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The queers haven’t had it easy when it comes to representation. In the words of God Save This Queen hitmaker Bimini Bon Boulash, “Not a joke, just a fact.” For a long time, queer people only saw themselves on screen as the ‘sidekick’ character whose sexuality was undefined and sole purpose in the narrative was to bring in the laughs. Now, the community are – we won’t say ‘thriving’ because so much more works need to be done – able to sit down, watch a film and identify with a queer leading character. Finally! Over the past few years, representation has dramatically improved – you can even find dedicated sections for LGBTQ+ films on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Here, we round up 12 of the best romantic dramas that all queer men need to watch and where you can stream them in the UK.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Ang Lee’s celebrated same-sex romance Brokeback Mountain stars Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, cowboy lovers in the American West in the 60s. The film became a critical and commercial success when it was released in 2005, and went on to win three Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, with further acting nominations for Ledger, Gyllenhaal and Williams. The film memorably lost Best Picture to Paul Haggis’ drama Crash – one of the worst decisions in Oscar history. Despite this, Brokeback Mountain is widely regarded as a turning point for the advancement of LGBTQ+ stories in mainstream cinema.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

In just four years, Call Me By Your Name has become one of the most beloved gay romances of all time. The themes of first love and heartbreak, as well as the dreamy and idyllic world created by director Luca Guadagnino, has evoked such a strong and impassioned emotion in viewers around the world. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, the film is set in 1983 in Northern Italy and chronicles the brewing relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Harmer), a 24-year-old graduate assistant to Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg). Call Me By Your Name earned numerous accolades including four nominations at the Academy Awards, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Cicada (2020)

Cast: Matt Fifer, Sheldon D. Brown, Sandra Bauleo, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, Cobie Smulders, Scott Adsit, Michael Potts, David Burtka, Jo Firestone, Jason Greene

Where can I watch it? BFI Player

Cicada follows Ben (Matt Fifer), a bisexual thirty-something New Yorker wrestling with deep trauma who is – as his sister puts it – “back on the dick” after recently being engaged to a woman. Following a string of meaningless hook-ups, Ben forms an immediate connection with Sam (fellow co-writer Sheldon D. Brown), a closeted data analyst suffering with PTSD after being hospitalised in a drive-by shooting. Cicada delicately deals with complex themes rarely seen in queer cinema as Sam dives into the intersectionality of being a Black gay man in the United States while Ben reveals that his promiscuity and trauma stems from being molested by his step-father as a child. Initially released in 2020 at Outfest, Cicada – which has received universal critical acclaim – is finally available for UK audiences in cinemas and digital now.

God’s Own Country (2017)

Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones

Where can I watch it? Netflix

British love drama God’s Own Country takes place in the Yorkshire highlands and tells the story of sheep farmer Johnny (Josh O’Connor), whose life changes with the arrival of Romanian migrant Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu). Having received almost universal acclaim (and currently holding a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), with praise aimed at the direction of Francis Lee (in his directorial debut) and the performances of O’Connor and Secăreanu, God’s Own Country is a must-see for lovers of queer cinema.

Holding the Man (2015)

Cast: Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Sarah Snook, Guy Pearce, Anthony LaPaglia, Kerry Fox, Camilla Ah Kin 

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This tear-jerking drama adapts writer, actor, and activist Timothy Conigrave’s renowned 1995 memoir to the screen, one of Australia’s most iconic pieces of gay literature. Directed by Neil Armfield and set in 70s Australia, Holding the Man chronicles the beautiful yet painfully heartbreaking 15-year relationship of Timothy (Ryan Corr) and John Caleo (Craig Stott), the captain of his high school football team. Like we said, it’s an absolute tear-jerker, so make sure you’re stacked up on those tissues.

