LGBTQ+ movies were once a rarity in the entertainment industry. While it’s still dominated by heteronormality (how boring!), queer stories have become more accessible than ever – you can even find a whole section dedicated to them on Netflix. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Netflix are doing the damn thing! Like our extensive listicle for Netflix shows (view that here), we’ve collected a selection of the best LGBTQ+ films you can watch right now on the (UK) streaming service, from the coming-of-age drama of Alex Strangelove to the iconic ballroom documentary Paris Is Burning, and the biographical stylings of I Am Michael. This list will be updated over time, so please let us know if we’ve missed a crucial entry!
Alex Strangelove (2018)
Cast: Daniel Doheny, Antonio Marziale, Madeline Weinstein, Daniel Zolghadri, Nik Dodani
This coming-of-age comedy-drama follows Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny), a high school senior who plans to lose his virginity to his girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein). His life is thrown upside down when he falls for a handsome gay teenager (Antonio Marziale) from the other side of town and discovers his ‘true authentic self’, as they say. It’s no Love, Simon, but it’s still a decent watch.
Beach Rats (2017)
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeleine Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff, Nicole Flyus
British actor Harris Dickinson plays aimless youth Frankie, who struggles to escape his bleak home life as he navigates sexuality and balances friendships, a potential new girlfriend, and the older men he meets online. Eliza Hittman, who helmed the movie, won the award for Best Director in the US Dramatic Features category at Sundance.
Boy Erased (2018)
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton, Joe Alwyn, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Cherry Jones
Jared (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor, is outed to his conservative parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) and forced to attend a conversion therapy program. Once there, Jared meets other queer people like him – including a character played Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan – and comes into conflict with the homophobic head therapist (Joel Edgerton). Boy Erased won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Limited Release and earned two Golden Globe nominations: one for Hedges’ performance and the other for Sivan’s original track, Revelation.
The Boys in the Band (2020)
Cast: Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, Robin de Jesús, Tuc Watkins
Directed by Joe Mantello and produced by Ryan Murphy, David Stone and Ned Martel, The Boys in the Band is based on the 1968 off-Broadway production of the same name from the late Mart Crowley. When first released, the show made waves in LGBTQ+ and mainstream culture for its authentic depiction of the gay community. The 2020 adaptation continues to tell the story of several gay men at a house party, whose evenings are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of an unexpected guest. It sees the return of all the stars from the 2018 Broadway revival, including Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Carver and Andrew Rannells.
Circus of Books (2020)
Cast: Karen Mason, Barry Mason, Rachel Mason, Jeff Stryker, Alaska Thunderfuck, Larry Flynt
Circus of Books tells the story of director Rachel Mason’s conservative Jewish parents, Barry and Karen, who operated one of the most prolific gay porn empires in the United States for more than 30 years. The Masons specialised in X-rated videos, sex toys and literature. Due to the taboo surrounding the LGBTQ+ community and gay sex at the time, the Masons kept their professional lives a secret from their family and friends. The film shows how the Masons dealt with their son coming out as gay and how their store provided the LGBTQ+ community in Los Angeles a space to socialise and celebrate themselves without judgement.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
Cast: Marsha P. Johnson, Victoria Cruz, Kurt Wolfe, Sue Yacka
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson follows American LGBTQ+ rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor, Victoria Cruz, as she investigates the death of Marsha P. Johnson, one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Marsha devoted her life as an outspoken advocate for trans people of colour, and established STAR (Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries) alongside fellow activist Sylvia Rivera to help homeless transgender youth in New York City. In 1992, at the age of 46, Marsha was found dead in the Hudson river, which police ruled as a suicide. However, Marsha’s friends, including Sylvia, believe that she was murdered.
Cast: Laverne Cox, Brian Michael Smith Jen Richards, Alexandra Billings, Rain Valdez, Angelica Ross, Mj Rodriguez, Trace Lysette, Candis Cayne, Chaz Bono
Directed and produced by Sam Feder, Disclosure explores Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and the impact of their stories on transgender lives and American culture. It features stars such as Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Trace Lysette (Transparent), Angelica Ross (Pose), Rain Valdez (Razor Tongue), Jen Richards (Mrs. Fletcher), Candis Cayne (Dirty Sexy Money) and Brian Michael Smith (9-1-1: Lone Star).
