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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

The Best LGBT Movies Of 2017

Catch up on this required viewing over the holidays…

In the past, the most LGBT cinephiles could hope for was a couple well-written gay or lesbian supporting characters with a minor side story arc. But film has come a long way in the last decade with more and more movies coming out that focus on the experiences of LGBT characters.These stories are reaching further than their direct target audience too—Moonlight, a gay coming of age story, even won the Oscar for Best Picture last year.

These movies are catching the eye of people who can relate and are excited to finally see themselves represented on the big screen. With 2017 coming to an end, now is the perfect time to round up a few of this year’s best LGBT films—one of which might even be in the running for this year’s best Oscar.

Battle of the Sexes
The main plot line in Battle of the Sexes revolves around the real life rivalry between tennis champions Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. After finding out the top prize for women in an upcoming tennis tournament is one-eighth of the men’s prize, King (played by Emma Stone) confronts the organizer who stands by his decision, claiming women’s tennis is inferior. King is challenged to a match by a male tennis star (Riggs, played by Steve Carell) and she accepts the challenge to prove that women are just as good—if not better—than men at tennis. While the movie focuses primarily on King’s fight to be seen as equal, there’s also a side story about her extra-marital affair with her female hairdresser. As a true story, King’s experience shows what it was like to be a high profile athlete who was questioning her sexuality in the 1970s.

Call Me By Your Name
Based on a novel by André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name is, at its core, a romantic coming of age story. It is the third and final installment of director Luca Guadagnino’s Desire trilogy. The film is set in Italy in 1983 and follows the romantic relationship between a 17-year-old boy (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s American assistant (Armie Hammer). The film has been universally praised by critics and audiences and is generating significant awards season buzz in all the major categories especially for stars Hammer and Chalamet. Reviews have reported that the film “advances the canon of gay cinema” and is a “modern gay classic” on par with Brokeback Mountain, Carol and Moonlight. When it comes to Oscar buzz, Call Me By Your Name is on the top of everyone’s list.

Women Who Kill
Women Who Kill is about two lesbian exes Morgan and Jean (played by Ingrid Jungermann—who also directs—and Ann Carr) who co-host a podcast about female serial killers called, obviously, Women Who Kill. They interview convicted killers in prison for the podcast and debate who is the hottest one of all until they start to suspect someone in their own social circle might be a killer. The film is part romantic comedy, part satire, part murder mystery full of dry, deadpan humour that lesbian audiences especially will relate to. At one point Morgan says Jean is actually bisexual and Jean says, “ya, but I don’t say it out loud.” It’s a bit more niche than the first two movies on this list, but definitely worthy of a watch.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson, who some people considered to be the “Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement”, was a gay liberation activist and outspoken advocate for gay rights. She was also a self-identified drag queen who played an important role in the Stonewall uprising and was considered an LGBT celebrity who has left a lasting legacy since her death in 1992. Her death was ruled a suicide, but many people believe she was murdered. The case was finally re-opened to be investigated as a possible homicide in 2012. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson follows trans woman Victoria Cruz of the Anti-Violence Project as she investigates Johnson’s murder and also works towards justice for other murdered trans women of colour. Through interviews with the people who knew her and old footage of Johnson, director David France paints a picture of the uphill battle LGBT—specifically trans—rights were during Johnson’s time as an activist.

After Louie
In After Louie, Sam, an artist and activist (played by Alan Cumming), struggles to truly move on after the AIDS epidemic. Thanks to the members of ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), being HIV-Positive is no longer a guaranteed death sentence. Being a part of that older generation who lived through the AIDS epidemic, Sam (who lost at least one friend to AIDS) is hyper-aware of the difference between himself and the younger, more carefree gay community. The film started as an idea on Kickstarter and after raising enough money and recruiting prominent activists and artists from the gay community to be in it, director Vincent Gagliostro—a prominent activist and artist himself—made his feature film debut.

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