7 Classic LGBT Films You Should Watch In Celebration Of Pride Month
Last week, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the country.
While there are still huge steps to be made in the fight for equality, now is a time to celebrate! And what better way to do so than to pop in your favorite LGBT film?
So, to help you out, here are seven films you should watch to celebrate the SCOTUS decision and LGBT Pride Month.
7. "The Birdcage" (1996)
Comedies and LGBT characters sometimes don't mix very well.
LGBT characters are often given one-liners or are made to be the punchline of a joke, but they rarely have anything with narrative heft. Even comedies that focus on LGBT characters end up lacking substance.
However, "The Birdcage" breaks down stereotypes and provides its characters with depth and humanity.
Instead of highlighting the process of coming out, it illuminates the ridiculousness of hiding who you truly are and celebrates those differences.
"The Birdcage" is riotously entertaining, but its cohesive and thorough narrative make it one of the greatest LBGT films of all time.
6. "Lilting" (2014)
The beauty of "Lilting" is it's less about the relationships involved and the acceptance of being gay and more about the communication and definition of love.
The film tells the story of Junn, a Chinese-British woman who has to deal with the death of her son. Everything she knew about him is turned upside down when she meets his lover.
While the two main characters don't share a language, they must communicate their feelings by other means to learn about the different relationships they had with her son.
Beautifully restrained, gorgeously shot and profound without being preachy, "Lilting" may be the newest film on this list, but it may find itself higher on this list next year.
5. "The Kids Are All Right" (2010)
I don’t think any movie in 2010 made as direct a grab for the heart as "The Kids Are All Right." The family drama follows a lesbian couple, whose children seek out the man who donated his sperm to their parents.
The result is a tale that chronicles the outcomes of a long-term marriage, growing up and ignoring your problems.
With a career-high performance by Annette Bening and phenomenal turns from Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska and Mark Ruffalo, the film was a smart, sweet and funny take on what it means to be a truly modern family.
4. "Blue is the Warmest Color" (2013)
"Blue is the Warmest Color" has been outshined by its graphic sex scenes in its various reviews. However, the importance of those scenes to the story have been wholly ignored.
Although the film boasts a three-hour running time, you don't even realize it and could easily sit for another three without hesitation.
Instead of giving my own review of the film, I'm going to let Steven Spielberg explain why the film is so incredible:
"The film is a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning. "The director did not put any constraints on the narrative, and we were absolutely spellbound by the amazing performances of the two actresses and especially the way the director observed his characters and just let the characters breathe."
3. "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
It's arguably the most lauded LGBT film of all time, and it came so close to winning Best Picture at the 2006 Academy Awards. But, what makes "Brokeback Mountain" so great is not the gay storyline between Ennis and Jack, but simply the tragedy of their love.
Ang Lee treated the story as any other. Instead of creating a "gay film," he created an epic romance, all while still maintaining a poetic and dark tone that serviced the film’s actors.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both turned in career-defining performances and gave so much life to characters that were so simple in their natures.
Without an ounce of importance, Lee gives us a real romance with poignance and grace. It is truly an epic love.
2. "Milk" (2008)
"Milk" is a beautifully written and directed film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.
But, as much good as you can find in the film, it is Sean Penn who drives the story with his magnificent performance.
This film deserves its spot because of its ability to rely on the real personal triumphs and victories for Harvey Milk along the way rather than simply hitting plot point after plot point.
The film encapsulates what Milk always wanted: a world full of people who accept each other.
Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and Director Gus Van Sant portrayed this with humanity, hope and an intimacy that made us view Harvey Milk as a person, rather than a character.
1. "Weekend" (2011)
Andrew Haigh's two-character film about a relationship that develops over the course of a weekend has proven to be one of the best films of all time.
Without the distraction of other characters or their complicated lives, the film is able to focus on one thing: the relationship between Russell and Glen.
It's about the fear of something new and real. It's about the fear of commitment. It's about two people who want to love each other.
Like in "Milk," Andrew Haigh's screenplay treats the two men as people rather than characters. While there aren't any huge surprises or epic storylines, you can't stop watching the film because you care deeply about the characters; you root for them.
Restrained, real and honest, "Weekend" is a gorgeous and entertaining film you can rewatch over and over.
From "Pride" and "Paris is Burning" to "Beautiful Thing" and "Mysterious Skin," there are countless other incredible films featuring LGBT characters.
While we watch the triumphs of love and equality in these films, we must still remember there is work to be done. But, as is often expressed in these movies, love wins.