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10 Movies That Break Gender and Sexuality Norms

October 2, 2017
8 min read

For all the progress cinema has made over the years, a certain segment of audience still gets offended by movies offering to question gender and sexuality. As shocking as it might seem, there are still some people out there who can’t digest same-sex relationships. And even more shocking is the fact that many still want only a man to be the hero of the film. Well, today’s list is about those films that might not go down well with those people. These are the films that proudly put women or homosexuals at the forefront. Here is the list of top films that break gender and sexuality norms.

1. Million Dollar Baby

What happens when a tired old trainer meets an untrained yet determinant would-be boxer? Well you got to check it out for yourself, the drive of the female protagonist is unprecedented. That is not it, the old trainer has a long-estranged daughter and the boxer’s father is dead. The way they present themselves on the screen and the way they channel their emotions is something that’s hard to find in Clint Eastwood movies nowadays. Eastwood as a trainer is like nothing you’ve ever seen him do before, he is cheerful, funnier and fonder than ever. Yes, there are some cliched sports references. But this is the movie one should definitely have on their list.

2. Gravity

Is there even a single person(who has access to digital media or theatres) hasn’t watched the paragon that is Gravity? If you’re one of those people then you surely must be living under the rock. This movie had a budget higher than that of one of India’s Spaceship Projects to Mars. This is a 3-D movie where George Clooney and Sandra Bullock play two spacefarers fighting for survival in space. The director Cuarón has given Bullock the role of her lifetime, and she assures to return him back with an amazing performance which get-this easily overshadows that of George Clooney. The cinematography, the screenplay, the editing, its more than jaw-dropping. If you’ve enjoyed watching movies like The Martian or The Interstellar then you’re in for an absolute thriller.

3. Mulholland Drive

Now this is a movie that is discussed even today(after sixteen years of its release). A woman is left alone with amnesia following a car accident at Mulholland Drive. There is no specific explanation for this coup de maître. You can watch the movie and be astonished by it’s beauty or be dazzled by its darkness, or in some cases maybe even both. There’s noway you walk out of this movie completely satisfied, you long for multiple viewings of this movie. The way two female actresses(Naomi Watts and Laura Harring) makes you fall in love with them is mesmerising yet delusive! It’s the movie where females show how its done and how one doesn’t require male actors to make a movie successful.

4. Blue is the Warmest Colour

This is one of those movies in which you’ll keep checking the time remaining to its end, simply because you don’t want it to end. The original title(which is in French) is the more accurate: this is a film of two halves, the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of a lesbian relationship in the life of protagonist Adèle. As with many male fantasies of lesbianism, the film centres on the erotic success and affective failures of relations between women, what could be called the impossibility of a lesbian relationship – complicated when Emma admits to Adèle, after their break-up, that her relationship with new partner Lise is emotionally sound but with no sexual passion, in contrast to the natural yet unstable relationship she had with Adèle, which provides the centrifugal sex scenes in the movie. The movie does not shy away in any aspects. It’s critically acclaimed for it’s way of telling a very genuine story of two lesbians living freely in their own way. This movie is somewhat comparable to Carol, but both of them are true masterpieces in their own satisfying way.

5. Brokeback Mountain

This movie is just heartbreaking(and breathtaking). Brokeback Mountain shatter gay stereotypes. The film iterates through two decades in a life of two male leads. They live in a time where homosexuality is considered a taboo, not to mention a sin by most of the people. Yet the way they carry on with their life is a universal truth about love(it holds true even today in some parts of this world). Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Legder give performances of their career, every word they utter puts meaning into their lovely relationship, and keeps us awed as viewers. It’s unbelievable to see none of these two legends getting an Oscar for this movie, although Ang Lee took one home as the best director.

6. Blue Jasmine

At the age of 77, he showed us that he had it in him to surprise us with a movie like Blue Jasmine. Allen has Cate radiate every inch of her talent in this movie. After few movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, everyone came to accept the fact that Woody’s days of Annie Hall were gone. Well, haters, watch Blue Jasmine for that matter. This story is about a woman whose life goes upside down when her husband is convicted to be a conman and she is forced to live a life that she hasn’t had ever expected of. The very fine details on how she endures through these hardships is absolutely tidy. It’s like a new-Woody came in to direct this one, good for us he only got better this time!

7. Carol

When comes in the first scene of this movie, you’ll feel confused and considerably so. This scene leaves you incomplete for some reasons that are later explained through a very beautiful non-linear storyline. Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett will scintillate you, seduce you and amaze you. When comes in the last scene, you will have a sudden rush of feelings. It’s so lively, so colorful, so alluring that it will make your heart swoon. Cate shows that she is one of the greatest actresses of all time, to nail a role as such with this ease shows how great an actress is she. Kate on the other side impresses you even more! This movie is rather a harsh portrait of two lovers who fight their way in a world that considers homosexuality as a taboo. FYI, Carol is my personal favourite from this lot!

8. The Normal Heart

Well I expect many people to not agree with me in putting this film on this list. This is a disjointed and messy film, one could even say that it misses a great opportunity on being a true master stroke. But, still the chemistry between Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo is almost perfect. A largely autobiographical depiction of Kramer’s(One who has an original play to his name) experiences in New York City during the first few years of AIDS is represented by this film. Heart offers a singular perspective of how the crisis was handled by the gay community and the government. This movie has it’s flaws and could be considered the least celebrated film on this list, but it still provides a great outlook on a fight against AIDS back then.

9. Shame

This movie features a ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender as a sex addict. This sexually raw film will stir considerable excitement among critics and serious audience. Fassbender fully recognises himself as a complete actor. He may become a very famous global actor, but that is one thing, there is this slight chance that Daniel Day Lewis might have a young challenger. This must’ve sounded like an overstatement but once you watch this movie you realise that it’s nothing but a true possibility. Steve McQueen shows great promise with this movie, he has only gotten better after his film ‘Hunger’. This movie breaks many stereotypes, Fassbender is a downright treat to watch!

Read More: Best Cross-Dressing Movies

10. All Over Me

This movie doesn’t necessarily work on it’s plot, I’d rather say it works because of how real it gets, it could easily be depicting the life of someone we might pass on the street. And that makes it very easy to empathize with two female leads in this film, and what happens to them during a few short summer weeks in Hell’s Kitchen. This movie didn’t quite enjoy either of box office success or critical success, but personally I find All Over Me to be a very beautiful depiction of bitter truths of life. There could be few you that could maybe even relate to it in some ways. It’s a coming-of-age story that explores what one girl puts herself through as she fights to unlock the mystery of her true self.

Read More: Best Transgender Movies

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