There is a lot of good work going on in the world of LGBT film (and to be honest, a lot of rubbish too), but due to the fact it’s a bit of a niche area, far fewer people are aware of it than there ought to be. So in an effort to help shine a light of those movies that anyone interested in queer cinema really ought to check out, we’ve put together this Top 10 of 2014’s LGBT-themed movies.
To be in for consideration, BGPS needed to have reviewed the movie over the last 12 months. It should also be noted it’s not based purely on the score out of 10 we gave the movie at the time of the review, but also how we view it in hindsight and whether it’s stuck with us over the months. So take a look below to see what we think is the best of 2014.
10. Boys (Jongens)
Plot: Two teenage Dutch boys embark on first love, which inevitably doesn’t run smooth. Neither of them are out and they also have to deal with difficult social and family issues, which threaten to tear them apart.
From Our Review: The film does a great balancing act of seeming like a remembrance of the past for older people who will probably reflect on their own difficulties in the early days of same sex attraction, while also being very relevant for young people today… It’s a genuinely sweet and moving film, with some great cinematography and moments that are genuinely poignant and surprisingly smart. Boys will make you go into full-on snuggle up of the sofa mode as you share these young men’s stories.
9. Who’s Afraid Of Vagina Wolf
Plot: After Anna turns 40, she’s forced to take stock of her life, realising that her decision to put her filmmaking career ahead of looking for love has left her with nothing. She decides to make an all-female film version of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, but the fact she’s really doing it because she fancies one of the cast members ends up causing problems.
From Our Review: Who’s Afraid Of Vagina Wolf? is a sweet and funny romantic comedy, with plenty of wit and a genuine interest in its characters and exploring the life of a modern lesbian, all with a slightly postmodern edge which thankfully doesn’t feel too forced. Anna’s journey is a well thought out and interesting one, as she negotiates what she wants out of life, and tries to figure out whether she’s self-delusional and harbouring internalised homophobia.
8. Eastern Boys
Plot: Daniel’s life is upended after his planned rendezvous with teenage rent boy Marek ends up with a band of young men invading his home and stealing eveything. Despite this, Daniel and Marek continue to see one another – initially having sex for cash but then developing a real connection. However the leader of the band of men who invaded Daniel’s home isn’t about to let Marek go without a fight.
From Our Review: It’s an excellent film which drags you in early and keeps you hooked. What could have been a simple film about a May-December romance is underpinned by a constant sense of threat, which ramps up early on with the incredibly effective sequence where Daniel’s home is invaded and he’s powerless to do anything about it… One of the best gay-themed films of the year, bringing together a great romance and genuinely tense thriller, shot through with a mix of social issues and passion.
7. Boy Meets Girl
Plot: Rikki is a 21-year-old trans girl finding her feet in the world who befriends Francesca, a woman with an absent fiancée who hates everything Rikki represents. Together they begin to explore different aspects of their own sexuality – despite Francesca’s initial naiveté about transgender issues and the fact not everybody is accepting of the non-traditional as she’s ready to eb.
From Our Review: Boy Meets Girl is a very honest film, but quite flirty and fun with dialogue that stays just the right side of sassy and cheesy, while exploring real emotional and sexual issues in a way that’s not at all as heavy as a documentary. It’s not all light and fluffy, but it’s certainly well-paced and extremely well acted.
6. The Normal Heart
Plot: Based on Larry Kramer’s acclaimed play, The Normal Heart centres on Ned Weeks, whose life is changed forever after a strange disease starts taking the lives of gay men in the early 1980s. He becomes part of the fight against the illness as a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, facing government inaction/homophobia and dissension within the gay community. The battle then becomes even more personal after Ned’s partner is diagnosed as being HIV+.
From Our Review: This certainly isn’t a feel good movie, but it does a very good job of taking you into the horrors that accompanied the emergence of AIDS, with an immediacy and feel for the period that’s well captured. It’s also good that this a relatively mainstream gay-themed film that doesn’t feel like it’s mediating the gay experience, or indeed the experience of dealing with AIDs, to be palatable for straight eyes.