To celebrate pride month we’ve put on our sparkliest shirts, whipped out our pride flags and got streaming some of our favourite LGBT+ movies from the past few years. Enjoy!
The first film we have to mention, when talking about LGBT films, is the critically acclaimed ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Based on Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name – ‘Brokeback Mountain’ focuses on the romance that blossoms between Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) as they spend a summer herding sheep through the Wyoming mountains. Neither man can envisage a life with another man, although the two never truly stop loving each other, and so spend their lives apart and in marriages that are constricting and ultimately damaging.
‘Brokeback Mountain’ was the most honoured film of 2005, with Golden Globe, BAFTA and film festival wins, and has been praised for its examination of the relationship between the two leading characters, without needing to frame it against the gay rights movement in order for it to be engaging and moving.
In 2019, the award-winning reporter Lyra McKee was shot dead during a riot in Derry. She was just 29 years old and was doing her job, covering a news story. A few hours later, she was the new story. Lyra McKee devoted much of her career to writing about intergenerational trauma and the consequence of violent deaths on those left behind. Lyra’s family now grieves and has become one of those families she used to write about. BAFTA-winner Alison Miller introduces us to the writer, the LGBTQ+ activist, a warmhearted woman with endless good humour.
GODS OWN COUNTRY
“Just so’s you’re clear – he’s here to work.” Set in Yorkshire, England. Johnny Saxby is a 25-year-old sheep farmer, who has sacrificed going away to college or getting a job in town to run the family farm for his ailing father, Martin (Ian Hart), and stoic grandmother Deirdre (Gemma Jones), numb the daily frustration of his desolate life with binge drinking and casual sex. As lambing season approaches, Martin hires a Romanian migrant worker, Gheorghe, to assist the already exhausted Johnny. ‘Gods Own Country’ is a modern day classic – and comes highly recommended
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
This 2010 Sundance hit stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as Nic and Jules, a married couple with two children, When Laser (Josh Hutcherson) becomes curious about who his biological father is, he opens the door for Paul (Mark Ruffalo) to enter the family’s lives, and throw everything into chaos.
Although ‘The Kids Are All Right’ is a film that focuses on a family being thrown into chaos, it is truly the story of a family coming back together after a crisis, and it is the love between Jules and Nic. The film opened to widespread acclaim, and was nominated for four Oscars.
THE QUEEN OF IRELAND
The documentary film, THE QUEEN OF IRELAND, charts the story of Rory O’Neill and the rise of his alter ego, Panti Bliss. Regarded as one of the finest drag queens in the world, Rory found himself at the centre of Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum in the summer of 2015. Pandora ‘Panti’ Bliss is many things: part glamorous aunt, part Jessica Rabbit, a wittily incisive performer with charisma to burn who is regarded as one of the best drag queens on the planet. Created by Rory O’Neill, Panti is also an accidental activist and in her own words ‘a court jester, whose role is to say the un-sayable’.
MY SUMMER OF LOVE
Before she was the global mega star that she is now, Emily Blunt starred in ‘My Summer of Love’, a film that tells the story of the romance between Tamsin (Blunt) and Mona (Natalie Press). Although the two initially seem to have nothing in common, it is this distance that makes the two grow close, and realise they have much to teach each other about life. As they grow closer, Tamsin’s lies are slowly revealed. Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski – whose most recent film ‘Ida’ won the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film – ‘My Summer of Love’ has been praised as a moody bittersweet romance.
For Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach (‘I Went Down’, ‘Man About Dog’), a 1996 trip to Havana sparked his latest offering. It was one Cuban family’s home-built venue for their drag queen son that really stuck with Paddy, and he soon had an outline for a story winging its way to Mark O’Halloran (‘Adam & Paul’, ‘Garage’, etc), who weaved the idea into a working script.
VIVA stars Héctor Medina as Jesus, a young hairdresser working at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers, who dreams of being a performer himself. Encouraged by his mentor, Mama (Luis Alberto García), Jesus finally gets his chance to take the stage. But when his estranged father Angel (Jorge Perugorría) abruptly reenters his life, his world is quickly turned upside down. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, VIVA becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family.
Watch our interview from VIVA below
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR
Abdellatif Kechiche’s film stars Adèle Exarchopoulos as the young Adèle, who finds herself unfulfilled when she sleeps with her high school boyfriend, but has an instant attraction to Emma (Léa Seydoux) when she sees her on the street. It is not long before Adèle and Emma begin a stormy and passionate relationship, but the passion that brought the two women together is ultimately what tears them apart. ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ is a film that examines first love and the fact that passion can draw people together, as well as tear them apart. Although the film was dogged with controversy about how the cast and crew were treated during filming, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and prizes at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTA awards.
