Which are the queerest films?
If you’re looking for suggestions to add to your watch-list, here’s some quality queer films that explore the LGBTQ experience.
Charting the rise of Elton John, Rocketman is a lot better than you might imagine. This is a completely different proposition to the biopic format of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman takes flight as a musical fantasy – mixing up the music and the timeline to create a compelling piece of cinema.
Taron Egerton is spectacular as Elton, and the film is a great reminder of the sheer volume and brilliance of Elton’s music.
At its heart, Rocketman delivers a compelling message to accept and love who you are.
Based on a true story, Pride shows what happened when a group of gay activists decided to lend their support to the striking coal miners in the UK.
Set in 1984, during the darkest days of the HIV pandemic, Pride delivers an uplifting story of hope and acceptance.
This film often tops lists documenting the worst gay films of all time, but it’s still worth a watch.
While the film is far from perfect, criticism of it went a bit overboard. It does evoke a sense of time and place, and the marginalisation of a community that led to the Stonewall riots of 1969.
When you watch it, just be aware that it’s a white-washed view of history. The heroes of Stonewall weren’t the cute white guys – the heroes were the Trans women, the lesbians, and the sex workers who fought back against police persecution.
Before Stonewall (1984)
The story of LGBTQ rights and the fight for equality didn’t begin in 1969.
Greta Schiller’s documentary is fascinating to watch and an excellent insight into what life was like for LGBTQ people in the years leading up to the Stonewall riots.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
If you’ve ever watched an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you owe it to yourself to watch Paris Is Burning. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Pose, you owe it to yourself to watch Paris Is Burning.
Paris Is Burning is a documentary about the ballroom scene in New York City in the 1980s.
Filmmaker Jennie Livingston has been criticised for exploiting the marginalised community that she filmed, but it was Livingston’s camera that helped bring ballroom culture to the attention of the world.
It’s an excellent documentary in its own right, but it’s also had a massive cultural impact – it’s this film that has been instrumental in ballroom’s influence in shaping much of today’s queer culture.
Harvey Milk is one of our queer heroes. This biopic by Gus Van Sant – starring Sean Penn as Milk – brings to life the courage and passion of Milk, and puts into context how his activism was shaped by the events of the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
The Boys In The Band (1970)
Written by Mart Crowley – adapting his off-Broadway play – and directed by William Friedkin, The Boys In The Band is the story of a group of friends and what happens when they all get together at a party.
This was pretty much the first major American film to revolve around gay characters, making it a milestone in the history of queer cinema. It’s also one of the first mainstream films in which the word cunt is used, so there’s that to enjoy as well.
Longtime Companion (1989)
Longtime Companion is a 1989 film written by Craig Lucas and directed by Norman René. Longtime Companion is particularly notable as it was the first wide-release theatrical film to deal with the subject of AIDS – the film takes its title from the words The New York Times used during the 1980s to describe the surviving same-sex partner of someone who had died of AIDS.
The story chronicles the first years of the AIDS epidemic, illustrated through the personal stories of its characters.