Sunday, we celebrated the hardship, failures, and suffering that LGBTQ+ youth and community endure and have endured since the beginning of time. We also celebrated the successes, stories of hope, and love and connection that make this community one of the unique and essential aspects of human history. National Coming Out Day was first observed in 1988 after a massive march for LGBTQ+ rights outside of Washington, D.C., took place a year prior. Thirty-two years later, the month of October has turned into a month that is bigger than getting free candy in a costume. It’s a celebration of love and the lives of the LGBTQ+ community that continues to fight for the right of all humanity — which is equal treatment for all of humanity everywhere. To commemorate this historic event, we look at the top five LGBTQ+ films.
5. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
The late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal show viewers what it’s like to be gay and living in early 60s Wyoming. The pair’s characters are monumental in the LGBTQ+ film industry as one of the most heartfelt films about two men in love. The film perfectly represented the struggle between self-acceptance and society’s desire to claim default heterosexuality during this time. The story of two cattle ranchers broke many barriers that some film industries at the time would not dare try in film. Femininity in gay men and bisexuality was thrown into the mix, challenging the norms of being gay and masculine.
4. Shelter (2007)
Zach — a surfer and artist living with his older sister, his disabled father, and young nephew — finds love and an interest in his older brother’s friend Shaun. Although Shaun is out, Zach is not, and him finding inner acceptance with himself is relatable and something LGBTQ+ youth everywhere can latch onto. Although the film is mediocre compared to most LGBTQ+ films, Shelter expresses a simple plot with a satisfying ending.
3. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Timothée Chalamet lends his talent as Elio Perlman, a young teenager living in 1983, Northern Italy. When his father’s graduate student, Oliver, enters Elio’s life, everything changes. The film speaks true to what it meant to be gay in the early 80s, with an overarching theme of secrecy and desire that can never fully be pursued and accepted in society. The movie, however fantastic, will rip your guts out and throw them into the fire. The film won best adapted screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards, where Chalamet was nominated as “best performance by an actor in a leading role.” According to Variety, among many other sources, Call Me by Your Name will have a sequel. Although little is known about the film, the sequel novel to the original is titled Find Me and takes place 10 years after the events in the first novel. The original cast will return to reprise their roles. Evviva!
2. I Am Jonas (2018)
This Netflix film received a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and captured LGBTQ+ youth in the late 90s as well as the life of Jonas, a young teenager living in France who meets Nathan, another young man. Nathan and Jonas’s journey of combating discrimination and finding love in an unaccepting society is beautiful. When viewers learn of the tragedy in Jonas’s life, it stays true to the horrors, specifically kidnapping, which is something that LGBTQ+ youth have faced and may continue to face in today’s world. According to NBC News, in 2017, Chechnya — a region in Russia — institutionalized an anti-gay purge where Ilyas (whose name is withheld for safety reasons) was dragged from his car and beaten by the Russian military all because he was gay. The man now lives as a refugee after speaking out against a state-sponsored violent campaign where as many as 100 gay and bisexual Chechen men were kidnapped and sent to a detention center where many have died. I Am Jonas was an awareness of sorts about underground torture and discrimination gay and bisexual men face in countries outside the U.S. The film provides a bittersweet ending that will leave viewers wanting a second watch. Although the film is in French, don’t let that discourage you from watching a pure masterpiece.
1. Love, Simon (2018)
Nick Robinson provided his best role to date as young Simon Spier, looking for acceptance and love from his friends and family in the beloved Love, Simon. When Robinson’s character develops a secret pen pal through email, his whole life flips upside down, especially when a local high schooler discovers he’s gay and blackmails him. Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford and Keiynan Lonsdale lend their talents to this sweet family film. Love, Simon was unlike any other LGBTQ+ film at the time until its spinoff series Love, Victor was released two years later.
Featured Image: IMDB