LGBTQ movies have always had a wide spectrum — from teenage romances to high-school love interests to individuals on the verge of exploring their sexuality and orientation. Filmmakers have so far demonstrated a good understanding of the sensitivity of the subject matter. We’ve witnessed a great deal of LGBTQ movies which have impressed us with their stories. Many of these LGBTQ films have even turned out to be cult classics. It would also be noteworthy to mention here that many of these flicks have hit the screens only post 2010s, thus making this a golden era for LGBTQ movies.
However, most of them explore the simple (yet not so simple at times) question of self-discovery and sexual identity that this subject naturally includes. The freedom in which some characters are luckily born into is, unfortunately, lower than the oppression and secrecy others have to face. Regardless, they all matter and deserve the viewer’s attention. With all that said, here’s the list of really good LGBTQ movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
30. Jenny’s Wedding (2015)
A not-so story-oriented flick at the outset, ‘Jenny’s Wedding’ features Katherine Heigl in a leading, titular role. The movie begins with Jenny who is a closeted lesbian and is in love with her roommate Kitty. Despite the support from her elder brother to come out as gay, she’s reluctant while her parents keep their hunt on for the right groom for her. Soon after, Jenny proposes to Kitty and they’re all set to be married, with the reluctant support from Jenny’s loving mother and her father. By the end, everyone reconciles and she gets happily married to the love of her life. As a movie, ‘Jenny’s Wedding’ doesn’t seem to have a purpose; however, if you’re a fan of Katherine Heigl, this one can’t be missed.
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29. Liz in September (2014)
The movie begins with Eva, a young woman who has a troubled relationship with her husband and has recently lost her son to cancer. While driving across a small town, her car breaks down and she heads towards a hotel owned by Margot. Apparently, one of her friends Liz is having a birthday party at the hotel with all of her friends, yet, reluctantly, Margot agrees to admit Eva into the hotel. Soon, Eva realizes that everyone in the hotel – including Liz and all of her friends – are lesbians, many of whom are there with the kids which they had from other relationships. Eva and Liz come closer eventually, with Eva keeping an open mind and Liz trying to win a wager. Soon, it is revealed that Liz actually has terminal cancer and has only a few days to live. ‘Liz in September’ is known for great performances, a relatable story and some memorable moments.
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28. King Cobra (2016)
‘King Cobra’ is a compelling crime drama and biographical feature that brings to the big screen the life and career of Brent Corrigan, a young porn artist, whose fame and success grabs the attention of two competing producers. After leaving his previous producer Stephen, they want him in their films. But they feverishly want him with the name he has worked under, which belongs to Stephen, who won’t easily give it to them. This conflict will tragically lead to a murder and you’ve probably figured out who the victim is. This is a rhythmic and colourful film that screams with boldness at a solid and interesting plot with an unusual setting for a crime scene.
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27. Below Her Mouth (2016)
Although many have termed ‘Below Her Mouth’ as only sexually motivated, it still makes a cut for one of the most popular and watched LGBT movies – mostly for the sexually explicit scenes, though. ‘Below Her Mouth’ is the narrative of two women – Jasmine and Dallas – who have a lesbian relationship and are neck deep into their worlds filled with sex, passion and an undying lust for each other. However self-indulgent the movie might seem, ‘Below Her Mouth’ still stands up to the sub-genre and is a definitive watch, for the viewers want to know which direction the story is moving towards. The film was widely slammed for being a directionless venture and for having a confusing, vague title, but it still has several memorable moments.
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26. I Am Michael (2015)
With an amazing performance by James Franco, this film holds a topic quite different and unconventional than most movies about homosexuality, whether man or woman. Here the character does the opposite journey we expect to see when thinking of sexual awakening and intimate understanding of oneself. In a way. Based on a true-life story, Franco portrays the character of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who at first fought for this community’s right and position only to find himself rejecting this lifestyle and sexual orientation by changing and becoming a straight Christian pastor. The movie portrays the story with dignity, without judging its characters, their motivations and decisions. In the end, what matters is the freedom each one should have to chose and accept what to be or not to be.
