Best LGBTQ+ movies out right now and where to watch them
The RadioTimes.com team have searched far and wide to bring you the best LGBTQ+ films to watch — just in time for Pride Month.
This Pride Month, we’re bringing you some of our favourite LGBTQ+ movies to watch on streaming services. We rounded up the RadioTimes.com team to ask them their top queer films, and this guide encompasses a good selection of them, from coming-of-age movies such as Booksmart and Moonlight, to essential viewing like Paris is Burning and Pride.
LGBTQ+ movies are a brilliant way to learn about queer culture, and act for some as an introduction to the community, particularly as not everybody feels comfortable to, or are able to, attend LGBTQ+ events. Queer cinema is also hugely enjoyable (we’re looking at you Everything Everywhere All at Once).
When doing our research, it looks like the streaming service Netflix has the most LGBTQ+ movies, however, we’ve found some on NOW, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Apple TV+, too, as well as films to watch for free on BBC iPlayer (providing you have a TV licence, of course).
What are LGBTQ+ movies?
LGBTQ+ as a film category can encompass multiple things; queer cinema usually features LGBTQ+ characters and focuses on LGBTQ+ themes such as sexuality and identity, a movie can also be acknowledged as a moment in the evolution in queer cinema, such as Paris is Burning.
Which UK streaming service has the best LGBTQ+ movies?
There are many UK streaming services which excel at providing us with the best in queer cinema, and a lot of the platforms have a category dedicated to LGBTQ+ stories, too, such as Netflix and Disney Plus.
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Disney Plus' Pride section has some of the best LGBTQ+ tales such as Love, Victor and Love, Simon, as well as documentaries on some of the most influential out-and-proud queer talent, like Miley Cyrus' Endless Summer Vacation, and Elton John Live.
Apple TV Plus is great for big blockbuster movies, for example Bones and All, which is directed by queer director Luca Guadagnino, as well as LGBTQ+ stories like Everything Everywhere All at Once, Moonlight, Tár, Boy's Don't Cry, and many more.
As well as having queer movies such as My Policeman, starring Harry Styles, we love Amazon Prime Video for its 30-day free trial. Amazon Prime Video boasts thousands of popular movies, the most-talked about TV shows, as well as award-winning Amazon Originals.
The NOW streaming service has classic movies, such as the 1993 film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks, as well as movies like Summerland and Cowboys which are available on Sky Cinema.
Does Netflix have LGBTQ+ movies?
As we mentioned earlier, Netflix has possibly the best selection of LGBTQ+ movies. In the LGBTQ+ section on Netflix, the streaming service writes ‘Love knows no bounds — and neither does a great story’, and it features films which celebrate queer experiences in cinema. As well as the movies we’ve mentioned below, Netflix also has gems such as The Danish Girl, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Best LGBTQ+ films at a glance:
- Pride, Disney Plus
- Love, Simon, Disney Plus
- Milk, Apple TV Plus
- Weekend, Amazon Prime Video
- Booksmart, Amazon Prime Video
- Everything Everywhere All at Once, Amazon Prime Video
- Carol, Amazon Prime Video
- Bros, NOW
- The Half of It, Netflix
- The Fear Street Trilogy, Netflix
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Netflix
- Moonlight, BBC iPlayer
- My Summer of Love, BBC iPlayer
- Paris is Burning, BBC iPlayer
Best LGBTQ+ movies and where to watch them
The Half of It
Who doesn’t love a coming-of-age movie? Particularly one which is based on a play (we’re looking at you 10 Things I Hate About You and Clueless). The Half of It is a loose retelling of the 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, and it follows student Ellie Chu as she’s enlisted by Paul Munksy, a football player, to write letters to his crush, a schoolgirl Aster Flores. Ellie agrees, but what she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with Aster herself.
One of our RadioTimes.com writers watched this film with their mum recently, and it was every bit as good as their friends had promised them it would be. The movie stars George MacKay, Andrew Scott, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, amongst others, and it was nominated for the Best Motion Picture award at the Golden Globes, and for the Best British Film award at the BAFTAs.
Pride is based on a true story, and it follows a group of lesbian and gay activists (who would later form the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign group) who raise money to help families affected by the 1984 miners’ strike.
