Film Review: 9 Inspiring Films for LGBT Pride

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If you've found yourself walking around London much lately, you'll probably have spotted a stunning array of rainbows decorating the streets. With London Pride fortnight coming to a end this weekend, I thought I'd put together a short list of my some favourite films which embrace the LGBT community.

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Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) Chiron (Alex Hibbert) is a shy and reserved young man forced to deal with a dysfunctional home life during the "War on Drugs" era in Miami. Told via three defining chapters of his life (child, teen and adult), Chiron experiences a rollercoaster of joy, pain, and beauty whilst falling in love and coming to terms with his own sexuality.

If you were able to catch Moonlight during Oscar season, I hope you'll agree with me when I say it is one of the most powerful narratives to come out of Hollywood in a long time. To portray the uncensored struggles of a young gay male is moving enough but it is made all the more moving through the eyes of an unaccepting black community. This story needed to be told and Moonlight does so beautifully. As well as having some fantastic performances, the cinematography is also truly stunning and it is an absolute must-see. 

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Blue is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013) - Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a schoolgirl whose life is transformed when she meets Emma (Léa Seydoux) - a blue haired woman who takes her on a journey of self discovery. Having fallen in love, their relationship allows Adèle to grow but also suffer a heavy loss. Certainly not for the timid, and with some rather graphic sexual scenes, Blue is the Warmest Colour owes a great deal of its success to the mesmerising performances of its leading ladies. Moving yet heart breaking, it is a beautifully shot and well told narrative. 

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Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015) - Belivet (Rooney Mara) is an aspiring photographer who meets Carol (Cate Blanchett) whilst working at a department store in 1950's New York. Having quickly formed a bond, the two enter in to a love affair with complicated consequences. Besides some stunning and Oscar worthy performances from Mara and Blanchett, Carol is visually one of the most beautiful films of 2015. Shot on 16mm film, it just oozes style and totally embodies the era. All in all, Carol is a fantastic film about longing, loss and love.

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My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985) - In a rundown corner of London, Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is an ambitious, young Pakistani-Brit who inherits a laundromat business from his uncle. However, having suffered racist abuse from a local gang, Omar enlists the help of his former lover, Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). Rekindling their romance, the pair set out to rehabilitate the laundromat together - despite the social conventions fighting against them. Naturally, Daniel Day-Lewis steals the show in this diverse and edgy drama. As one of the first British films to come out of the iconic Film4 movement of the 1980s, My Beautiful Laundrette is skilfully directed and incredibly provocative for its time. Whilst it may have aged over the years, it's message still stands today.

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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, 1994) - Drag queen, Anthony (Hugo Weaving), decides to take his act on the road, bringing along a fellow cross-dresser Adam (Guy Pearce) and transsexual Bernadette (Terence Stamp). Travelling in a colourful bus named Priscilla, the three performers travel across the Australian desert in the hopes of wowing unsuspecting (and often homophobic) Aussie locals. However, when Adam and Bernadette learn that Anthony has been hiding a secret, their friendship is put to the test. The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert is truly stunning. Though sometimes devastating, it is a hilarious yet powerful, enthusing and highly intelligent film.

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Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008) - Based on real-life events, Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) leaves New York for San Francisco in 1972. Settling in the Castro District, he opens a small business and becomes active within the gay and lesbian community. In 1977, he becomes the nation's first openly gay man elected to a notable public office when he wins a seat on the Board of Supervisors and makes history. 

When I first saw this film in the cinema, I went in with no prior knowledge or expectation. I was blown away. Above all, Milk is a devastating story of hope. Penn gives a stellar and moving performance which so rightfully earned him an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. 

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I Love You, Phillip Morris (Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, 2010) - Based on true events, I Love You Phillip Morris follows Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) - a successful cop and devoted, Christian family man. However, following a near death experience, he vows to live his life to the fullest. Coming out of the closest, he moves to Florida to pursue a luxury lifestyle through criminal means. Soon finding himself in prison, Steven meets fellow inmate, Phillip (Ewan McGregor) - the love of his life. Once free, Steven is determined to build a beautiful life with his lover and embarks on another crime spree. 