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25. Concussion (2013)
The movie begins with Abby, a lesbian who is leading a sedentary life with her partner Kate and their adoptive son. One fine day, her son hits on her head and she suffers a mild concussion. Soon, she realizes how boring and low-key her sexual life has been and hooks up with a lesbian prostitute who makes a living by sleeping with different women across the city. Abby assumes a pseudo-identity under the name Eleanor and starts visiting lone women in the city who want casual hook-ups while satiating her own desires and spicing up her sex life. ‘Concussion’ was praised for its performances and the associated “sexiness” it brought to the screen.
24. Miles (2016)
A coming-of-age film revolving around a teenager named Miles, who is a homosexual, this film begins with Miles and his widowed mother Pam who’re trying to make a living after their deceased father who apparently was cheating on Pam. Miles soon gets an opportunity for a volleyball scholarship at a university in Chicago, which he accepts. Apparently, the school doesn’t have a boys’ team and he had to join the girls’ volleyball team to make things work. In the meantime, Miles also chats with one of his closeted gay friends, whom he encourages to come out. The movie depicts Miles’ struggles to get to do filmmaking, despite all the bullying at the school and everything he has to go through. ‘Miles’ was praised for its cast and performances.
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23. People You May Know (2016)
A movie surrounding four individuals – Joe, Rodrigo, Delia and Herbert – and their off-again on-again relationships among each other, ‘People You May Know’ closely examines the sensitivity of gay and lesbian relationships and how heterosexuality causes a turmoil in between them. Delia and Rodrigo have been married to each other while Joe is gay and was in a relationship with Delia. Herbert is also gay and is having a relationship with another man. Soon, as it turns out, Joe and Delia hook up again, Rodrigo is infertile, Delia becomes pregnant with Joe’s child and Joe is dating another man named Tom. ‘People You May Know’ is one of the movies with relatable characters having fledgling trust and diminishing ties among each other.
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22. Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (2015)
This drama explores the 24 hour day of Henry Gamble’s 17th birthday. Seems simple, not to mention it is set in the same place for its whole duration, but it definitely gets much more complex, and gives each character presented in the film a chance to be real humans, with flaws, secrets and contradictions. In between different pacing, situations, sudden changes, it contains a constant-altering flow that’ll keep you watching it until the end. Although various characters appear, it is on Henry Gamble that the focus lays primarily, and his confusion and realisation upon his sexuality between the walls of an evangelical Christian family and world.
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21. 3 Generations (2015)
The title really emphasizes the number of troubled generations living within a house who badly miss the need for a manly presence in the house. Ray is a transgender female who is about to undergo a trasition to the male gender. She lives in a house with her mother Maggie, who supports the transition, her grandma Dolly, who lives along with her lesbian partner in the same house. While Dolly is unsupportive of Ray’s transition initially, she later relents, feigning a man’s support is needed in the house.
To undergo the process of transition, Ray would also need the consent of her separated father, Craig, who she later finds out, is having a family of his own, away from his first family. Also, Ray comes to know that Craig couldn’t be her real father as Maggie also had a relationship with her uncle Matthew when she got pregnant. Towards the end, the family reconciles and Ray gets to go through the process of gender transition. ‘3 Generations’ highlights a very different aspect of one’s sexual orientation and is out of the league as far as LGBT movies are concerned.
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20. Loev (2015)
A crowdfunded Indian film made on a relatively paltry budget of a million dollars, ‘Loev’ is the story of Sahil and Jai who’re childhood friends. While Sahil is a struggling musician, Jai is well-off with an offshore business to take care of. They both embark on a weekend getaway trip to the Western Ghats and Mahabaleshwar in India as Jai is in Mumbai on a business trip. Apparently, in the past, they both have gone through a failed relationship and the weekend getaway gives them a perfect chance to bind together yet again. After a set of initial quarrels, they meet over a dinner where Alex, Sahil’s boyfriend, also shows up, which complicates the matter further. With looming awkwardness, Jai decides to fly back to NYC, only after confessing his love for Sahil while Sahil reconciles with Alex. One of the few handfuls of gay movies as far as Indian cinema is concerned, ‘Loev’ was praised by critics and audiences alike as a milestone and a benchmark feature film.