Duck Butter (2018)
Cast: Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, Kate Berlant, Lindsay Burdge, Kumail Nanjiani, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Jenny O’Hara
Arrested Development alum Alia Shawkat stars as Naima, an aspiring indie-film actress who forms a connection with a musician called Sergio (Laia Costa) after meeting in a club. The two make a pact to spend 24 uninterrupted hours together, having sex on the hour, to try and create a new form of intimacy.
The Half Of It (2020)
Cast: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexis Lemire, Collin Chou, Enrique Marciano, Catherine Curtin
Nancy Drew’s Leah Lewis stars as Ellie Chu, a shy and introverted Asian-American student who agrees to help the school jock (Daniel Diemer) woo his crush. Plot twist alert: Ellie likes her too. Netflix’s official synopsis states: “In the process, each teaches the other about the nature of love as they find connection in the most unlikely of places.” The Half Of It received highly positive reviews upon release and won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
Handsome Devil (2016)
Cast: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford, Michael McElhatton, Ruairi O’Connor
Handsome Devil tells the story of Ned (Fionn O’Shea), an ostracised teenager at an Irish, rugby-obsessed boarding school. He forms a close bond with new student and star rugby player, Conor (Nicholas Galitzine). The film received universal acclaim, winning the award for Best Irish Feature of 2017 from the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle and four nominations at the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.
Holding the Man (2015)
Cast: Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Sarah Snook, Guy Pearce, Anthony LaPaglia, Kerry Fox, Camilla Ah Kin
This tear-jerking drama adapts writer, actor, and activist Timothy Conigrave’s renowned 1995 memoir to the screen. It chronicles the beautiful, yet heartbreaking 15-year relationship of Timothy (Ryan Corr) and John (Craig Stott), the caption of his high school football team, in 1970s Australia. Like we said, it’s a tear-jerker, so make sure you’re stacked up on tissues.
I Am Jonas (2018)
Cast: Félix Maritaud, Nicholas Bauwens, Tommy-Lee Baik, Ilian Bergala
I Am Jonas is a French coming-of-age drama that intertwines two moments in the life of a man called Jonas: in 1995, when he was a secretive and closeted teen, and 18 years later, as a self-destructive thirty-something with an addiction to cigarettes and Tetris. The emotionally tense film tackles themes surrounding identity, addiction, acceptance, internalised homophobia and toxic masculinity.
I Am Michael (2015)
Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, Charlie Carver, Avan Jogia, Devon Graye, Daryl Hannah
I Am Michael is a biographical drama of gay activist Michael Glatze (James Franco), who created a national controversy when he renounced his homosexuality and became an anti-gay Christian pastor, leaving his boyfriend (Zachary Quinto) and family behind in the process. Franco and Quinto deliver career-best performances in this 2015 biopic.
Ideal Home (2018)
Cast: Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan, Jack Gore, Allison Pill, Jake McDorman, Jesse Luken, Eric Womack
Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan star as Paul Morgan and Erasmus Brumble, a gay couple whose life is turned upside down when Bill (Jack Gore), a 10-year-old boy, shows up at their house claiming to be Erasmus’ grandson. With nowhere else to go, the couple reluctantly take him and as you can guess, they come to love him. It’s sweet, give it a try.
Last Ferry (2019)
Cast: Ramon O. Torres, Myles Clohessy, Sheldon Best, Gabriel Slyer, R. Ward Duffy
Inspired by The Wailing and Stranger By The Lake, this mystery thriller follows Joseph (Roman O. Torres), a lawyer from Manhattan who embarks on a trip to Fire Island to let off some steam. There, he meets a stranger who subsequently drugs and robs him, before witnessing a murder that will change the events of his life as he knows it. Last Ferry was positively reviewed by critics and received a Jury Award for Best US Feature at the 2019 NCGLFF.
