Every June, countries around the world mark Pride Month, a 30-day celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to parades and rainbow-colored merchandise seemingly everywhere, Pride can also be celebrated by simply turning on your television.
LGBTQ+ movies and documentaries are everywhere, and while some are better than others, the selection is deep and impressive. As a result, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose a worthy movie to watch. Never fear as Digital Trends has a handy guide to the best LGBTQ+ movies you should watch during Pride Month.
Spoiler Alert (2022)
This movie, based on Michael Ausiello’s best-selling memoir Spoiler Alert!: The Hero Dies, was released quietly in December 2022, but was overshadowed by other holiday releases and the fallout from the failure of Bros, the season’s other gay rom-com starring Billy Eichner. Don’t watch Bros; it’s calculated, phony, and, worst of all, not very funny — all the things Spoiler Alert is not.
The latter movie chronicles the courtship and eventual 14-year relationship between Michael, a writer for TV Guide, and Kit, a photographer. Through highs and lows — meeting Michael’s WASP-y parents, moving in together, and a health crisis — the movie presents a surprisingly honest portrayal of a relationship that’s at once universal, but also specifically gay, and is both strengthened and tested by Michael and Kit’s flaws. Usually when movies are described as “funny, touching, and heartfelt,” they are usually Hallmark-level awful, but Spoiler Alert somehow rises above the clichés and becomes the rare rom-com that’s actually romantic and comedic. What a concept!
Spoiler Alert is now streaming on Peacock.
All Man: The International Male Story (2023)
It’s a universal truth that almost everyone hates getting all those useless clothing catalogues in the mail. They clutter up the mailbox, they are a waste of paper, and surely no one actually orders from them, right? But for closeted gay men in the 1980s and 1990s, one catalogue in particular, International Male, was their only way to see and express their repressed sexuality, all under the guise of selling terrible outfits for men.
All Man: The International Male Story is a breezy examination of a seemingly frivolous thing that holds a hidden cultural and sociological significance. Through interviews with the catalogue’s creators, workers, and customers, the documentary looks at what the catalogue meant to a gay community that was being wiped out by the AIDS crisis in the ’80s and commodified in the ’90s. It’s one of the most entertaining documentaries in quite a while, and one that’s worth your time and attention.
All Man: The International Male Story is available to rent or purchase on digital platforms such as Apple TV and Amazon.
Most movies fail at capturing the feeling of desire, but there’s one movie that captured it perfectly. Carol, which stars Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara, chronicles the forbidden love affair between a young and aspiring photographer and a wealthy older woman going through a difficult divorce in 1950s New York.
Carol was critically acclaimed, earning six Oscar nominations and a slew of other awards, and is considered to be among the best LGBTQ+ dramas of recent years. But don’t let it’s sterling reputation fool you. Carol is, above all else, a film about desire, both repressed and expressed, and is one of the most romantic movies ever made.
Summer of ’85 (2020)
Pride Month wouldn’t be complete with a tale of destructive young love filmed with gorgeous actors in a breathtaking location. The French film Summer of ’85 fits the bill perfectly. Directed by Francois Ozon, the movie concerns 16-year-old’s Alex’s doomed affair with David, who is slightly older and far more experienced and cruel. The movie’s tragic ending is telegraphed right away when it’s revealed that one of them is no longer living by the end of the summer.
Filmed in the south of France, Summer of ’85 looks great, with plenty of shots of summertime beaches and neon-lit carnivals, but beneath it’s pretty surface is a troubling tale of first-time love overshadowed by death. If that makes the movie sound depressing, it’s not, as the film’s two leads, Fèlix Lefebvre and Lost Illusions‘ Benjamin Voisin, faithfully capture the immediacy and giddiness of the throwaway pleasure of summertime romance.
Summer of ’85 can be streamed on Showtime.
Streamers have plenty of great LGBTQ+ movies and TV shows to watch, but few are as good or rewarding as 2011’s Weekend. Starring Tom Cullen and Chris New, the film follows two men who hook up after a night out and spend the weekend together, getting to know each other and themselves.
With the same time-pressed quality that makes Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy so hopelessly romantic, Weekend is an insightful and thoughtful exploration of gay relationships. The film avoids the classic and tired tropes of both the rom-com and the gay drama, instead focusing on telling a story about two people finding each other at a particular moment in time. Emotional but never manipulative, Weekend is an intimate, heartbreaking, but ultimately satisfying love story and the perfect proof that not all great romances end in “happily ever after,” and that’s fine.
You can stream Weekend for free on Tubi.
Frank Oz’s dated but still entertaining comedy In & Out stars Kevin Kline as Howard Brackett, a soon-to-be-married man whose life is thrown into disarray after a former acting student calls him gay during his Oscar speech. Joan Cusack, Tom Selleck, and Matt Dillon co-star alongside Kline. Screenwriter Paul Rudnick was inspired to write the film after Tom Hanks’ tearful Oscar speech for his work on Philadelphia.
If In & Out seems like a typical Hollywood attempt at a “gay” movie, that’s because it is. It features somewhat stereotypical humor — complete with a dance sequence to Macho Man — but that’s part of the joke. In & Out simultaneously mocks and celebrates those stereotypes, delivering a quietly subversive film that remains entertaining, fresh, and surprisingly timely. Come for the LGBTQ+ storyline, stay for Joan Cusack’s Oscar-nominated performance and infectious energy.
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