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19. The 10 Year Plan (2014)
The movie revolves around two friends – Miles and Brody – who have been best friends for all of their lives and are gay. They make a pact together that if in the next ten years, they aren’t able to find the right romantic partner for themselves, they would get into a relationship with each other, whatever their situation might be. Turns out, there is only a month remaining and they haven’t found their Mr Rights yet. Desperately, they head out to find the right partner and try to avoid each other at all the costs and regret their decision even more than before. ‘The 10 Year Plan’ not only comes with a predictable plot and and ending, it also lacks many things in other departments like performances, direction and storyline. Still, it makes for a decent laugh and an out-of-the-box plot as far as LGBTQ movies are concerned.
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18. Summertime (2016) (L’estate addosso)
Marco and Maria are two heterosexual acquaintances from Rome, who don’t gel well among each other and yet, have decided to spend a week in the summer in San Francisco. They meet up with Paul and Matt and decide to stay at their home while realizing that both Paul and Matt are gay. While Maria is a motormouth with no respect for political correctness, Paul and Matt don’t take her racial slur very personally. Meanwhile, Marco starts falling for Maria and things slowly begin to change. ‘Summertime’ is a simple, feel good movie which involves decent performances and a straightforward premise that’s full of surprises.
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17. The Firefly (2013) [La luciérnaga]
A beautiful movie at the outset, ‘The Firefly’ revolves around Lucia, a young woman who has lost her own brother in a tragic incident, leaving his fiancee Mariana behind. Lucia and Mariana find solace among each other on the lines of a shared grief which brings Lucia to a position where she must decide whether she should adopt her heterosexual life with her husband or should continue her passionate, homosexual affair with her newfound love Mariana. Engrossing, steamy and emotionally riveting, ‘The Firefly’ is a must watch for those who like to shed a tear or a two while enjoying a steamy flick.
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16. Those People (2015)
Set in Manhattan, ‘Those People’ follows the story of Charlie, a gay painter, and his complex love triangle between his childhood friend Sebastian and his new acquaintance, a successful pianist named Tim. It balances the importance of loving oneself in order to love others and the pain and suffering that love and life can bring when stuck in difficult emotional situations. This is a must-watch for cinephiles who love emotional, dramatic stuff.
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15. Alex Strangelove (2018)
A comedy-drama at the outset, ‘Alex Strangelove’ is the story of Alex Truelove, a high school student who is best friends with his long-time acquaintance Claire. As he loses the support of his mother, as she’s been diagnosed with cancer, he begins an affair with Claire who in turn is seemingly interested in him as well. As they plan on having their first sexual encounter, Alex meets up with Elliot at a party, and he comes to know that Elliot is gay. Alex, while being doubtful about his own sexual orientation, comes out as gay in front of Claire, who decides to go with Alex on prom anyway. In the prom, Claire reveals that she had asked Elliot to be Alex’s date and they kiss each other for the first time. A coming-of-age film which is also inspiring for those who don’t want to be closeted anymore, ‘Alex Strangelove’ is going to melt your heart.
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14. Head On (1998)
A novel-based movie, ‘Head On’ describes the story of Ari, a sexually extroverted, yet closeted Greek gay man who lives in Melbourne. While Ari hates his parents, he also loathes the fact that they have been obsessive through his formative years. His perverse obsession for gay sex makes him go places and form sexual relationships with men and women alike, while his traditional parents are kept in dark continuously. Seemingly, there’s no end to his consistent abuse of sex and drugs. ‘Head On’ is often regarded as an awakening film for the Greeks and people of Greek descent and has thus far helped a lot of closeted teenagers come out openly as gay and lesbian.
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13. The Ornithologist (2016)
Often regarded as erotic, baffling, charming and engaging at the same time, ‘The Ornithologist’ is the telltale of a bird-watcher named Fernando who is kayaking on a riverine in Portugal, looking for black storks. He is shortly swept away by the river currents and is rescued by two Chinese Christian pilgrims Fei and Ling, who too are seemingly lost and are looking for a way out of the forest. He also meets a shepherd named Jesus and the movie gets transformed into one big question on whether Fernando is the reincarnation of St. Anthony. With queer references, eroticism and sexuality throughout the film, along with raising a few intriguing questions in the minds of the viewers, ‘The Ornithologist’ definitely packs a punch.