Ned (Fionn O’Shea) decides to try and get kicked out of boarding school, so he can be free to live life away from the bullies that make his life difficult. All of this changes, however, when Ned’s new roommate Conor (Nicholas Galitzine) shows that far from just being rugby obsessed like the rest of the school, he is also into music and art, meaning he and Ned become firm friends. When rumours about sexuality begin to circulate in the school and teachers start getting involved in the boys’ friendship, Ned makes a public declaration that may just lose him the only friend he has.
Check out our interview with director John Butler –> https://www.movies.ie/interview-john-butler-handsome-devil/
Milk from cult director Gus Van Sant, details the life of Harvey Bernard Milk, the first openly gay city supervisor of San Francisco, California and gay rights activists. He was assassinated in 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone, by his political rival Dan White, making him a LGBT community “martyr”. White’s relatively mild sentence for the murders led to the White Night Riots, and eventually the abolition of diminished capacity (the so called ‘Twinkie defence’) in California.
I AM DIVINE
This wonderful documentary profiles drag queen Divine, who gained fame in a series of transgressive comedies by John Waters. The film includes interviews with a number of people who worked closely with the performer, born Harris Glenn Milstead, and details his journey of self-expression and self-discovery.
LOVE IS STRANGE
Having been together for decades, George (Alfred Molina) and George (John Lithgow) finally get married. Not long afterwards, George is unceremoniously fired from his teaching job at a Christian school, and the newlyweds find themselves having to sell their home and couch surf with friends and family. Of course, this cannot be a permanent solution, but it takes a toll on all involved. ‘Love is Strange’ is one of those quiet little affecting movies, one that is not all song and dance, but about the characters and their world. The film was met with huge acclaim, with much of the praised being heaped on the performances by and the chemistry between the two lead actors.
BREAKFAST ON PLUTO
Breakfast on Pluto is a 2005 film written and directed by Neil Jordan and based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Patrick McCabe. Set in the 1970s, Cillian Murphy plays a young trans woman, Patrick “Kitten” Braden, who comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because her gender identity is beyond the town’s understanding.
CAROL is the tender love story between Carol (Cate Blanchett) and the young Therese (Rooney Mara), at a time when homosexuality was still a crime in the US. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel ‘The Price of Salt’, ‘Carol’ has already got rave reviews from the Cannes Film Festival, where Rooney Mara walked away with the award for Best Actress – which she shared with Emmanuelle Bercot for her role in ‘Mon Roi’.
A ground breaking gay movie that is now more than 25 years old but still hits so many great notes. The central relationship builds very sweetly and believably. A mostly strong cast led by the the two boys and the mother form a tender center.
STAGE MOTHER is an LGBT comedy that sees conservative, Texas church-choir director Maybelline (Jacki Weaver, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, ANIMAL KINGDOM) inheriting her recently deceased son’s drag club, and surprising her closed-minded husband, and everyone else she knows, by moving alone to San Francisco to save the club from bankruptcy. In this raucous, racy new environment, she begins to open up and find new meaning for her life, even becoming a mother-figure to the club’s flamboyant performers… until a surprise visit threatens to upend her new life.
BROS From the ferocious comic mind of Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, 2019’s The Lion King, Difficult People, Impeachment: American Crime Story) and the hitmaking brilliance of filmmakers Nicholas Stoller (the Neighbors films, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Judd Apatow (The King of Staten Island, Trainwreck, The Big Sick), comes Bros, a smart, swoony and heartfelt comedy about how hard it is to find another tolerable human being to go through life with.
The maker of Irish box office hits ‘The Stag’ & ‘Handsome Devil’ returned with his Hollywood debut PAPI CHULO. The film examines the unlikely friendship between Sean, a young, gay, TV weatherman (Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer) and Ernesto, a middle-aged Latino migrant worker (Alejandro Patiño).
Check out our interview with director John Butler –> https://www.movies.ie/papi-chulo-interview-with-irish-director-john-butler/
WHO WE LOVE
An Irish film about coming of age and coming out, Who We Love tells the story of Lily and Simon, best friends who navigate the troubled waters of school life and explore Dublin’s vibrant and sometimes dark LGBTQ+ scene under the sharp eye of reluctant mentor Oonagh. When a misunderstanding with the beautiful and popular Violet leads to a vicious attack, Lily is faced with the greatest challenge of her young life.