These beautiful movies offer you an alternative narrative that can’t be found in heteronormative Hollywood rom-com
If you’re planning to catch a movie on the weekend, there are a great selection of classic Hong Kong movies, Cantonese horror movies, as well as 90s movies that we love and recommend. With more award-winning, coming-of-age and gay romantic movies being recognised, we’ve picked out the best LGBTQ movies of our time – some of them we’ve cried over – because it’s essential to celebrate the fact that queer voices exist in today’s media. We’re pretty sure that you’ve heard of them (if not already rewatched them for 1000 times) if you grew up not being a cis-straight person in the 90s and 00s, are we missing any?
Check out these LGBTQ movies
1. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
My Own Private Idaho follows two best friends – Mike the gay hustler and Scott the rebellious son of a mayor – who live on the streets of Portland. They travel from Portland, Oregon to Idaho and then the coast of Italy in search of Mike’s estranged mother. The movie touches upon the issue of money, drugs and sexuality, and it’s definitely one of our favourite LGBTQ movies of the 90s.
2. Beautiful Thing (1996)
The 1996 British film Beautiful Thing is about the self-discovery journey of two sexually-confused teen boys Jamie and Ste. While Jamie is escaping his sport hours to avoid being confronted by his comrades, Ste is having trouble dealing with his abusive father, the two open themselves up to the idea of homosexuality during one sleepover – and what we love about this movie is the character Sandra (Jamie’s mother) who offers great emotional support to the boys.
3. Happy Together (1997)
Directed by the internationally-renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, Happy Together illustrates the drifting apart of a gay couple while they’re in Argentina. The film depicts loneliness and homosexual romance in the most delicate way. It’s definitely one of the most heart-wrenching movies that Wong Kar-wai has ever made.
4. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
But I’m a Cheerleader is a satirical romantic comedy film about a teenage girl discovering her own sexaulity. The protagonist Megan is being sent to rehab camp after being suspected of being a lesbian, where she is forced to learn about being straight. It’s a 90s classic for all the gay kids out there who was once being told that “this is just a phase” or “you’ll grow out of your queer-ness”.
5. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Boys Don’t Cry is an American biographical movie about the life of Brandon Teena, an American trans man who was brutally murdered by two male acquaintances after being exposed of his transgender identity. It talks about how transphobic and homophobic behaviours are ingrained in today’s society, as well as the relationship among class, race and gender identity.
6. Mulholland Drive (2001)
Mulholland Drive is a neo-noir thriller directed by David Lynch. It portrays the complicated relationship between two women in Hollywood, Diane and Camilla, and how things fall apart when Camilla falls in love with a male director Adam. Like most of David Lynch’s brilliant works, this film is surreal, engrossing and irresistible.
7. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Seriously who doesn’t know about Brokeback Mountain? This critically-acclaimed film tells the story of an affair of two married men, Ennis and Jack, in the American West from the 60s to 80s. An absolute must-see.
8. Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
When teenage girl Adele encounters the blue-haired Emma, she slowly realises what she really desires physically and emotionally. She then falls head over heels in love with Emma until relationship problems surface. This French coming-of-age romantic film is a beautifully-filmed three-hour work of art that you won’t be able to pause.
9. The Way He Looks (2014)
The Way He Looks is a lovely Brazilian coming-of-age romantic film. The protagonist Leonardo is a blind teenager looking for independence in his life. While his female best friend Giovana is taking care of him on a daily basis, the arrival of a new student named Gabriel has completely altered the world of Leonardo. Definitely a moving gay teen love story that will put a smile on your face.
10. Carol (2015)
Set in 1950s New York, Carol portrays the forbidden love between two females – Therese, an aspiring photographer, and Carol, a glamorous lady who is going through a tough divorce with her husband. It shows how female homosexual relationship was demonised back in the days. Also, Australian actress Cate Blanchett received Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award nominations for her excellent performance in Carol.
Liked these LGBTQ movies and looking to check out more LGBTQ-friendly entertainment? Listen to our favourite podcasts that touch upon sexuality, check out our fave queer artists, or learn more about Pink Season in Hong Kong.