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12. Loving Annabelle (2006)
One of the rare teacher-student love stories, albeit in a lesbian context, ‘Loving Annabelle’ revolves around Annabelle, a belligerent daughter of a senator who is the newest entrant at a Catholic boarding school. Her dorm mates share varied personas and given her rule-breaking and outgoing nature, she begins to like her timid and introverted teacher Simone. While Simone is shown as a person who cares for her students and is very protective of them against the rules laid down by the Principal and the school, she is not very keen on Annabelle initially. After the spring break when Annabelle and Simone share some moments together, Simone could no longer hold her urges and her attraction towards Annabelle, who in turn is equally into her.
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11. 4th Man Out (2015)
A story revolving four men who are celebrating the 24th birthday of one of their friends, Adam, ‘4th Man Out’ is a hilarious take on friendships and how things transpire when one of them comes out as a gay. The “one of them” in the present case, a.k.a. the 4th Man Out is none other than Adam. Despite his initial reluctance, Adam manages to confess his sexuality to his friends and his friends find it difficult to accept initially and carefully weigh their mutual friendships which could take an ugly turn any moment. Hilarious and relatable, ‘4th Man Out’ is a promising story full of surprises.
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10. Princess Cyd (2017)
And now to one of the most acclaimed movies on this list, ‘Princess Cyd’ hits all the right notes throughout its length and doesn’t fail to impress. With a staggering score of 3.5 at Roger Ebert, the movie begins with a 16-year-old teenager named Cyd who leads a laid-back life along with her single father. During summer, she decides to take a break and visits her aunt Miranda in Chicago, who also happens to be a writer. When she reaches her aunt’s place, she meets up with Katie who works at a coffee bar. Soon, Cyd and Katie enter a relationship, with a complete and unconditional support from Cyd’s aunt Miranda, who plays her part really well. ‘Princess Cyd’ not only opens the avenues of sexuality and sexual exploration to the viewers, but its portrayals are also realistic to the core – the most noteworthy aspect of the film.
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9. Esteros (2016)
A lyrical and game-changing experience, ‘Esteros’ begins with Matias and Geronimo – two childhood friends who’re about to get into high school. While they spend their time together in the wetlands of Esteros, they get into a phase of sexual realization and get closer in a homosexual relationship. As Matias moves to another place owing to his father’s work, the pain of separation because of the distance hits them both hard and they need to cope up with their newfound lives. A film that exceeds your expectations and makes for a successful queer love story, ‘Esteros’ is a wholesome, heartwarming experience.
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8. Handsome Devil (2016)
In the midst of the profound and tragically dramatising films that deal with homosexuality, this one is a lighter drama with a heart-warming feeling that concludes with a happy ending and leaves the intimate sexual exploration aside. Ned, an outcasted bullied teenager, lives in a rugby-focused all boys boarding school and if that wasn’t already enough, his life only gets worse when he is obliged to share a room with Conor, the new rugby star. However, the two start bonding and form a friendship that won’t be accepted by the boys around them. The movie focuses on the different ways of dealing with oneself and the effects one’s surroundings can have, negatively and positively. A wonderful film topped with that enchanting Irish charm and a terrific performance by the lead actors, Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Galitzine.
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7. Ana e Vitória (2018)
Ana and Vitória are two girls set in the backdrop of a musical extravaganza, who meet each other by chance and fall for each other almost instantaneously. Parties, dance and music form an integral part of this lesbian romance which also comprises of some steamy sequences and a few tragic overtures. Additionally, the beauty of the formative duration of a relationship is impeccably and convincingly portrayed throughout – perhaps the best feature of the film. Watch it for some of the best performances as far as South American Spanish movies are concerned.
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6. Carol (2015)
Enter the enchanting setting of New York’s early 1950’s and the difficult yet powerful world of this romantic drama directed by Todd Haynes. It revolves around the love story between two women, who come from very different backgrounds, not to mention the era they are living in. If things still aren’t as equal as they should be nowadays, it’s not hard to imagine how it was 60 years ago. Therese (Rooney Mara) is a simple young aspiring photographer working at a department store and Carol (Cate Blanchett) is an older glamorous woman in the midst of a heavy divorce. They meet and a connection is felt that will slowly transform into a serious affair leading to intimate and sexual interactions. However, their situations make it difficult for them to be together and conflicts start to occur. A beautiful story that goes through with such elegance and purity, it is something, I feel, everybody must watch.