Let It Snow (2019)
Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Odeya Rush, Mitchell Hope, Kiernan Shipka, Joan Cusack, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, Jacob Batalon, Matthew Noszka, D’Arcy Carden
Based on the best-selling book by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, Let It Snow follows a group of high school seniors whose friendships and love lives collide after a snowstorm hits their small town on Christmas Eve. The movie features a same-sex romance between two characters played by Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet) and YouTube star Anna Akana. Even better, both actors are queer in real life – Liv is non-binary and gay, while Anna is bisexual.
Cast: Dhruv Ganesh, Shiv Pandit, Siddharth Menon, Rishabh J. Chaddha
Wall Street deal maker Jai (Shiv Pandit) and Mumbai-based music producer Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh) are two friends with a complicated past who set off to the Western Ghats for the weekend. The film chronicles their sexual – but complex – relationship. It received unanimous praise from critics for its depiction of same-sex relationships in India.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, John Gallagher Jr., Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, Marin Ireland
Based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed novel of the same name, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows a teenage girl (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) who is sent to a gay conversion camp by her aunt after she is caught kissing another girl. It won the Sundance Film Festival’s grand jury prize, beating out critically-lauded dramas such as Blindspotting and Monster.
My Days of Mercy (2017)
Cast: Elliott Page, Kate Mara, Amy Seimetz, Charlie Shotwell, Brian Geraghty, Elias Koteas, Beau Knapp, Tonya Pinkins,
Academy Award nominee Elliott Page stars as Lucy Moro, an anti-death penalty protestor who is fighting for the acquittal of her father Simon (Elias Koteas), who was convicted eight years prior for killing her mother. One day outside a demonstration, Lucy meets a lawyer called Mercy Bromage (Kate Mara), and despite their political disagreements, strike up a romance.
Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (2015)
Cast: Victoria Justice, Pierson Fodé, Matthew Daddario
Based on the 2007 book of the same name by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, this romantic dramedy stars Victoria Justice and Pierson Fodé as Naomi and Ely, two best friends who make a “No Kiss List” where every boy on the list is forbidden to them both. However, their relationship is put to the test when they both fall for the same guy. Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List also stars Shadowhunters favourite Matthew Daddario as Gabriel, a doorman who earns a place on their list thanks to his strikingly good looks.
The Old Guard (2020)
Cast: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling
The Old Guard focuses on a squad of centuries-old immortals and mercenaries – led by a hardened warrior called Andy (Charlize Theron) – who have the mysterious inability to die. The team’s mission of protecting the mortal world is thrown off balance with the awakening of the first new immortal in centuries (Kiki Layne), and the emergence of a new threat seeking to replicate and monetize their power. The Old Guard received praise from critics for Theron’s leading performance and the same-sex storyline between Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli’s characters, Joe and Nicky, due to the significant lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the action genre.
Other People (2016)
Cast: Jesse Plemons, Molly Shannon, Bradley Whitford, Maude Apatow, John Early, Zach Woods, Madisen Beaty, Josie Totah, June Squibb
A semi-autobiographical look at director Chris Kelly’s family, Other People focuses on David Mulcahey (Jesse Plemons), a 29-year-old gay man who moves back home to Sacramento to take care of his mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon), who is in the advanced stages of leiomyosarcoma. There, he faces the homophobia of his religious and ultra-conservative family while dealing with the inevitable death of his mother.
Papi Chulo (2018)
Cast: Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patino, Elena Campbell-Martinez, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Michael Shepperd, Tommie Earl Jenkins, Ryan Guzman, Shaughn Buchholz
Television weatherman Sean (Matt Bomer) drives past Ernesto, a Hispanic migrant worker, after finding him outside a hardware store looking for a work. Although the two have nothing in common, they develop an unexpected but profound friendship in this comedy-drama, that reflects on class and ethnicity in modern day Los Angeles.
The Perfection (2019)
Cast: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman
Get Out star Allison Williams returns to the horror genre as the talent but troubled cellist, Charlotte, who travels to Shanghai to reconnect with her former mentor Anton (Steven Weber), who runs a cello competition alongside his wife Paloma (Alaina Huffman). There, she meets another of Anton’s students Lizzie (Logan Browning), and the two quickly become friends. Shortly after their relationships turns sexual, Charlotte agrees to accompany Lizzie across rural China. Sounds lovely right? Nah, what follows is pure terror. If you’re squeamish, don’t watch. If you’re not, enjoy!
