This is a developing list, so I will be updating as I watch more and more queer content. So there’ll be a bunch of titles only at the end of this list as my To Watch List. Scroll on down.
Ever since I started to view my attraction to women as something more than just an admiration and role model, and more of a romantic and aesthetic interest, I craved for representation. Whether on the big screen, small screen, web series/YouTube or music, I wanted to belong somewhere, even if it is fictional. At least, I know someone out there thought of this storyline (that is my life) and I can put a face to it.
Then like everyone, I Googled the shit out of articles, lists and recommendations of media and fandoms I should get into. And boy girl was I presented with hundreds of suggestions.
After watching the more popular lesbian/queer girl films, I liked some, didn’t like some, and couldn’t figure out what was happening in a bunch of others. I moved onto the lesser known ones; the indie films, the non-English language films, the multi-genre ones, basically anything with a promising Wikipedia review. To be honest, I connected more with the lesser known ones.
Just like a thousand other lists out there, I want to compile my own as more of my journey through Queer Women Film in the sequence that I’ve watched them. Also, I want to remember what I loved (or hated) about these movies and to keep track of what I’ve watched. So I’m gonna put in my review, long or short depends on how interested I am in it, and which ones I’d recommend (bolded, highlighted, colored, you’ll know when you see it).
Though I have to say, I’m on a journey to find a reasonable, not-too-cheesy, realistic gay romantic story. But I do enjoy the occasional mix of other genres. And not to forget, some fun in the sheets too. 😏
Queer Women Films
The Kids are All Right (2010)
Tbh I watched this movie for Mark Ruffalo, but then he ends up being such an ass. The relationship between Jules and Nic here pretty much depicts what a lot of couples (both straight and queer) fear, lack of sexual interest in the other partner, unless you’re ace or demi then this shouldn’t be a big deal. So that’s nice that they display real life marriage issues instead of just gay-specific stereotypes.
Addicted to Fresno (2015) Recommended!
I only watched this film because there was Aubrey Plaza and Natasha Lyonne. Wasn’t expecting it to have any queer characters or interaction but hey (SPOILER ALERT) Aubrey and Natasha are super cute together! The ending ❤️ Aubrey’s character is such a no-nonsense awkward flirt and I am just so attracted to that.
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
I’m pretty conflicted about this film. I get that it’s supposed to be an artsy indie film but I cringe at almost all the decisions and choices made by the Adele. Plus, there’s just way too many lesbian stereotype and clichés taken too seriously. Not the best queer girl film representation out there in my books.
Kyss Mig (Kiss Me/With Every Heartbeat) (2011) SUPER Recommended!
Coming from the previous film, Kyss Mig is a breath of fresh air. Finally! A film that hits me right in the feelings. I have watched this film way too many times to keep track of, and it instilled in me my love for the Swedish language (and Swedish girls). Yes, I know the cliché storyline of straight girl finds out she’s not straight and leaves boyfriend to be with another girl is there but this one portrays it oh-so-elegantly. Even though Mia cheats on her boyfriend, I was actually rooting for her and Frida to work it out. And thank the gay Gods they did! That final scene of Frida turning back with that smile when she saw Mia gets me everytime :’) If there was one queer women film I’d recommend anyone to watch, it’d be Kyss Mig. Without a doubt.
Tru Love (2013)
Not a lot of romance stories between two older ladies out there and this one was really sweet and touching.
I Can’t Think Straight (2008) Recommended!
I went into this film with low expectation, thinking it was about the whole traditional homophobic parents struggle but wow, it was that and so much more good stuff. I find it pretty brave in the sense that they made the whole coming out to your traditionalist parents situation more bearable and gave hope to all the young, closeted gays out there that your family will accept you no matter what.
Imagine Me and You (2005) Recommended!
Another must watch, just because there is a lack of lesbian romcoms out there. Imagine Me and You is so light-hearted, it makes me queasy when I think about how much we need happy, comical and fun gay romcoms in the world today. Plus, if you’re like me and only finding out about this film after discovering Game of Thrones, it is such a delightful treat to see Cersei actually be jolly and good. If you’re feeling down or not gay enough, go out there, stand on a car and scream from the bottom of your diaphragms “YOU’RE A WANKER NUMBER NINE”.
Life Partners (2014)
Nothing too heavy or life threatening, this film is pretty light hearted and focuses on two girls’ friendship, one of which just happens to be queer. Also, I didn’t know Kate McKinnon had a tiny cameo in here!
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
I really didn’t get this film at all. Most of the time, I’m left wondering why Jessica or Helen did what they did. Unless the point here was to portray real life awkwardness where it isn’t so “cute and adorable”. And when they finally got together and didn’t last because Helen wanted more sex? I mean… okaaayyy.
