the good, the great and the terrible


Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013)

The first LGBT movie to win a major award, Blue Is The Warmest Colour was awarded the Palm D'Or at Cannes in 2013. Following Adele as she meets a young girl with blue hair who will change her life, this erotically charged romance made critics hot under the collar for its sheer quantity of real-sex sequences, from which the movie did not shy away from. Despite its three hour run-time and markedly slow-pace, this story of self-discovery become an international hit andmade Lea Seydoux a star around the world. As one of the most acclaimed and decorated lesbian films of all time, this is a must-watch for all LGBT cinema fans. 

Carol (2015)

Carol is the lesbian Brokeback Mountain. Set in 1950s New York, the film tells the story of a forbidden romance between two women. Blanchett is astonishing as Carol, a woman going through a messy divorce and is forced to choose between being herself and being a mother. Mara's understated performance opposite is just as accomplished and it is hardly surprising that both earned Oscar nominations for these roles. The film is restrained, resisting the urge to descend into melodrama at times when it could easily have done, subsequently showing the power of the unspoken pressure that is ladled on both characters to conform. Though Carol is unusually frank and outspoken for the period, it is heartbreaking that even she is unable to overcome the oppressive status quo. Expect tears on a first viewing of this love story that will endure as one of the greatest ever told on screen.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Both Matthew McConnaughey and Jared Leto won Oscars for their performances in this true story about a heterosexual man diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s who finds himself unable to obtain the medication he needs. Together with a HIV+ drag queen, he establishes a clandestine smuggling organisation to get the drugs into Dallas, which are yet to be approved by the appropriate authorities. With an unlikely hero alligned with an unlikely sidekick, this is a fascinating story that depicts the strength of the human spirit when pitched against extraordinary odds.

The Girl Trilogy (2009-2010)

The Girl… With The Dragon Tattoo (2009); Who Played With Fire (2009), Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest (2010)

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy has become one of the biggest literary forces of the twenty first century, but for many, the Swedish cinema adaptations are the definitive film version of both the story and it's now iconic protagonist, Lisbeth Salander. A bisexual goth computer-hacker, she is hardly the most conventional movie heroine, but Noomi Rapace plays her with such integrity that it's hard to dislike her, even if she does lash out at everyone around her. Initially just instrumental to catching a murderer, the series soon shifts its focus wholly onto her as we learn of all the injustices she has suffered at the hands of her family, social services and the government. One of the greatest pieces of Scandinavian cinema ever and the archetypal piece of Nordic Noir, this has understandably gone on to become one of its biggest worldwide exports. And all with a bisexual heroine! 

God's Own Country (2017)

In this tender depiction of sexual awakening, this British indie film follows Johnny, a young man taking over his father’s farm and falling in love with the handsome Romanian labourer hired to help with the manual farm work. Johnny slowly comes to terms with his sexuality as he leaves the alcohol and promiscuity with which he had been numbing his feelings previously behind, but damaged from his years of repression, his newfound contentment is threatened by his inability to leave old habits behind. An honest depiction of a person’s internalised homophobia and the pressures of a hyper-masculinised society, this is also a film that explores xenophobia in the age of Brexit Britain.

Paris Is Burning (1990)

Charting New York's drag scene in the 1980s, this documentary focuses on the malleability of Queer Culture, where everyone expresses who they want to be, but obviously being fierce at the same time. Observing the balls, chronicling the voguing and meeting with people from the city's leading drag families, it peels back the layers of these warm but damaged people, who have created the world where they can feel accepted.

Other People (2016)

While a slow-burner, this  sharply written film about a young gay man dealing with the impending loss of his mother to cancer is a laugh-out-loud comedy, which deftly softens the heavy blows of heartstring plucking. Jesse Plemons and Molly Shannon are both remarkable. The term "black comedy" was invented for films like this, especially when executed so well.

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Beach Rats (2017)

A Brooklyn teenager spends his day hanging out with his friends and experimenting with drugs, but when night falls and he is alone, he looks for ways to explore his burgeoning homosexuality too. Meeting men online for sex, these two identities seem completely at odds with each other, but when the two worlds collide, fireworks can only ensue.

Below Her Mouth (2016)

A woman in a heterosexual relationship surprises herself with an illicit affair with another woman. A surprisingly well-written story about sexual discovery, this is a sensual but eroticised depiction of sexuality that leaves very little to the imagination. Anchored by two strong leads with real chemistry, this is one of the better lesbian erotic dramas. 

Bright Night (2014)

Two couples stay in a cottage in countryside where their home village is about to be demolished. As secrets from the past begin to surface, old tensions emerge in this peculiar German indie psychoanalytic existential movie. And look out for the left-field twist in the final half hour! 

