Before the second half of 2023 begins, we thought it might be fun to detail some of the LGBTQ+ films coming out later this year that we can’t wait to see…
As we round out the first quarter of the year and head straight into the summer months, it’s becoming quite clear that audiences are returning to movie theaters in droves. Huge blockbusters like Fast X, the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, and the latest offerings from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are on the way, sure-fire hits that will bring viewers much-needed popcorn entertainment. There have also been several film festivals where critics and industry professionals have watched movies that the general public will get the chance to see in the coming months. A few surprises landed in queer categories at both the Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest.
Before the second half of 2023 begins, we thought it might be fun to detail some of the LGBTQ films coming out later this year that we can’t wait to see. Some of these have had world premieres at film festivals, while others remain a complete mystery to critics before their debut.
Mark my words, directors Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman’s Theater Camp will be a new LGBTQ favorite once it releases in theaters this year. The film stars Ben Platt and Molly Gordon as veteran teachers at a theater camp for children in upstate New York. The mockumentary-style movie follows the camp’s ups and downs, including the arrival of an immature new owner and the staff’s struggle to adapt.
Theater Camp first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and had a screening for eager audiences at South by Southwest. It is a funny and relatable satire of the teacher-camper dynamic that anyone who has ever attended or been involved in a child’s theater production will appreciate. Actor Noah Galvin demonstrates strength as a scene stealer throughout the film, with supporting performances by Jimmy Tatro, Caroline Aaron, Ayo Edebiri, Nathan Lee Graham, Amy Sedaris, and a host of talented child performers.
Theater Camp will be released in theaters on July 14, 2023.
Bottoms is a teen comedy from the filmmakers behind Shiva Baby, Rachel Sennott and Emma Seligman. The film is not so subtly influenced by similar flicks that came before it, such as Not Another Teen Movie and Superbad, and might be this generation’s answer to Mean Girls. Sennott stars alongside Ayo Edebiri as two queer students who start a fight club so that they can hook up with cheerleaders. Blissfully over-the-top in every proper way, this queer high school sex comedy lives in an alternate reality where there are no rules, teachers condone violence, and football is all anyone can talk about.
Elizabeth Banks produces the hilarious Bottoms, which had its world premiere at South by Southwest this year. It showcases a talented supporting cast of Kaia Gerber, Havana Rose Liu, Punkie Johnson, and athlete Marshawn Lynch.
Bottoms will be released in theaters in the summer of this year.
Rustin, a film that explores the life of strategist Bayard Rustin, a gay civil rights activist, is directed by George C. Wolfe and co-written by Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black. Bayard Rustin was instrumental in organizing the March on Washington in 1963, collaborating with other civil rights leaders of his time. He also advised Martin Luther King Jr. through his Southern Christian Leadership Conference involvement. However, due to his sexual orientation and the criticism faced by civil rights leaders of that era, Rustin had to work mainly behind the scenes.
Starring Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin, the film features Chris Rock, Audra McDonald, Glynn Turman, Bill Irwin, and Aml Ameen, the latter of which portrays Martin Luther King Jr.
Rustin will be available to stream on Netflix later this year.
Maestro is a biographical film about the life of Leonard Bernstein, one of the most celebrated composers of all time. The film is directed, co-written, and stars A-lister Bradley Cooper, making it one of the year’s most anticipated releases. Produced by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, Maestro delves into the turbulent marriage of Leonard Bernstein to actor Felicia Montealegre, portrayed in the film by Carey Mulligan. The movie will most likely earn some awards season love as it does not shy away from exploring Bernstein’s secret life as a queer man and the challenges he faced in reconciling his public and private personas.
The movie’s strong ensemble cast of Jeremy Strong, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman strengthens the film. The double life of Leonard Bernstein is portrayed in Maestro, revealing the complexities of a man who became one of the world’s greatest composers and conductors.
Maestro will be available to stream on Netflix in the second half of the year.
Down Low is a dark comedy that premiered at the SXSW Film Festival last month to thunderous applause for leads Zachary Quinto and Lukas Gage. Directed by Bonding scribe Rightor Doyle, the movie follows the story of a sexually repressed man (Quinto) who finds solace in an uninhibited masseuse (Gage) after the breakdown of his marriage. The unlikely pair develops a bond that leads to unexpected and often deadly consequences, ultimately affecting the lives of those around them.
Written by Phoebe Fisher and Lukas Gage, Down Low is a fresh and entertaining take on the themes of sexual repression and self-loathing. The cast features an impressive lineup of talented actors, including Broadway legends Judith Light and Audra McDonald, Simon Rex, and newcomer Sebastian Arroyo.
Down Low will be released later this year.
National Anthem had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival last month. The movie presents a heartfelt story about growing up around the queer rodeo in photographer Luke Gilford’s feature film directorial debut. The movie represents portions of Gilford’s own upbringing as his father participated in rodeos. National Anthem stars Charlie Plummer as Dylan, a young man who leads a monotonous life in rural New Mexico and takes odd jobs in construction to support his family. Dylan’s life is turned upside down when he accepts a job at a homestead run by a community of queer rodeo performers and ranchers. This leads to his transition from an unskilled loner to one with a sense of community amongst strangers.
The distinctive world of queer rodeo is on full display in National Anthem, brought to life through stunning cinematography and outstanding supporting performances. The film embraces its distinctness by showcasing LGBTQ individuals against the beautiful landscapes of the American Southwest.
National Anthem will be released later this year.
The world premiere of Problemista also took place last month at South by Southwest. It is the latest film from writer and star Julio Torres, known for his work on Los Espookys. This time around, Torres directs, writes, produces, and stars in this surreal comedy, which features unpredictable supporting work from Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton.
Problemista follows Alejandro (Torres), an up-and-coming toy designer from El Salvador who struggles to bring his peculiar ideas to life in New York City. A job working for an eccentric art-world figure (Swinton) becomes Alejandro’s only hope of staying in the United States legally. The movie showcases Torres’ brand of quirky humor. It is also a surreal adventure through the worlds of New York City and the U.S. immigration system, reflecting Torres’ own experience with the country’s laws.
Problemista will be released later this year.