The Prom (2020)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Jo Ellen Pellman, Kerry Washington, Keegan Michael-Key, Ariana DeBose, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Chamberlin, James Corden
This Broadway adaptation follows four struggling actors as they travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student (Jo Ellen Pellman), who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend (Ariana DeBose) to prom. It’s not as simple as that, however, as their main objective is to repair their scorned public image and renew interest in their flailing careers. Meryl Streep leads the cast as Dee Dee Allen, a narcissistic Tony Award-winning actress, Nicole Kidman follows suit as Angie Dickinson, a life-long chorus girl craving more, Andrew Rannells as Trent Oliver, a Juilliard-actor-turned-bartender, and James Corden as an actor in financial ruin.
The Queen (1986)
Cast: Mother Flawless Sabrina, Rachel Harlow, Crystal Labeija
Frank Simon’s documentary explored the 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Contest and its legendary mistress of ceremonies, Mother Flawless Sabrina (Jack Doroshow). The film follows the American LGBTQ+ activist and performer and her protege, Rachel Harlow, as she competes for the crown against Crystal Labeija, one of the most influential drag queens in history.
A Secret Love (2020)
Cast: Terry Donahue, Pat Henschel, Diana Bolan
This emotional documentary follows the 65-year-long secret relationship between baseball star Terry Donahue and her partner Pat Henschel, as well as the challenges they face coming out later in life. It recalls when Terry and Pat met for the first time, through their professional lives in Chicago, coming out to their conservative families and deciding with whether or not to get married. “Facing the hardships of ageing and illness, their love proves resilient as they enter the home stretch.”
Stage Mother (2020)
Cast: Jacki Weaver, Adrian Grenier, Lucy Liu, Mya Taylor, Allister MacDonald, Oscar Moreno, Jackie Beat, Lenore Zann, Anthony Skordi, Hugh Thompson
Jacki Weaver stars in this heartwarming dramedy as Maybelline Metcalf, a conservative church choir who travels to San Francisco to attend the funeral of her son, Ricky, from whom she estranged after he came out as gay. There, she discovers that she has inherited his drag club, and meets a vibrant community of drag performers, as well as Ricky’s salty boyfriend Nathan (Adrian Grenier), and finds herself enamoured in a world far outside of her comfort zone.
Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (2019)
Cast: Trixie Mattel, Katya, Bob the Drag Queen, Kennedy Davenport, BenDeLaCreme, Peppermint, RuPaul
Directed by Nick Zeig-Owens, Moving Parts chronicles Trixie Mattel’s sudden rise to fame and country music career after competing on the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, the latter of which she emerged supreme. The documentary also provides an intimate look at Trixie’s friendship and working relationship with fellow Drag Race star Katya, and the struggles of performing and touring the world.
Cast: Darren Nesbitt, Jordan Stephens, April Pearson, Steve Oram, Lucy-Jane Quinlan
Jordan Stephens of Rizzle Kicks fame stars as Faith, a young drag performer who forms an unexpected friendship with an 80-year-old veteran drag queen, Jackie (Darren Nesbitt). The heartwarming comedy-drama follows the pair as they struggle with issues of gender identity, acceptance and mortality. Upon release, Tucked was met with universal critical acclaim from critics, who hailed the film as one of Nesbitt’s best performances.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, John Malkovich
Velvet Buzzsaw stars Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal as Morf Vandewalt, a snobby art critic who starts to experience supernatural events in relation to a dead artist’s paintings. Rene Russo co-stars as Rhodora Haze, the owner of the Haze Gallery and a former member of the rock band Velvet Buzzsaw, while Toni Collette plays Gretchen, Morf’s art curator friend. The film is directed by Dan Gilroy, who previously collaborated with Gyllenhaal and Russo on the critically-acclaimed thriller film, Nightcrawler.
What Keeps You Alive (2018)
Cast: Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Martha MacIsaac, Joey Klein
Canadian film What Keeps You Alive follows married couple Jackie (Hannah Emily Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen) who visit a remote cabin in the woods to celebrate their one-year anniversary. There, Jackie discovers that her wife is harbouring a dark and murderous past, and her intentions of a cute queer weekend getaway were not entirely… pure.