Dear Ex (2018)

Sanlien’s husband Zhengyuan has recently died. Expecting a payout from his life insurance, she is appalled to find out that she was not the beneficiary, suspecting that it was actually his male lover Jay who inherited. Furious, she tracks him down and confronts him, but when she expects her teenage son to support her against him, she is shocked to find that he wants get to know the man father fell in love with. A fab little Taiwanese gem.

The Death And Life Of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)

Despite its title, this documentary is not just about iconic New York trans activist, Marsha P. Johnson. As her friend Victoria Cruz tries to uncover the truth behind her mysterious death in 1992 (she was pulled from the Hudson River with a head injury, but the inquest ruled her demise as suicide), she also seeks to highlight the plight of trans people today, who are still a discriminated minority and whose struggle is ongoing. With archive footage edited alongside interviews and footage of the present day, this is a fantastic documentary about a subject that is much larger than its 115 minute run-time allows. A fascinating portrait of a legendary figure, this is a strong film that gets beneath the skin of trans issues and the significance of trans people in the struggle for LGBT equality.

Death In Buenos Aires (2014)

Demián Bichir stars in this cop thriller set in 1980s Buenos Aires in which a detective is summoned to the scene of a murder, discovered by a young rookie policeman who came upon the body of a well-known gay local figure while investigating a noise complaint. But as he realises his colleague may have been there for other reasons, he is forced to try and understand the feelings he is developing for his new partner.

Every Day (2018)

Rhiannon has an unpleasant boyfriend, Justin. But when, one day, he whisks her away for a romantic day out together, she doesn’t understand what has changed. Over the coming days Justin returns to the way he was before and she meets scores of new people, all of whom are making a conscious effort to befriend and get to know her. When she starts lets on that she has noticed commonalities between them, she is told that actually they are all the same person. ‘A’ is a spirit that passes from person to person, inhabiting them for just 24 hours before moving on to the next. Having never had their own body, A has no gender or physical appearance, but Rhiannon realises that she is falling in love with them.

Handsome Devil (2016)

Andrew Scott stars in this Irish Drama about two young gay men at boarding school, whose lives and interests are wholly different. One is a popular rugby jock, while the other is quiet, artistic and bullied. With the help of their gay but closeted English teacher, both are forced to face up to their sexuality in a profoundly hostile environment. A good coming-of-age Drama, this is an Irish ‘Get Real’ for the 10s.

The Happy Prince (2018)

It is 1900 and Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) is living in a dark and dirty hovel in Paris, living off the kindness of his friends while trying to reconnect with his wife and mourning for the end of his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, otherwise known as Bosie. A libel suit against Bosie’s father had been the catalyst for Wilde’s trial and subsequent imprisonment, but despite knowing that avoiding all contact with Bosie is for the best for everyone, he cannot resist the temptation to run away with him to Naples, much to everyone’s chagrin.

Head On (1998)

Edgy, dark and hedonistic, this Australian 90s Drama depicts a nineteen year old boy of Greek heritage exploring sex, drugs and partying over a 24 hour period. Diametrically opposed to his family's values, his rebellious blow-out threatens to encroach on his normal life and he must decide what's more important; tradition or freedom. Although definitely of its time, it's as slick as if it were filmed only yesterday. Well worth a watch. 

Ideal Home (2018)

Steve Coogan plays Erasmus Brumble, a flamboyant TV chef whose Mexican-inspired lifestyle show is an aspirational must-see for middle class families in America. On set, he bickers with his partner Paul, played by Paul Rudd; off set, they fight bitterly. But when it is revealed that not only does Erasmus have an estranged son, but also a grandson whose name he doesn’t know, their relationship is pushed to its limits. And when the son goes to prison and the grandson comes to live with them, they have to adapt their glamorous and hedonistic lifestyle in order to become parents for the young boy, especially as a Child Protection Service official starts to put the minutiae of their lifestyle under her moral microscope.

The Intervention (2016)

A group of friends gather for a holiday in a gorgeous house in the country, but what one couple doesn’t realise is that the whole trip has been arranged so that the group can intervene in their relationship and convince them to get divorced. A bubbling claustrophobic drama that puts all eight characters’ relationships under the microscope - including lesbian couple Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall (who also directs) - this is a character drama with a cluster of great performances that stands taller than most similar friendship dramas.

Made In Bangkok (2017)

This Mexican documentary follows Morgana, a transsexual woman who seeks to fund her transitional surgery by entering a beauty pageant in Bangkok. While she is there, she is approached by a plastic surgeon renowned for his work on gender transitions. A warm and engaging protagonist, following Morgana’s journey makes for compelling viewing and the glamorous world of transgender beauty pageants makes for a gleefully vibrant setting.

