Peck’s 1978 British drama . It ends with the geography teacher Jim (Ken Robertson) being outed in class by his pupils, who bombard him with hostile questions: “Are you bent? Are you queer? Do you wear women’s clothes? Do you carry a handbag?” The scene is highly effective, not least because of its staging: we hardly see Jim at all but the camera is placed in his stead so that the pupils seem to be haranguing us directly. Most importantly, it signals a watershed moment for him, a break in his routine of shame and denial. The ultimate inspiration among gay teachers, however, must be Martin Donovan in the 1998 comedy The Opposite of Sex. Taking the bricks and rocks thrown through his window, he builds a rockery.
Coming-out movies (Show Me Love, The Edge of Seventeen, But I’m a Cheerleader) favour the young, if only because that’s the point at which sexual preferences first define themselves. A notable exception is Beginners, in which Christopher Plummer is a widower who comes out in his seventies. “I don’t want to be just theoretically gay,” he says, sporting a rainbow neckerchief and a much younger boyfriend. “I want to do something about it.”
But it is the teen genre where openness and inclusivity have traditionally flourished. In Clueless, the audience realises some time before Cher (Alicia Silverstone) does that she is barking up the wrong tree in her pursuit of Christian (Justin Walker). She wants to play footsie, he wants to watch Spartacus.
The most striking achievement of Love, Simon is its promotion of a gay character from sassy sidekick to authentic hero. In making gayness its subject, while treating it as no big deal, Love, Simon pulls off a rare conjuring trick with its hero’s sexuality. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Best lgbtq+ films of all time
You’ll say that the title is a little extravagant but that was the point. In fact, my idea was to make a list with good films. Some LGBT films have no interest except the one of talking of LGBT people but some LGBT films are little treasures, here they are
30 essential lgbtq+ comedies
From the lo-fi beginnings of John Waters to New Queer Cinema to the present day wave of queer coming-of-age movies popping up on Netflix, queer comedy has gone from the underground to the mainstream. The pioneering work of stars like Divine and filmmakers like Pedro Almodóvar paved the way for a family-friendly lesbian Cyrano de Bergerac in and a three-way battle of tops in an Academy Award darling like the acid-laced The Favourite. But even though queer culture has reached a much broader level of awareness than when The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desertcame out, its sharp-edged activist spirit still lives loud in directors like Greg Araki () and Darren Stein (). The fight for equal rights may go on ad infinitum, but so too will the laughter, the drag, and the happy-cry love stories.
Here are our 30 essential LGBTQ+ comedy movies, in order of release. –Jordan Crucchiola
This vivid, vibrant love story from Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu stars Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva as the daughters of two rival political candidates, falling in love and navigating homophobia attitudes.
The gay film made its debut at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival to overwhelming acclaim, but was banned in Kenya overs its gay themes.
But the ban hasn’t prevented global audiences falling in love with Rafiki, which has screened at major film festivals around the world.
Despite a quiet commercial release in January, this comedy-drama starring Alex Lawther of The End of the F***ing World fame has earned praise from LGBT+ audiences for its nuanced and warm-hearted portrayal of gender non-confirming teen Billy as a fish out-of-water in a small conservative town.
Add in a scene-stealing turn from Bette Midler as Billy’s ‘Muv’ and a cameo from trans actor Laverne Cox, and you have the makings of a queer classic.
Based on the novel by James St James, Trudie Styler‘s directorial debut sends out a clear message of inclusivity to anyone who has ever felt different.
The miseducation of cameron post
In one of two major gay movies in 2018 to tackle the subject of gay ‘cure’ therapy, grown-up Kick-Ass star Chloë Grace Moretz plays a teen caught having a sexual encounter with another girl.
Shipped off to an emotionally-sterile Christian gay ‘cure’ centre, the film takes an unflinching look at the harsh reality of conversion therapy.
“Growing up in a conservative southern baptist community, ‘praying the gay away,’ as they would say, was something we were very aware of in our community—didn’t believe in, but were aware of,” Moretz told PinkNews.
“Doing research for this film, I was unaware of the modernity of the issue of gay conversion in America. It’s a silent epidemic that, now more than ever, especially under our administration, is growing in traction.”
Far-and-away 2018’s most-hyped gay release was Greg Berlanti’s teen rom-com Love, Simon which stars Nick Robinson as a boy-next-door Simon Spier, who happens to be gay.
