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Top 5 LGBTQ movies to watch this Valentine’s Day

Top 5 LGBTQ movies to watch this Valentine’s Day

Top 5 LGBTQ movies to watch this Valentine’s Day
February 09
12:00 2023

It’s easy to feel overwhelmingly single watching couples flaunt their love on Valentine’s Day.

The inescapable pink colored everything leaves you aching for someone to gift you an arrangement of cheap chocolates as a way to confess their love. However lonely it may feel for singles, it is even more isolating for LGBTQ couples who get lost in heteronormative Valentine’s Day commercialization. 

Popular romance movies traditionally watched on Valentine’s Day are no exception in their exclusion of showcasing explicit queer love. However, the following films bring a variety of heartwarming, tear-jerking LGBTQ love stories to an under-served community. 

“But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999)

This film follows Megan, a naive protagonist and cheerleader, who is sent to a conversion boot camp after her concerned parents and friends suspect her to be a lesbian. At boot camp, Megan befriends other self-proclaimed “homosexual misfits” and finds romance where she least suspects it. 

Throughout the years this film has developed a cult following. Audiences love this movie not only for its hilarious ‘90s-style satire and colorful aesthetics, but also for its endearing coming-of-age story. Overall, “But I’m a Cheerleader” comically translates the heightened odds of what it’s like to be a teenage lesbian. 

“The Way He Looks” (2014)

A strong debut film by Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro, “The Way He Looks” follows a blind boy, Leonardo, and his new classmate, Gabriel, who he befriends and develops feelings for. It is a sweet and sensitive coming-of-age story about friendship, love and independence. 

After receiving an overwhelming array of good reviews, the original short film was adapted into a full-length project. Along with its nuanced expression of queer love, the film also illustrates the growing pains of being a young person with a disability seeking to experience the world. 

“Kajillionaire” (2020)

“Kajilionaire” is a dark comedy featuring a family of swindlers that get their income through committing petty theft and ridiculous scams. At the center of the family is Old Dolio, who questions if there is a life outside of scamming with her parents. Old Dolio’s perspective on life becomes even more confusing when they are joined by Melanie, a girl who is intrigued by the family’s way of life. 

While this film may initially seem like one defined by unconventional family relationships, there is a blossoming queer relationship at its core. 

This film is a perfect watch for those tired of the same LGBTQ love narrative in film. Typically, a queer person is ostracized for not adhering to a heteronormative relationship. Instead, “Kajillionaire” tells an interesting story full of twists and turns that features two protagonists who happen to be queer. 

“Moonlight” (2016)

This award-winning film claimed Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars for its devastatingly realistic portrayal of Black masculinity and queerness in the modern world. 

 The tear-jerking story is told in different chapters that each explore different stages in the life of the protagonist, Chiron. “Moonlight” shows a lifelong journey of self discovery alongside an equally lifelong love story between Chiron and his childhood friend Kevin. 

This is another film that explores the intersection of identities in its protagonist. “Moonlight” challenges the typical portrayal of gay identity in film and media being only coded as white. “Moonlight” gives just a peek into the complex and often alienating lives of Black gay men and their struggles with homophobia, as well as racial injustices. 

“Carol” ( 2015)

Therese, a department store clerk who craves a different life learns there are more ways to live, different then the one ordained to her by the strict cultural norms of the 1950s. 

 Therese is struck by Carol, an older woman going through a divorce, when she enters the department store Therese works at. After this interaction, the two embark in a harrowing love story centering a road trip the pair go on together. 

“Carol” was adapted from the 1952 romance novel “The Price of Salt.” Author Patricia Highsmith first published the novel under the pseudonym Claire Morgan due to the slight autobiographical nature of the book. Highsmith uses her own life experiences in the story, showcasing the lesbian subculture of the 1950s. It holds great importance in LGBTQ history due to the fact that it was nearly unheard of at the time to give a piece of lesbian literature a happy ending. 

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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