Pride Month is finally here, and what better way to celebrate is than by watching some great movies about LGBTQ+ members and their allies?
With dozens of LGBTQ+ films and TV series coming out every year, the days when Hollywood stayed away from queer representation are thankfully over. However, despite these positive changes, many incredible queer films remain in the shadow of their more hyped prestige counterparts. So, this year, ditch 'Brokeback Mountain' and 'Call Me by Your Name' and check out these three underrated LGBTQ+ films that deserve your attention.
The World to Come, 2020 (dir. Mona Fastvold)
A drama about the lives and struggles of two lesbian women living in the American frontier in the mid-19th century. Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby's stunning performances take the film out of the trite description of a romantic drama, and the beautiful photography, painting the countryside in delicate pastel colors, will truly delight even the most avid moviegoer. The film won the Queer Lion for Best LGBTQ+ Film at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, so rest assured that this complex subject matter is in the talented hands of Norwegian director Mona Fastvold. A glimpse into the past is an undeniable gift that only cinema can give, and seeing a period lesbian film made with such talent is a great way to bring some joy into your life this Pride Month.
Great Freedom, 2021 (dir. Sebastian Meise)
A prison drama starring German heartthrob Franz Rogowski as a high-security prison inmate who gradually falls in love with his dangerous but lovable cellmate? Sounds like a great way to shed light on a complicated male relationship. Set in postwar Germany, the film explores the infamous law criminalizing homosexuality and its impact on gay men living at that hard times. Rogowski's character spends much of his youth in prison for being gay, and this difficult fate serves as the perfect framework for this auteur film, unfairly overlooked by almost everyone when it appeared. Great acting, a strong script, and moments of genuine queer joy in spite of everything, will definitely put 'Great Freedom' on your list of favorite LGBTQ+ films.
Swan Song, 2021 (dir. Todd Stephens)
Iconic character actor Udo Kier appears in all his fabulous glory in this recent film, playing the role of a former hairdresser tasked with doing one last job of styling his former client's hair for her funeral. Despite the somber synopsis, the film manages to bring a real sense of humor and admiration for a life lived, and Keir's layered performance as the talented but aging gay man especially stands out. The flamboyant barber manages to get into the hearts of everyone who saw the film, and despite the heartbreaking ending, this poignant and subtle film will be remembered for years to come.