It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is a scarcity of queer characters in mainstream cinema. But cinema has come a long way from having no queer characters at all to only featuring gay people as stereotypes or side characters to finally having proper LGBTQ+ representation.
In television, there are LGBTQ+ characters like Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) in the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Korra and Asami in the animated show Legend of Korra to Dreamer (Nicole Maines) — the first transgender superhero in the CW show Supergirl.
Here are five current LGBTQ+ films to watch right now during Pride Month and five more to be excited about.
10 Current: I Carry You With Me (100% on Rotten Tomatoes)
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Directed by Heidi Ewing (One of US), I Carry You With Me tells the story of two Mexican men, openly gay Gerardo (Christian Vazquez) and Ivan (Armando Espitia) who has a child from his previous relationship. With a job that doesn’t lead anywhere and a society where his sexuality is frowned upon, Ivan migrates to New York and chase the American Dream. Back in Mexico, Gerardo misses Ivan and decides to cross the border. Both undocumented immigrants, they sacrifice a lot just to be together in America. Coming from a documentary background, Ewing integrates real life documentary footage into the film.
9 Upcoming: Ammonite (Coming Out in 2020)
Ammonite is a period romance set in 1840s England. The premise is that paleontologist Mary Anning sells fossils to rich tourists in order to support herself and her sick mother. Then tourist Roderick Murchison entrusts Mary with his young wife Charlotte. She initially clashes badly with Charlotte but what was once conflict between them turns into a passionate love affair.
There is no exact date of the film’s release, but it will come out (pun intended) some time this year.
8 Current: The Thing About Harry (7.1/10 stars on IMDb)
The Thing About Harry is a romantic comedy starring Jake Borelli (Grey’s Anatomy) and Niko Terho (Sno Babies). The premise is that Sam and Harry, who were enemies in High School, met again for their friend’s engagement party on Valentine’s Day. As a favor to a friend, Sam was forced to endure a car ride with Harry. During the party, openly gay Sam was shocked to find out that Harry was pansexual.
Directed by Peter Paige, this is a memorable film that utilizes the enemies to friends to lovers trope, but with an LGBTQ+ perspective. The film showcases good pansexual representation and is unafraid of putting the nuances of gay culture to the forefront.
7 Upcoming: Eternals (Coming Out on November 6, 2020)
With film direction by Chloe Zhao (The Rider) and screenplay from cousins Ryan and Kaz Firpo, Eternals will feature the first openly gay superhero in the MCU, Phastos, who will be played by Brian Tyree Henry. It will also feature the first same-sex kiss in the MCU.
The premise is that the Eternals must come out of hiding in order to protect Earth from the Deviants.
6 Current: Last Mil y Una (6.2/10 Stars on IMDb)
Last Mil y Una (One in a Thousand) is a coming-of-age Argentinian film written and directed by Clarisa Navas (Today Match at 3). It stars Sofia Cabrera as Iris, a queer teen who was expelled from school and spends her days playing basketball and hanging out with her cousins — Ale (Luis Molin) and Dario (Mauricio Vila) — then she meets free-spirited Renata (Ana Carolin Garcia) whom she is instantly attracted to.
It has a running time of 2 hours and even though nothing majorly dramatic really happens, the actors embody the characters so well that audiences are able to bond with them.
5 Upcoming: Summerland (Coming Out on July 24, 2020 in the UK and on July 31, 2020 in the US)
Summerland is an upcoming drama film from writer and director Jessica Swale. The story is told in the point of view of a reclusive writer and magic-debunker played by Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) who was given the responsibility of taking care of an evacuee from The Blitz — played by child actor Lucas Bond (Of Kings and Prophets). She eventually opens up to him and tells him the story of a girl from her past — played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (San Junipero).
4 Current: The Half of It (96% on Rotten Tomatoes)
The Half of It is written and directed by Alice Wu (Saving Face). The story is set in a fictional small town called Squahamish where Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is running an essay-writing business in her school in order to help her single father with the finances. Then jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) asks her to write a love letter to his crush, the popular Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire)… who also happens to be Ellie’s crush.
It could have been a cliche, another predictable Cyrano love triangle, but with Wu’s storytelling and directing choices, the film turned out to be fresh and exciting. The introduction is also filled with mythical metaphors and artistic imagery courtesy of artist Hayley Morris.
3 Upcoming: Happiest Season (Coming Out on November 25, 2020)
Happiest Season is a holiday rom-com directed by Clea DuVall with a screenplay from her and Mary Holland. The cast includes Kristen Stewart (Charlie’s Angels), Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate), Alison Brie (Mad Men), and Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed).
The premise is that Stewart’s character plans to propose to her girlfriend at a family holiday party but then finds out that the latter (Davis) has not come out to her conservative parents.
2 Current: Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (63% on Rotten Tomatoes)
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhaan (Extra Careful of Marriage) is a Hindi romantic comedy written and directed by Hitesh Kewalya. It follows the love story of Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Aman (Jitendra Kumar) in a place that doesn’t love who they are. When Aman introduces his boyfriend to his conservative family, they try to change his mind but Kartik is determined to marry Aman no matter what it takes.
As the film shows, every love story deserves a happily ever after, but the road for gay people to reach that happily ever after is rougher because of homophobia.
1 Upcoming: The Boys in the Band (Coming Out in 2020)
The Boys in the Band is the story of a group of gay friends celebrating a birthday party. Chaos ensues when the host’s uninvited college roommate (who is closeted) suddenly shows up. The film is directed by Joe Mantello and will be distributed by Netflix.
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