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5. Holding The Man (2015)
Perhaps the LGBT sub genre’s equivalent of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, ‘Holding the Man’ is set between the late ’70s through the early ’90s and tells the story of John and Tim – two teenage boys who have been in love since their early adulthood. Based on a heart wrenching true love story, John and Tim’s love stands tall amid all the discriminations, bullying, separations, ridicule and belittlement; but HIV succeeds in tearing them apart. As the disease strikes both of them, they refuse to separate till death do them part. ‘Hold The Man’ is the recipient of multiple awards and accolades, especially for the performances, direction and editing, along with the best feature. Watch it before it slips off your hands.
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4. Milk (2008)
Directed by Gus Van Sant, this biopic on Harvey Milk is simply a masterpiece for its cinematic and very important educational aspect that shares a historical moment of the past, which is still very much alive in the present days. Milk was an American, a gay rights activist who reached a milestone in the history of homosexual repression and limitation by fighting for equality and change. His battle leads him to be the first-ever openly gay individual to be elected to public office, in this case, California. Intelligently handled, it is an inspiring movie lead by an incredible lead performance by Sean Penn and a great story construction filled with variety, depth, strength and energy.
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3. God’s Own Country (2017)
A British drama, ‘God’s Own Country’ went on to receive critical acclaim at the time of its release and is considered one of the benchmarks of LGBTQ cinema. Set in Yorkshire, often also known as United Kingdom’s ‘God’s Own Country’, the movie begins with Johnny, a young lad who works on a farm and lives with his ailing father and grandmother. He is an aficionado for sex and drinking and his ignorance costs him a calf when his father reprimands him and they hire Gheorghe, an immigrant worker from Romania to look after farm work.
While Johnny and Gheorghe spend time with the sheep during the lambing season, they engage in a verbal duel followed by rough sex. Slowly, their relationship starts to simmer while Johnny’s father’s health keeps deteriorating. As it turns out, Gheorghe and Johnny have a verbal spat and Gheorghe leaves the place, only to come back and reconcile towards the end. For many, ‘God’s Own Country’ is a silent reminiscent of another masterpiece on a similar subject that was ‘Brokeback Mountain’.
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2. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Although ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is not an LGBTQ movie at the outset, the reason why this has been included in the list is that it touches upon various aspects of HIV and the lives of many gay people who were the victims of the dreaded disease back in the day. The movie begins in the 1980s with electrician-cowboy Ron Woodroof who has been diagnosed with AIDS and is told that he has a month to live. Notwithstanding the statement, he sets himself on a drug-hunting spree to Mexico in search of AZT – the antiretroviral drug which hasn’t been approved by FDA yet.
He smuggles the drug into the US and forms a club, and starts selling the drug to gay men and people affected with AIDS – most notably Rayon (Jared Leto), a trans woman addicted to drugs who helps him sell the drug. Woodroof later dies seven years after his predicted date of death, thus falsifying FDA’s claims. ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ went on to win multiple Oscars, including Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto). You can now decide for yourself whether you should watch the film or not.
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1. Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)
Be it one of the sexiest, explicit, emotional or sultriest movies on Netflix, ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ has the unique distinction of being all of them at once. This is an intense piece of a cinematic explosion that touches a deep spot, hard to attain by most movies in this world. There is simply nothing else to say about the two main actresses’ perfect performances other than the fact that they are what make this movie the masterpiece that it is.
The plot line is simple: it follows a teenage girl named Adèle who meets blue-haired and confident Emma, who will guide her in finding her true self. A love story at its purest. It explores the complexity of human beings on their own and affiliated with others, where Adèle suffers ups and downs on her journey as she seeks to understand herself and her life. The relationship between the two girls is strong, tumultuous, passionate, gentle and heartbreaking at once. Trust me when I say that the beauty in this movie has the incredible ability to leave a mark on its viewers for a long, long time.
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