dir. Todd Haynes
Carol garnered 6 Oscar nominations, including Best Actress and Best Supporting for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It’s based on the 1952 novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. It was noted in its time for having a happy ending – a first for a novel featuring explicit same-gender romance. The film graces its viewers with impeccable costume and set design, and a romantic winter mood that follows them out of the film and into the world. Carol, who is going through a messy divorce, and Therese’s love story begins in a New York department store before Christmas, and takes them on a road-trip through the snowy American 50s.
Boys (Jongens) (2014)*
dir. Mischa Kamp
This coming-of-age film follows two Dutch high school athletes experiencing the tribulations of secret crushes and relationships together. Sieger and Marc are on the track-team together, and share a moment together while swimming in a lake. Soon after, Sieger begins to suppress his feelings for Marc on-and-off and the two go through their secret relationship while working together on their relay-track team. If you’re looking for a sweet take on first love this Valentine’s Day, this is the film for you.
dir. James Ivory
This British romance might have some familiar faces if you’re a fan of British film – James Wilby and Hugh Grant play characters who fall in love in 1909 Cambridge, and Rupert Graves (a familiar face to any fans of BBC’s Sherlock) plays a rough garden-hand to Wilby’s estate. This film is based on a novel by E.M. Forster (who also wrote A Room With A View) which was only published after Forster’s death, as it was considered un-publishable during his lifetime due to the typical views on same-gender relationships. The film is long and gives interesting and important insight into the attitudes on gay people in turn-of-the-century England and its effect on relationships during this time.
dir. Barry Jenkins
This film has its iconic moment at the 2017 Academy Awards, when it won Best Picture over La La Land, despite the award being given mistakenly to La La Land beforehand. Based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight was the first LGBT film (as well as the first film with an all-black cast) to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The film follows the life of Chiron from his childhood to adulthood, going through his experience with identity and sexuality, as well as the emotional abuse by his mother. The film’s primary relationship, between Juan and Chiron, begins in early childhood, and is shown in adolescence and adulthood. The film is quietly, yet achingly, romantic and its cinematography is striking.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
dir. Ang Lee
People are still surprised to see this neo-Western romance on lists of recommendations, but then again, most “I wish I knew how to quit you” jokes come from those who either haven’t seen the film, or are unable to understand or sympathize with its tragedy – the film is a tale of secret romance and closeted gay men in Conservative ranch-America culture. A movie that was consistently mocked during its release (you’ve surely heard the jokes), it houses a tragic and vital tale of an entire tragic romance, and a reality that is hard to face, unraveling before the viewers’ eyes, and behind the backs of the rest of the characters’ lives.
Holding The Man (2015)
dir. Neil Armfield
This Australian film is based on a memoir by actor and activist Timothy Conigrave, detailing the 15 year romance between him and his partner John Caleo. Timothy and John met in high school and the film begins as a coming-of-age tale regarding their sexuality and social freedom in Australia, and turns into the experience of both men contracting and living with AIDS. Timothy Conigrave passed away ten days after finishing the memoir, which is widely regarded as one of the best Australian books ever published.