Because there’s more queer cinema out there than just ‘Call Me by Your Name…’
Main Images / Orion Classics, Paramount +, STX Entertainment
Popular, critically acclaimed LGBTQ+ the movies are awesome and all, but the world of queer cinema has so much more to offer viewers than just call me by your name And Carol.
Here are some underrated movies you probably haven’t watched yet (but definitely should)!
My Beautiful Laundromat (1985)
Main Images / Orion Classics
My beautiful laundromat is an 1980s British comedy-drama that follows a young Pakistani man, Omar (Gordon Warnecke), who takes over a laundromat with his friend Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). Their relationship over the course of the film was poignant, timely and necessary. Both are surrounded by violence, prejudice, and cultural divides, which carried over into the real world after the film’s release.
Three months (2022)
In Three monthssinger Troye Sivan stars as Caleb, who discovers he has been exposed to HIV. During the three-month waiting period as he waits for his results, he hooks up with Estha (Viviek Kalra), who is also waiting for the same results. They bond over the situation and join a support group that gives Caleb in particular everything he needs. Although it addresses very real and current issues, it does so with hope and tact.
Edge of Seventeen (1998)
Manufactured in the 90s but installed in the 80s, edge of seventeen follows Eric (Chris Stafford), a teenager from Ohio working at a theme park for the summer, as he falls in love with a boy named Rod (Andersen Gabrych). As his crush grows stronger, Eric first approaches the boundaries of fashion and explores gay bars while making queer friends along the way. While it’s a pretty candid look at what it’s like to come out, it’s not an entirely happy movie. It was groundbreaking when it came out, and it’s a movie that still doesn’t get all the shine it deserves.
Olivier recounts the tragic misfortunes of erotic pedagogy seen through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Olivia and her beloved headmistress, Mademoiselle Julie. Adapted from a novel by Dorothy Bussy, the film is considered a landmark in lesbian representation, inspiring namesake record labels and lesbian cruise lines.
Based on the EM Forster novel of the same name, Mauritius follows the story of Maurice Hall (James Wilby) from his school days to college. At university, he befriends Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) which leads to an intense but forbidden love affair.
If you love 16th century British aesthetics, poetry and history, then Orlando is the movie for you. Blessed with eternal life by Queen Elizabeth I, noble Orlando transcends our perceived limitations of time, space and gender to live a life as fulfilling as any of us could imagine.
The Unseen World (2007)
Set in 1950s South Africa, The unseen world highlights the taboos of the time: lesbian love, interracial relationships and womanizing husbands. The film is beautifully shot and acted, and the lead actresses have chemistry to die for.
Under His Mouth (2016)
One woman is engaged to her longtime boyfriend and the other is playing a dangerous game of seduction. Together they create something an alternate version of Blue is the hottest color...but with more interesting love scenes.
Mädchen in uniform (1958)
This rare gem of a movie follows Manuela von Meinhardis (Romy Schneider) as she navigates the first sparks of teenage love at a boarding school. With her heart set on her teacher Fraulein von Bernburg (Lilli Palmer), Manuela makes romantic overtures with not-so-desirable consequences.
PS This is a remake of a 1931 film which is now hailed as the first “pro-lesbian” film ever made. But don’t ignore it: the performances and cinematography are superb!
If you haven’t seen Hunger, you make queer cinema wrong. First of all, David Bowie plays a very sexy vampire and that alone should be enough to win over some viewers. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon play equally sexy vampires who love each other (and fight) to the death for eternal life.
Portrait of a Wedding (1990)
Prepare for a whirlwind of romance, heartache and early 20th century fashion in Portrait of a wedding. The ever-admirable Janet McTeer sinks into the role of the real Vita Sackville-West who defied the social norms of the time by distancing herself from her gay husband to be with her childhood friend and true love, Violet Keppel .
8 Women (2002)
by Francois Ozon 8 Women is filled to the brim with glamour, comedy, music and incredible 50s French talent. The colorful musical has names like Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert and a very interesting queer story that ends with a lush make-up session.
This very moving film follows a family moving into a new neighborhood with Laure, their 10-year-old tomboy. When meeting the other children in the neighborhood, Laure introduces herself as Mikael, much to the chagrin of her parents. What ensues is a journey of self-discovery that touches the audience to the core.
Losing the Hunt (1996)
In this 1996 film, Helen Mirren plays Chase, an ailing wife and mother, trapped in the social expectations of her stuffy friends in Martha’s Vineyard. When her husband hires a nanny named Elisabeth (Kyra Sedgwick) to watch the kids in line while he’s away, middle-aged Chase falls hard and fast.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
Glenn Close stars in this 2011 film about a woman who poses as a man to work and survive in late 19th century Ireland. When she meets and falls in love with a woman named Helen (Mia Wasikowska), her whole world as she knows it comes undone.
The Beautiful Season (2015)
A conservative farmer’s daughter and a hard-hitting Spanish teacher fall in love in this beautiful French flick. Cécile De France and Izïa Higelin deliver two powerful performances. A must-have watch!
3 Generations (2015)
This generational dramedy centers on teenage girl Ray (Elle Fanning) who finally gets the green light to transition from woman to man. With the support of mom (Naomi Watts) and grandma (Susan Sarandon), Ray has everything he needs to live the life he’s meant to, except one thing: legal consent from his biological father.
Vier Minuten (2006)
In Vier Minuten, an elderly piano teacher with a stiff upper lip takes a young convict under her wing and trains her for the classical competition. As the two try to put their differences aside, a strange attraction develops and they begin to realize that they might not be so different after all.
It’s a really rare movie, hard to find but amazing to watch. So if you can get your hands on it, do yourself a favor and spend some time on it!