Want to see more of Andrew Scott this autumn? He’ll be starring in the play Vanya, and here’s how you can get Vanya tickets.
Plus, for top Disney Plus offers check out our dedicated deals page.
The Fear Street Trilogy
This LGBTQ+ horror is right up our (fear) street, and if you’re fans of the Slasher and supernatural sub-genres, it’ll be for you, too. Based on R.L. Stine’s books of the same name, the Fear Street movies follow a group of teenagers as they try to break a curse that has been haunting their town for hundreds of years.
Another brilliant coming-of-age movie is Moonlight. This beautiful film is based on the American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, and it has an all-star cast including Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, and Naomie Harris.
Moonlight follows the main character, Chiron, in the three stages of his life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, while he grapples with his sexuality and identity.
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Perhaps one of the most talked-about pieces of queer cinema in recent years, Love, Simon is a 2018 romantic-comedy. The movie centres around Simon Spiers, a closeted high school student who is threatened by a blackmailer who says they’ll out him as gay to the entire school. At the same time, Simon is also trying to find out the identity of an online lover, who just so happens to go to his school.
Love, Simon is described as heart-warming and life-affirming, so be sure to get your tissues at the ready.
Starring Tom Cullen (of Orphan Black and Downton Abbey fame), this 2011 18+ rated film follows Russell as he heads out to a nightclub and picks up Glen. What could have been a one-time encounter leads to an unconventional love story between two men who are attempting to navigate their lives.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
If there was one movie that’s pretty much guaranteed to make you cry, it’s this one. Don’t worry, nothing too tragic happens, but it’s a beautiful tale of forbidden love. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is centred around two women: Marianne, a painter, who is commissioned to paint the portrait of an aristocrat to send to her husband-to-be, and Héloïse, the woman who is being painted.
My Summer of Love
My Summer of Love was this writer’s first introduction to queer cinema, at a time when they were almost definitely under the 15 age rating. Based on a novel of the same name, the BAFTA-award winning My Summer of Love explores a romantic relationship between two women from different social backgrounds, Mona and Tamsin. Tamsin is played by Emily Blunt in her (can you believe it) first theatrical film debut.
This hilarious coming-of-age movie is centred around two goody-two-shoes best friends, played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, who set-out to break the rules and party hard on their last day of school. Booksmart awarded Feldstein a nomination for Best Actress at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
Bros is one of the first gay romantic comedies to be produced by a major studio, Universal Pictures, and it has a brilliant openly LGBTQ+ main cast. The 2022 movie follows two men, Bobby (Billy Eichner) and Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) who are notoriously avoidant of commitment, but are somehow drawn to each other.
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Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once truly has it all: it unpacks mother-daughter relationships, feelings of loneliness, and is a brilliant piece of queer cinema, as well as providing us with plenty of sci-fi and martial arts scenes.
The absurdist fiction movie, which won seven of its 11 Academy Award nominations at the 95th Academy Awards including Best Picture, stars Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese-American immigrant who discovers that she can connect with a parallel universe of versions of herself. It’s down to her to protect the multiverse from being destroyed. The movie has an all-star cast, including Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jenny Slate.
Paris is Burning
The RadioTimes.com team have said it before in our top Pride Month experiences piece, and we’ll say it again: Paris is Burning is one of the most important pieces of queer cinema. The Jennie Livingston-directed film documents ball culture in 1980s New York City, and it was one of the first documentaries to explore race, class, sexuality, and gender, by putting queer people of colour at the forefront.
Did you know Paris is Burning is being shown at the Barbican’s outdoor cinema in August? Snap-up your Paris is Burning tickets here.
With the backdrop of New York City in the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of an affair between an aspiring photographer (Rooney Mara) and a woman going through a troubling divorce (Cate Blanchett).
Carol was named by the British Film Institute as the best LGBT film of all time, and was nominated for many awards including five Golden Globe awards, six Academy Awards, and nine BAFTA awards, plus, the BBC considers it as one of the greatest films of the 21st century.
Milk is a biographical film based on the life of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and politician who was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The 2008 movie received eight Academy Award nominations, and won two of them: the Best Actor award for Sean Penn, who plays Milk, and the Best Original Screenplay award for Dustin Lance Black who wrote the movie.