LOEV (2015)

Cast: Dhruv Ganesh, Shiv Pandit, Siddharth Menon, Rishabh J. Chaddha

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Indian romantic drama film Loev explores the relationship between Wall Street deal maker Jai (Shiv Pandit) and Mumbai-based music producer Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh), two friends with a complicated past who set off to the Western Ghats for the weekend. Loev, pronounced as ‘love’, received unanimous praise from critics for its depiction of same-sex love in India – winning the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2016 Tel Aviv International Film Festival. It has been one of Netflix’s biggest queer hits since it premiered on the streaming service in 2017.

Love, Simon (2018)

Cast: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Keiynan Lonsdale

Where can I watch it? All4

Marketed as the first major studio romantic comedy featuring two gay lead characters and a same-sex love storyline, Love, Simon was a momentous achievement for queer cinema. Not only did it mark the first time LGBTQ+ people saw themselves represented properly in this very mainstream genre, it also proved that yes, queer stories can make a profit too, putting to bed any myths that had previously suggested otherwise. Based on Becky Albertalli’s brilliant novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda, the film follows Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay high schooler who struggles to balance his friends and family, as well as the blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school. Paired with incredible performances from the diverse and talented cast (that scene with Jennifer Garner’s speech gets us every time), it felt like a real moment not only for the community, but pop culture in general.

Moonlight (2016)

Cast: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Mahershala Ali

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

This groundbreaking queer coming-of-age tale charts the life of disenfranchised African-American man Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and takes viewers through three pivotal chapters in his life. ‘Little’ follows a young nine-year-old Chiron as he grows up with a drug addict mother in a rough neighbourhood in Miami; ‘Chiron’ shows his awkward and painful teenage years, including bullying he experienced at school; and finally ‘Black’, which shows how he’s developed as a fully-grown man, and the internalisation of his sexuality. The film was rewarded for its brilliance with three Oscars back in 2017. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for any viewer, but especially anyone who’s struggled to accept themselves for who they really are. Most importantly, it offered a rare chance for Black gay men to see themselves reflected on screen.

Monsoon (2019)

Cast: Henry Golding, Parker Sawyers, David Tran, Molly Harris, Lâm Vissay

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Hong Khaou’s second feature film is absolutely gorgeous, examining the intricate relationship that emigrants have with their birth country. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins star Henry Golding leads the film as Kit, a British-Vietnamese man who returns to Saigon for the first time in over 30 years to scatter his parents’ ashes. During his time in Saigon, Kit reconnects with his childhood friend Lee (David Tran), falls for Lewis (Parker Sawyers), an American whose father fought in the Vietnam War, and comes to terms with his loss.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

Cast: Gordon Warnecke, Daniel Day-Lewis, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Derrick Branche

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Before there was Call Me By Your Name, Moonlight and Brokeback Mountain, there was My Beautiful Laundrette. The film, which was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA, explores the complex relationships between Pakistani and English communities in the Thatcher years, and follows the romantic relationship between Omar (Gordon Warnecke) and street punk Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) as they become joint managers of a family-owned laundrette in London.

Supernova (2021)

CastColin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Pippa Haywood, Peter MacQueen, James Dreyfus, Ian Drysdale, Sarah Woodward

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Written and directed by Harry Macqueen, Supernova stars Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci as Sam and Tusker, partners of 20 years. Following Tusker’s diagnosis of young-onset dementia, the couple travel across England in their campervan where their individual ideas for their future begin to collide. One of the most tear-jerking films of the year, Supernova boasts career-high performances from the aforementioned industry legends and is a devastating observation into the effects of dementia, as well as a moving portrait of a couple accepting mortality.

Weekend (2011)

Cast: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Before he worked on queer HBO series Looking, director Andrew Haigh helmed British romantic drama Weekend, which follows two men (Tom Cullen and Chris New) who meet and begin a short-but-sweet sexual relationship the weekend before one of them leaves the country. The film received praise, largely for its realistic and documentary-like portrayal of a same-sex relationship, and for offering a queer romance that was mostly unaffected by the omnipresent threat of homophobia or judgement from the outside world. The nostalgia of fleeting romance and ‘what could have been’ is strong with this one.