10 Films to Watch (or Rewatch) this Pride Month
Throughout history, films have been crucial in shedding light on queer narratives, offering representation, and creating empathy. So, whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or stand in solidarity with the community, we’ve curated a list of ten essential films that capture the spirit of Pride Month, reflecting love, resilience, and authenticity on the big screen. From heartwarming romances to poignant dramas, these cinematic gems are a testament to the beauty of diversity and the strength of the human spirit.:
- “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) Directed by Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain” is a poignant romantic drama that tells the powerful and heartbreaking love story between two cowboys in the American West. The film stars Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist, the main characters whose love struggles against societal norms. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ang Lee. It also won four Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Original Song for “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” by Gustavo Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin.
- “Moonlight” (2016) Directed by Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” is a coming-of-age drama that explores the life of a young African-American man named Chiron, portrayed by three different actors at different stages of his life: Alex R. Hibbert as Young Chiron, Ashton Sanders as Teen Chiron, and Trevante Rhodes as Adult Chiron. The film also features Mahershala Ali as Juan, a pivotal figure in Chiron’s life. “Moonlight” was critically acclaimed, receiving three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Barry Jenkins.
- “Paris is Burning” (1990) Directed by Jennie Livingston, “Paris is Burning” is a groundbreaking documentary that delves into New York City’s vibrant ballroom culture of the 1980s. The film features interviews and footage of various drag queens and transgender individuals, showcasing their lives and dreams. As a documentary, it doesn’t have a cast of traditional actors, but it captures the authenticity of the ballroom community.
- “Carol” (2015) Directed by Todd Haynes, “Carol” is a romantic drama set in 1950s New York and is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt.” Cate Blanchett stars as Carol Aird, an older woman going through a divorce, and Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet, an aspiring photographer. The film follows their forbidden love affair and struggles for acceptance. “Carol” received critical acclaim and numerous award nominations. It won the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.
- “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (2013) Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” is a French romantic drama based on Julie Maroh’s graphic novel. The film stars Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle, a young woman discovering her sexuality, and Léa Seydoux as Emma, an older woman who becomes her first love. The film garnered critical acclaim for its intimate and authentic portrayal of a same-sex relationship. It received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
- “Call Me by Your Name” (2017) Directed by Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name” is a coming-of-age romantic drama set in 1980s Italy. The film stars Timothée Chalamet as Elio Perlman, a teenage boy, and Armie Hammer as Oliver, an older man who becomes his summer love interest. The film beautifully captures their evolving relationship and exploration of desire. “Call Me by Your Name” won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for James Ivory.
- “Philadelphia” (1993) Directed by Jonathan Demme, “Philadelphia” is a drama that addresses themes of homophobia and AIDS. Tom Hanks stars as Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer dismissed from his law firm after revealing his diagnosis. Denzel Washington plays Joe Miller, a lawyer who takes on Andrew’s wrongful dismissal case. Tom Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role, and the film’s theme song, “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- “Pride” (2014) Directed by Matthew Warchus, “Pride” is a British comedy-drama based on the true story of an alliance between LGBTQ activists and striking miners during the 1984 UK miners’ strike. The film features a talented ensemble cast, including Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Andrew Scott. “Pride” received widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the British Independent Film Award for Best British Independent Film and the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.
- “Maurice” (1987) Directed by James Ivory, “Maurice” is a period drama based on E.M. Forster’s novel of the same name. The film stars James Wilby as Maurice Hall, a young man struggling with his sexuality in early 20th-century England, and Hugh Grant as Clive Durham, Maurice’s first love interest. “Maurice” was praised for its sensitive portrayal of a gay love story at a time when homosexuality was heavily stigmatized. It has become a classic in LGBTQ cinema.
- “My Own Private Idaho” (1991) – Directed by Gus Van Sant, this film follows the journey of two young men, played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, who are involved in the street hustling scene and develop a complex bond. Van Sant loosely based the story on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV.”
These cinematic masterpieces bring something unique to the table, weaving tales of love, struggle, and triumph. By immersing ourselves in these stories, we help foster empathy and understanding, break down barriers, and bridge the gaps that divide our society.