Margarita With A Straw (2014)

This Indian feel-good Drama is enough to make you beam from ear to ear. Laila has cerebral palsy, but she doesn't let that stop her from trying to her explore her sexuality. Bisexual, she is trying to discover who she is away from the gaze of her ever-watchful mother. 

McQueen (2018)

In 2010, the suicide of iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen shocked the world. At the height of his fame and his cultural weight, people could not understand what would drive this artistic genius to take his own life. In this documentary the directors seek to lift the lid on the rise and fall of this tragic figure whose death has just added to the enigmatic legend of his life and work. They succeed greatly, exploring his life and work with both care and truth, giving a fascinating portrait of one of fashion’s most controversial stars. 

Midnight Express (1978)

Brad Davis stars in the gritty 70s Drama about a man caught trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey. Convicted for a short sentence, the bisexual felon keeps his head down amongst the other inmates, but when he realises the authorities have no intention of releasing him, his sights turn to trying to escape. Nominated for numerous Oscars, this is New Wave Hollywood at its bleakest. And Davis is excellent in it.

The Miseducation Of Cameron Post (2018)

Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz) is discovered kissing a girl by her supposed boyfriend. Before she can understand what’s happening to her, she is packed off to God’s Promise, a camp for young LGBT people whose mission is to set her back on the “right path”. There she meets “ex-gay” Reverend Rick and the uncomfortably stoic Dr Lydia, who together run an oppressive regime of obsessive worship and insistence of self-hatred. They refuse to accept that homosexuality even exists, simply labelling it a “sin”. “You don’t see drug addicts marching in a parade, do you?” asks the doctor in one of their many cruel “therapy” sessions together, in which all “disciples” must identify the supposed reasons for their dysfunctional gender identity and add them to a diagram of an iceberg, representing SSA (same-sex attraction) above the surface of the water, with everything else below. Most other “disciples” buy into the camp’s intention of “helping them”, including Cameron’s room-mate Erin, who is ready to snitch on her as soon as she strays from “virtue” and Mark, who will do what’s required to be sent home. Luckily, Cameron meets Adam and Jane Fonda  – that’s her actual name… or is it? – two similar inmates, who resist the programme in quiet acts of rebellion away from the eyes of their superiors. Together, they support each other as it becomes increasingly clear that those in charge don’t have a clue what they’re doing.

The Mudge Boy (2003)

Emile Hirsch stars in this American indie that depicts the sexual awakening of a reclusive and sensitive farmboy who is forced to face the outside world after the death of his mother. Dealing with an angrily grieving father, he finds solace with the local tear-away bad boy with whom he starts an unlikely friendship. A sweet, albeit slow, coming of age drama. 

Room In Rome (2010)

In this erotic Spanish drama, we follow two women over the course of a single night during their vacations in Rome. With one insisting that she’s straight, the night initially depicts the slow breakdown of her boundaries after they meet in a club. Practically a 90 minute duologue in a bedroom, the sexual tension from the opening scene is palpable and sustained throughout the film, creating a genuinely engaging piece about lust, sexuality and sexual awakenings. Where most erotic films fail, this succeeds entirely in giving a compelling narrative as well as not holding back in depicting sex on screen. Between two very attractive women. 

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4 Minutes (2006)

A German prison Drama about an elderly piano teacher who discovers a young prodigy within the inmates, this film explores both their back stories, with a same-sex subplot that runs alongside this piece about beauty appearing in the strangest of places. The film lacks somewhat in likeable characters, but in a post-Orange Is The New Black world, we now expect a lot more from a prison Drama.

4th Man Out (2015)

As Buddy Movies go, this tale of bros supporting their gay friend certainly has an edge, but where its initial scenes take tentative steps into interesting territory, it doesn’t take long before it finds itself wandering into tired narrative tropes and a clichéd vilification of effeminacy. 

The 34th (2017)

In this documentary about the recent public vote about the legalisation of same-sex marriage we hear the stories of the pioneers who pushed for legal equality for decades. Told by the people instrumental in starting and maintaining the campaign, this is an interesting - albeit sometimes dry - historical document about the crusade for LGBT Rights in Ireland. 

Alex Strangelove (2018)

In this teen drama Netflix Original, a young high school geek is stalling having sex with his girlfriend for the very first time. He can’t figure out why until he meets a hunky older man. A light and frothy LGBT comedy, this is a sweet film but doesn’t quite manage to crack any real jokes, instead feeling somewhat flat.