Lost and Delirious (2001)
Probably the truest film title ever, the plot, character (Paulie) and ending truly was lost and delirious. I do like the fact that it had a very deep meaning of how sexuality can literally be life or death for a lot of people and that the teenage years are really the most fragile for a closeted or questioning person. Definitely not a light-hearted show, but I feel that the heaviness is well portrayed.
Loving Annabelle (2006)
If there ever was a lesbian Hallmark-esque full length movie version of the song Hot for Teacher by Van Halen, Loving Annabelle would be it. After cringing for the first 10 minutes of knowing the whole teacher-student relationship going on, I actually started to root for them. Why were all my teachers never that hot?
Chasing Amy (1997)
Somehow, I didn’t get this film at all. The entire plot and pace of the film just didn’t feel right, although there seems to be a lot of good reviews of how this film is exploring stories and topics that have not been told yet at the time. I guess watching this almost 20 years after it comes out really does make it outdated. Also, the whole straight guy falling for a lesbian and him pushing and not giving up feels a little too selfish?
Room in Rome (2010)
This film is a great excuse to stare at boobs for two whole hours. This film is what I would imagine two manipulative and mysterious spies do in between jobs, lie and have sex. But of course, this film isn’t about spies, just the (half?) lies and sex part.
Another teacher-student relationship, this one a bit more light-hearted. I’d prefer Bloomington simply because the ending was more satisfying. Also, that one library scene definitely stuck with me for a couple of nights after that. Oh, you know which one :))))
The World Unseen (2007)
Same two leads from I Can’t Think Straight (who are amazing btw!) but veeeery different stories. Lisa Ray who plays the more dominant, unashamed queer woman in ICTS is the timid and devoted wife to a man in TWU. Sheetal Sheth was the clumsy and shy girl in ICTS becomes the strong, independent and pursuing dominant in TWU. This role reversal was so refreshing and made me love both films although one has a happier ending than the other.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)
This was such a treat to watch as Anne goes around the men’s backs and getting all the ladies. The Mr. Steal-Yo-Girl of the 19th century. I love this film and I’d recommend it for a light-hearted girl empowering film.
Elena Undone (2010) Recommended!
This film is so ridiculous and slapstick/over-the-top but I love it. It feels like it meant to be parody to a lot of “married-women-finding-out-they’re-gay” stories but just enough to pull it off in a tasteful way. There are quite a number unnecessary subplots like the narrator’s entire existence in this film, the oddly amusing “longest one take on-screen kiss ever”, the son’s childish tantrum, the son’s girlfriend being way too cool to be real, etc. Okay, I was really rooting for the son’s girlfriend to leave him and be gay or something.
My Summer of Love (2004)
This is one of those films where you can follow the story as you are watching it, but once it ends you’re left wondering “What’s the point of these two hours?!” You sit back and try to think what the writers/director was trying to convey but there really was no message other than that they just could. It felt like they were building up to an epic decision or event, only to crush it down by saying “it was only a dream” or “it was all pretend”
Raven’s Touch (2015)
A really weird but touching story. I didn’t feel much chemistry between Raven and Kate tbh, but all other emotions about Raven’s past and Kate’s strain with her children felt. Throughout the entire film, I just remember admiring at Raven’s (and Dreya Weber’s) strength as she climbed up and down in that hot desert. She’s 50+ while filming this! I felt tired watching her lol.
Camp Takota (2014)
Got to know about this film because I love the YouTube Holy Trinity (YouTubers Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig) and their videos. So a film revolving the three of them is already great in my books. They know what we want and deliver it with such great lines, wit and humour. Plus, the three of them are directly involved in the film’s writing with Mamrie at the helm and Hannah is gay in real life so you know you’re gonna be treated good with the gay (Hannah) character’s plot. It’s really funny and good y’all. Go support this film 🙂
The fact that this film was based on a true story makes my heart full after watching it. A literal win for the gays! Not only is there equality for same-sex marriages in here, there’s the age gap difference element to it too. Plus, who doesn’t love some Julianne Moore/Ellen Page loving? 🙂
Ghostbusters (2016) Recommended!
There isn’t a real queer moment here but we all believe Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) is gay and you can’t take that away from me (or us). Then again, I guess her wink during her lip sync to Rhythm of the Night is a huge hint that she was hitting on Erin (Kirsten Wiig). There may not a confirmed or obvious (except it was obvious to me) gay plot here but the movie is still such a great move on its own with the female-empowering undertones and reminiscence of the first Ghostbusters movie.