Unchallenging in its subject matter and light-and-breezy in its theme, Love, Simon is not winning Oscars any time soon, but it’s tailor-made to fit into a genre otherwise dominated by heteronormative releases.
Transgender model Hari Nef pulls off a star turn in Sam Levinson’s revenge thriller, which explores a world where online privacy no longer exists.
The hyper-stylish film set in modern-day Salem touches on themes that could not feel more brutally relevant in 2018, evoking everything from social justice and outrage mobs to transphobia and toxic masculinity.
Nef told the Los Angeles Times: “I know it’ll be polarizing. I know people are going to love it. I know people are going to hate it… but hate doesn’t scare me because I feel like any negative reaction that could be had to this film is a productive part of the conversation that this film intends to spark. After all, it’s about America, America right now.”
One of Netflix’s cinematic ventures in 2018, Alex Strangelove followed on from Love, Simon in the young adult gay rom-com sphere, starring 27 year old Daniel Doheny as the implausibly-teenaged Alex.
Netflix explained: “Alex Strangelove tells the story of Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny), a well-rounded high school senior with a wonderful girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein) and a bright future ahead of him – and with plans to achieve his last teenage milestone by losing his virginity.
“But things get complicated when he meets Elliot (Antonio Marziale), a handsome and charming gay kid from the other side of town, who unwittingly sends Alex on a rollercoaster journey of sexual identity, kicking off a hilarious and moving exploration of love, sex and friendship in our liberated and confusing modern times.”
Boy Erased is the second of 2018’s gay ‘cure’ movies, starring Lucas Hedges as gay teen Jared Eamons, who is packed off to gay ‘cure’ camp by his evangelical dad (Russell Crowe).
The film a true story, based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name.
A more earnest affair than The Miseducation of Cameron Post, playing out as a more safe and predictable take on the issue.
Although it makes a few missteps, the film’s still emotional enough to pluck at anyone’s heartstrings.
The happy prince
The Happy Prince also makes our list of best gay movies due to its homosexual themes.
Rupert Everett wrote, directed and starred in this passion project, based on the late of playwright Oscar Wilde following his conviction for homosexuality under UK sodomy laws.
The star’s years of work on the film do not go amiss, with his moving portrayal of the haunted Wilde particularly moving in light of the UK’s decision to grant pardons to men with historical gay sex convictions.
“All the films made about him all stop the moment when he goes into prison. So I thought, well, the virgin territory is his exile,” Everett told PinkNews.
Disobedience, based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, tells the story of a queer women grappling with homophobic attitudes in the Orthodox Jewish community.
The Sebastián Lelio film stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as the two lovers.
McAdams Entertainment Weekly: “I didn’t think of it as gay versus straight, only in that there was unfair oppression of their love and sexuality.”
Related topics:best of 2018,cinema,Film Reviews,,LGBT,Queer
12 of the best gay films you missed in 2017
Gay filmmaking no longer has to “go mainstream” because, for the past few years, the best new movies have been gay movies. It’s a privilege to chronicle this advance of queer cinema that now dominates movie culture for the first time in film history.
But these twelve pioneering films are not the ones that got the most media attention. Anyone interested in gay experience or gay films already knows to distrust mainstream media’s efforts to exploit and categorize queerness by promoting gay movies as different, and each so-called advance as a breakthrough simply because it finally breaks into the media’s usual indifference.
As the Hollywood film industry goes through its biggest sexual panic since the 1920s, reflecting a breakdown in heterosexual relations, gay filmmakers who previously were swept to the margins by cowardly homophobic critics and gatekeepers, have steadily made the only movies concerned with what it means to be human among humans.
Each of these twelve superb films transcend Hollywood’s condescending approach to gay self-pity disguised as romance. Instead, they share a common idea that goes beyond social-climbing and narcissistic self-flattery: Know Thyself To Know Each Other.
1. a quiet passion
1. A Quiet Passion is Terence Davies’ biography of poet Emily Dickinson starring Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle and Keith Carradine. It is sexually discreet but also stylistically bold enough so that Davies confesses the sensuality and spirituality of his own gay person’s creativity and experience.
This year’s outfest los angeles features entertaining documentaries, a lush gay romance, and a french sports comedy set at the gay games.
This year’s Outfest Los Angeles hosts a bevy of fantastic queer cinema, including a daughter uncovering a mom-and-pop gay porn shop, a lush gay romance reminiscent of “Weekend,” and the story of “A Nightmare on Elm Street II” star Mark Patton.
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