Everybody adores love stories, whether it’s an openly embraced fact, or a kept secret; and despite love being a common cinematic theme, there are surprisingly few films that celebrate same-sex romances as their leads. Rejoice, however; for those that do, can be more thoughtfully put together. This is our compendium of the top LGBT love films for you to put your feet up to, crack open the popcorn, and enjoy.
Blue is the warmest colour
We have a habit of selecting films purely by their title and cover poster, rather than by their teasers and reviews; it adds for an element of surprise (good or bad). This is how we stumbled upon Blue is the Warmest Colour – a sad, but wholly captivating feature film set in France that highlights the turmoils of a young woman, struggling with her sexual identity.
When Adele becomes infatuated with another girl, she becomes confused; she makes a fool of herself, cheats on the girl with a man and goes on to lead a life that is full of regret. Yes, it’s sad and full of heartbreak, but it has real chemistry. Unaltered and raw, we really rate this film.
The way he looks
We love a Brazilian film; and this one’s no exception. The Way He Looks isn’t just about finding love as a young gay man, but the struggles the hero – Leonardo – goes through on a daily basis. But that’s like any other coming-of-age-gay-film, you say? No, not really. Because Leonardo is blind as well as gay.
Yup, Leonardo’s life is problematic from the start, but he floats along in his own world until Gabriel, the curly haired cherub of a boy, shows up. Soon, they’re growing closer and closer together. Directed, written and produced by Daniel Ribeiro, it’s an innocent film, artistically shot, and well worth a viewing.
Maurice is one of those classics you just can’t help but fall in love with. A beautifully crafted film based on EM Forster’s book and starring James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves, that tells the story of two affluent undergraduates who are struggling to fit into Edwardian English society. It’s got all the glamour, deceit, and danger you’d expect from an EM Forster story, along with a risky love that threatens to destroy all. Will they conform and turn their back on the forbidden love? Not everyone has a happy ending.
Cate Blanchett gives a flawless performance as Carol, a young mother living in Manhattan during the ’50s and locked in a marriage of convenience. After meeting the alluring Therese in a department store, the affair begins; but not everything’s rosy in their paradise. Carol’s husband is consumed with jealousy, doubts her ability as a mother and threatens to stop Carol from seeing her daughter. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, it’s an amazing film and aesthetically beautiful, too.
My beautiful laundrette
Wildly funny and controversial, My Beautiful Laundrette challenges homophobia, racism, and arranged marriage, through the love story between Omar (a young Pakistani man played by Gordon Warnecke, and his friend, national defence league member, Johnny (played by Daniel Day Lewis). Filmed in 1985, it’s a charming movie that breaks the boundaries of love in its own unique way. Strangely funny and a cult classic.
Never mind the struggles of public acceptance, there are far more problems that everybody faces with relationships; in all relationships. Love isn’t always perfect, and this film showcases this with rich, artistic sophistication. When Russell (played by Tom Cullen) ends up at a gay club after a night of drinking with his straight mates, his one night stand with Glen (Chris New) turns into something more heartfelt. It all happens over the course of one weekend; as they get to know each other more deeply, are they compatible or will their relationship be nothing more than a fling?
It’s sad and in some ways painful, but it doesn’t sensationalise gay relationships, and for that, it is brilliant.
The Normal Heart
Adapted from a Broadway play, The Normal Heart speaks volumes about the struggles the gay community has gone through over the years. Most notably, the conspiracy that the HIV and aids epidemic was engineered by the government in attempt to kill all gay men. Set in New York, in 1981, it relays how gay writer, Ned (played by Mark Ruffalo), sees his friend, Craig (Jonathan Groff) die of a mysterious illness. Dr Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts) believes the illness is spread by gay sex . Although Ned backs Dr Brookner, the majority of the gay community don’t; and when Ned asks Felix, a gay reporter from the New York Times, to help uncover the truth behind AIDS, the pair fall in love. Wonderfully poignant, it shows America’s refusal to believe what was happening right before their eyes. And, of course, it wasn’t just America; it was the world.
We love films with multiple plot lines; Clapham Junction follow the paths of several gay man in London’s Clapham Junction over a 36-hour period. Intricately interwoven into one incredible masterpiece, it’s interesting, heartfelt, terrifying and complex all at the same time. Apparently inspired by a gay hate murder, this is a must-see movie shot from multiple perspectives.
Mosquita y Mari
Nominated for seven different awards, Mosquita y Mari was Aurora Guerrero’s directorial debut of a lesbian coming of age story. It centres on the relationship of two 15 year old Latino girls who try to conceal their love for each other. Refreshingly, it isn’t hyper-sexualised but is sensitively done and opens your eyes to the struggles that real people face every day.
Yossi and Jagger
We have so much love for this film: homosexuality exists among all cultures, and no matter how judgmental or even dangerous it may be, people will always find a way to follow their hearts, and this is precisely what this film portrays. Set in the most unlikely of situations, it focuses on two Israeli soldiers who are stationed at the Lebanese border and find themselves falling in love and sneaky away from their outposts to be with each other. War, however, takes its toll – but will they have the courage to openly express their love?
Do you love film? Why not marry in a film studio or theme your wedding based on your favourite movie. Find all the wedding theme ideas and inspiration you need here.