Dirty 30 (2016)
Another hilarious heartwarming film from the YouTube Holy Trinity, this time wilder than ever. This story was more down to earth and real with the character’s life issues rather than it all revolving around a camp, which was fun, don’t get me wrong. Again, Mamrie is brilliant with her witty and humourous lines as the screenplay writer, amd I’d definitely would love to come to this party.
Almost Adults (2016) Recommended!
Overall, the plot was more or less predictable but I’m a sucker for my fav lesbian vampire couple, Hollstein (Carmilla Karnstein & Laura Hollis from the web series Carmilla). Both leads there play leads here, Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman. This film would have been good for someone struggling with their sexuality and how they are able to come to terms with liking people of the same gender. Other than that, it a really fun movie and you get to admire Elise’s arms 😀
Below Her Mouth (2016) Recommended!
I suggest that you watch this either alone in a room with the door closed, or with your bae, because hot damn! I can’t decide if I want to be Erika Linder or be under Erika Linder. Say all you want about how cliché this plot may be with the whole seducing straight, engaged-to-a-man girl and turning her gay (I just realised how similar this is to Kyss Mig), but these are the stories needed to prove that we exist and these things do happen where women only find out they’re gay at a much later age than teenagers. Plus, there are endless movies out there with this exact plot except they’re straight couples, so one more lesbian one won’t hurt.
Mystère à la Tour Eiffel (2015) Recommended!
Aaah, a period murder mystery with an interracial lesbian couple at the front. I was sold from the moment I found out about this film through gifs and images from social media (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). I love Louise’s no-nonsense and I-don’t-need-marriage-to-complete-me attitude and Henriette’s charm, wit and fearlessness, especially in the tiny, hidden lesbian bar. The fact that Louise stuck with her decision to remain single rather than marry a man for the sake of society’s expectations and her father’s wishes, is already one notch higher than a lot of other films that chooses to end with a straight couple marriage to pleases the masses (think Jenny’s movie in The L Word). So basically, I’m a sucker for women politely telling dickhead patriarchal men to fuck off.
Liz En Septiembre (Liz in September) (2013)
Another lesbian turns straight engaged-to-a-man girl film but set in a quaint little town and is really heartwarming. I can’t help but feel a tiny bit win everytime these films get made and the couple makes it through till the end, which is what happens in this film.
La Belle Saison (Summertime) (2015)
This was stressful. I really felt the struggle that Delphine goes through making her decision whether to leave with Carole or stay with the mother at the farm. It’s an okay film, with lots of nudity and relationship ups and down, and a little age gap difference between the leads, which is great because we definitely need more of those.
The Handmaiden (2016)
So. Much. Sexual. Tension. Also, way too much pervert-old-man than I’d like to see. Location and setting for this film was amazing and so beautifully shot. As an Asian, it felt so comfortable (although I’m not Korean), probably because it was a rich (dirty) man’s house. Plot has so many twists and turns, it was pretty much a triple (or quadruple) crossing story. The only parts I disliked were the perversion and erotic, but I guess that’s why people seem to like it.
The Runaways (2010)
Lesbian/Bisexual rockstars? Um, yes please, sign me up! Kristen Stewart and Ellen Fanning are just living out my fantasies over here. But the main idea here isn’t about sexuality, more on the music and their stories as a musician.
I’ve definitely heard of this film, and know of a couple of its songs, but I didn’t realise what it was about. I found out there’s at least two gay couples here. It isn’t the main storyline but it’s there. A lot of shows/movies I watch now used to be in this movie so it’s quite a treat.
Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål) (1998)
Being my thirsty self, I immediately thought that Fucking Åmål meant the sexual kind but then it was said in the movie in a cursing manner towards the town, Åmål in Sweden. It’s a very amateur schoolkid storyline, would’ve been good if I a pre-teen questioning my sexuality but watching this now in my early 20’s I find it a little ridiculous but adorable nonetheless.
The Secrets (Ha-Sodot) (2007)
A lesbian version of the rebel meets a by-the-book nerd storyline bonding over helping a cancer-stricken woman set in a religious town in Israel. It’s a pretty heartwarming story of a blossoming queer girl love that (SPOILER) doesn’t end well when their homophobic community finds out. I definitely did not understand why Michelle (Michal Shtamler) did what she did in the end. Not satisfied. At all. 😦
Mmm… a female version of Mr.-Steal-yo-Girl-from-a-Mob-Boss. I couldn’t really stand Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and the way she talks slutty-seductively. It’s sexy at first but then it got annoying after half an hour. But Corky (Gina Gershon) though, phew! Sexy, sweaty plumber with those arms? *heavy breathing* It’s a little over the top in terms of its plot but a fun action-ish movie.
