Today is the first day of spring, and while I am very relieved to see March is finally here, it does mean that LGBT History Month is officially over. However, the feeling of acceptance, love, community and pride doesn’t have to end just because there is no label to put on it. Therefore, I have decided to compile a list of my personal three favourite LGBT movies, to keep the spirit of LGBT History Month going even after it has finished. They are listed in no particular order, since I love them all equally.
1. Carol (2015)
If there’s one movie that I hope you go and watch after reading this post, it is this one. Carol has been the one LGBT movie that I haven’t been able to shut up about since watching it. The fact that it has an equally amazing book at the core of it, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (which I also recommend you go and read), makes it even better – it’s an amazing adaptation.
In a nutshell, Carol tells the story of the love and affair between a young photographer, Therese Belivet (played by Rooney Mara), and an older woman, Carol Aird (played by Cate Blanchett), who is going through a rocky divorce. The story is set in 1950s New York.
My favourite thing about this movie is the way it manages to capture that breathtaking yet mundane moment when one realises they have truly fallen in love. I have seen no other movie portray it as well as Carol does. It also presents the best LGBT friendship I have seen in a movie that is supposed to focus on same-sex love, that between Carol and Abby. They’re open to each other, their devotion and loyalty and understanding of each other is breathtaking, and the familiarity between the two really tugs at your heartstrings. If you don’t want to watch it for the glamour of 1950’s America, or the cinematography, or the amazing acting, watch it for the relationships it portrays.
2. Blue is the Warmest Colour/ La Vie d’Adèle (2013)
This movie holds a special place in my heart, since it was the movie that helped me deal with my own confused mind regarding my sexuality. It was a crucial for me, and has therefore had a big impact.
The movie focuses on a French teenager who deals with a newfound desire for a mysterious woman with blue hair that she encounters by chance on the street, and later at a gay bar. Adèle’s (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) coming-of-age story about her passionate relationship with her first love, Emma (played by Léa Seydoux) is a very relatable one. Her experience of dealing with the uncertainty of her sexuality is sure to echo that of many people in the LGBT community. She is a character that, despite being irritating to some at varying points throughout the movie, is very easy to identify with.
The movie’s raw and uncensored depiction of sexuality has been heavily criticised, yet I believe it is one of the things that make Blue is the Warmest Colour so amazing (and so do people such as Steven Spielberg). The explicit sex scenes are not there just for the sake of it, they make the relationship three dimensional.*
3. The Way He Looks/ Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (2014)
If I were to describe my love for this movie, I would say it was accidental and unexpected. And if I were to be clichéic, I would use the now-famous phrase: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly, and then all at once.” I might have raised a few eyebrows at first, but the movie soon took hold of my heart and it has been in my list of all time favourite movies ever since.
The Way He Looks is a captivating coming-of-age love story between Leonardo ( played by Ghilherme Lobo), a blind boy who is struggling to be independent, and Gabriel (played by Fabio Audi), Leo’s new classmate. Based off the short film I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone, The Way He Looks expands on the themes that the film touches upon, as well as explores the relationship between the boys in more depth.
The way the movie handles homosexuality and disability, two topics that can either make or break such a story, is exceptional. Moreover, Leo is a very lovable character. He feels overprotected by those around him, the best example being his friend Giovana, who walks home with him every day even though she lives in the opposite direction to his house. He has to deal with an overbearing mother and plenty of bullying at school, experiences with which anyone watching the movie can at least sympathise, if not identify, with, regardless of being disabled or not. Leo is a character that does not tick all the boxes that society exoects him to, which is what makes the movie so unique and lovable – its message of embracing who you are and realising that your differences are what make you great comes across loud and clear.
These movies mean a lot to me, but remember, they are only my personal preference. I would love to hear what your top LGBT movie recommendations are!
*Disclaimer: I am aware of the numerous statements made by the two actresses regaring the harrowing experienence of filming the movie, especially the sex scenes. My appreciation of those scenes does not mean I am dismissing their statements; my focus in this article is on the movie itself, not the process of filming and production.