OK so not technically a film exclusively about sexuality but it still counts. Jim Carrey gives a fantastic performance in this hilarious comedy drama. He is so wonderfully versatile. I wasn't expecting it to be so entertaining and, combined with some truly very sad moments, it makes for the top of my favourite LGBT films. You'll laugh, you'll cry - you'll love it.

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Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990) - Focusing on drag queens living in New York City, this documentary explores the 'house' culture of African-American and Latino gay and transgender communities. Capturing a sense of community and support, it showcases the hardships and lives of the flamboyant and often socially shunned drag performers. Groups from each house compete in elaborate balls that take cues from the world of fashion. Also touching on issues of racism and poverty, the film features interviews with a number of renowned drag queens, including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija and Dorian Corey.

You may have heard this film mentioned on Drag Race on several occasions but it really is a must-see. Originally constructed in the 1980's, the film is a thought-provoking exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality - all of which is just as relevant today. Check it out on Netflix if you get a chance.

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Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2013) - Based (loosely) on the life of Ron Woodroof, Matthew McConaughey stars as a straight yet promiscuous lowlife who discovers he is HIV positive in 1980's Texas. Struggling to come to terms with his fate and given just 30 days to live, Ron turns to the black market in a fight for his survival. Joining him on his journey of self discovery is Rayon (Jared Leto) - a transgender prostitute also suffering with AIDS.

It's hardly surprising that McConaughey and Leto both took home Oscars for their outstanding performances in this film. With some truly devastating and powerful scenes, there is never a dull moment in this must-see biopic. 
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Well, that's it for my favourite LGBT films. Of course, honourable mentions go to A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009),  The Kids Are Alright (Lisa Cholodenko, 2010), Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) and Pride (Matthew Warchus, 2014). But tell me, what are some of your favourite films celebrating the LGBT community? Are you celebrating London Pride this weekend? As always, I love reading your comments so please do leave me lots of lovely comments down below. 

Love is love. Until next time, 





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12 comments:

  1. That's a great list that you've compiled, Sophie! My favorite gay-themed movie is the 1995 documentary, The Celluloid Closet. It explores the the way homosexuality has been depicted throughout film history. Torch Song Trilogy (1988) with Harvey Fierstein is another favorite as well as Dog Day Afternoon (1975) with Al Pacino :)

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    1. Thanks Gil, can always count on you to come up with some great examples! When is Pride where you are? :)

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    2. In the US, the whole month of June is traditionally Pride month. Most of the big marches are scheduled at the end of June to coincide with the commemoration of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich village, NYC which started on June 28, 1969.

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    3. Aw great. I think London just has a fortnight but it's Pride month across the country. Brighton pride is in a few weeks so I'm hoping we'll be there for that :)

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    1. Ah I know! Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey are both breathtaking too :)

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  3. Ahh I love this post! Films are one of favourite things and films that tell important stories in a beautiful and cinematic way are some of the best. I haven't seen everything in this list so will definitely watch it! Also have you seen Get Real? That's very good too.

    Deimante x
    http://www.sunnydei.com

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    1. Aw thank you so much! I really appreciate it :) I haven't actually although I think it's been recommended to me before. I will have to add it to my long list of films to see. Thanks for the suggestion! xx

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  4. This is fantastic, Sophie. I love the films you picked out. I'll admit I haven't seen My Beautiful Laundrette, am I right in thinking this is a very British film? I absolutely loved Dallas Buyers Club as both actors were great. Another wonderful post :)

    Ashley xx
    http://www.imamovienerd.wordpress.com

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    1. Yeah I think it's a very British movie tbh so not sure if it's had much distribution overseas. It's worth seeing if you ever get a chance though :) Ugh they're both just amazing in it - the film had me in tears! xx

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  5. Awesome post again sophie - friggin' love Dallas buyers club :)

    Iamfoxxtailz | alternative style diary

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    1. Me too - I cried like 3 times haha. Such an amazing film x

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