But I’m A Cheerleader (1999)
Aww, a classic. Watching this movie today, it doesn’t impress me, but think of it being released in the 90’s and it’s such a step forward for the LGBT+ community considering the homophobia. As all the other reviews say, it REALLY is a very in-your-face statement to all the homophobic stereotypes against the queer community in a very comedic sarcasm. A+ for comedy.
Saving Face (2004) Recommended!
I love this movie for its candid yet very true Chinese slapstick jokes. Being Chinese, I’ve been through much of this culture, with the Aunties starting a bunch of trouble with their nosey-ness. I identify much with Wil (Lynn Chen), a closeted workaholic who’s pretty awkward and shit at flirting. Now where can I find me a Vivian (Michelle Krusiec); openly gay and understanding of Wil’s closet-ness yet super hot? Plus point: lots of cute, sexy make out scenes 😀
The Chinese Botanist’s Daughter (Les Filles du Botaniste) (2006)
I had so much hopes for this movie when it started, with the beautiful serene landscape pan and those beautiful eyes of Mylène Jampanoï. Then comes the usual storyline of an overly traditional homophobic father (botanist) comes in with a closeted and scared-of-change daughter meets this quiet, alluring, also-closeted orphan. Next, a bonus: an egotistical, patriarchal, also-homophobic brother of the botanist. So, said gay lovers hatched a plan to marry orphan to brother so they can be together forever! Wow. Just, WOW. Seriously? I can’t even. I’d only recommend this movie for the pretty garden, landscapes and temples.
My Friend from Faro (To Faro/Mein Freund aus Faro) (2008)
This one is a fun one. Don’t expect too much of sense on this one. This whole movie assumes that the same girl can have two very opposing public assumptions. Mel seen as so tomboyish that she’s assumed to be a guy by some people, which isn’t too surprising from the way she presents herself. But at home, her tomboy nature and always brushing off any mentions of “boyfriend” by her family doesn’t seem to give them any hints of her sexuality.
The Intervention (2010) Recommended!
Ahhh… a reunion of Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall (But I’m A Cheerleader). There isn’t a main romantic queer love story in this, more a a mix of 4 couples who are friends working through their own separate sets of issues. It’s a really good, fun indie movie with lots of various angst and the house is really pretty! Natasha and Clea are super adorable here as well. Plus point: new Tegan and Sara song (Fade Out) and Sara scored the music in here!
The Duchess (2008)
Hmm… I have to say I started to watch this film because I stumbled upon a gif of that one scene between Kiera Knightley and Hayley Atwell on Tumblr so I jumped straight into this movie. Well that one scene was the only gay one. But y’know I do enjoy period dramas with their overpowering royal patriarchy. Oh well.
Nina’s Heavenly Delights (2006)
Phew! This movie made me so hungry with all that curry. Bad idea to watch this in the middle of the night. But it’s such a fun hallmark-esque rom com, even with all of its overly conservative Indian culture & community drama. Overall it was a fun, light movie to get into. I just need to head out now to get me some curry!
You and Me Forever (2012)
Okay this one I just can’t. I came across this movie in the Autostraddle ‘Now, An Updated Edition Of The 102 Best Lesbian Movies Of All Time’ and from their little excerpt of recommendation, it looked promising. Turns out, there was barely any lesbian storyline throughout the film. In fact I found it extremely annoying with the overpowering teenage sulking, being such a privileged brat and angst of the main character. If there was one thing I remember from this is just unnecessary teenage angst.
This Circumstance’s storyline reminded me so much of The Chinese Botanist’s Daughter and boy, did I dislike that film so much. The girls here were a bit more intelligent and modern but really? Do people really think that you could be happy and get away with being with your girlfriend forever by marrying her brother?? And the brother just so happens to be a sadist, misogynist, rapist, homophobic or an all around asshole? I just can’t even…
So I found out that this is the original storyline for The Handmaiden and wow, the Korean version pretty much just lifted the entire plot right outta this one, right down to the sexualised sore teeth massaging scene. I’m more inclined to The Handmaiden as it was more refined and y’know, I love me a happy ending for the girls. Also, the dude suffers more over there. Fingersmith was a little too complicated, they wanted to put in so much storyline and character development into such a short time (mind you, it was a 3 hour two-part TV movie).
Breaking the Girls (2012)
This one feels like another adaptation Fingersmith/The Handmaiden triple crossing plot, except this time all 3 are girls. It started off with a romcom-esque girl meets girl at the bar and fall in love but quickly turns into a psycho-murder mystery when Alex brings up the Strangers on a Train murder plan.
Water Lilies (Naissance des Pieuvres) (2007)
Tipping the Velvet (2002)
Joven y Alocada (Young and Wild) (2012)
Viola di Mare (Purple Sea) (2009)