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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

The Best 2SLGBTQI+ Movies Of 2023

Looking back on a year filled with more representation than ever before when it comes to the best 2SLGBTQI+ movies in theaters and on streaming…

As 2023 quickly comes to a close and a new year promises more entertainment for moviegoing audiences, it’s time to look back on some of the best 2SLGBTQI+ flicks of the year. After all, queer representation hit the mainstream in powerful aspects that have helped to shape a fantastic 2023. From awards season contenders to thought provoking documentaries, the 2SLGBTQI+ community has seen themselves reflected back on screen in meaningful ways.

Here are just a few of the very best 2SLGBTQI+ movies that 2023 had to offer:

All of Us Strangers

Director Andrew Haigh’s fantastical queer drama about loneliness and grief hits all of the right notes that only a tearjerker like All of Us Strangers can promise. Based on the novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada, the British film explores Londoner Adam’s (Andrew Scott) connection with his deceased parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) as he comes to terms with a budding relationship with the younger Harry (Paul Mescal). Childhood memories and sexual awakenings make for a complex fever dream that leaves Adam discovering more about himself and the isolated world he’s built. This all comes to a head through Scott’s Oscar-worthy performance and a heartbreaking ending.

Every Body

Making a splash at the 2023 Tribeca Festival, the documentary Every Body takes a step forward for intersex people whose voices have been silenced for decades. Alicia Roth Weigel, Sean Saifa Wall, and River Gallo were all born intersex, and as a result, their parents and doctors chose their gender for them at birth. Now, the three activists are fighting for their rights and the rights of all intersex people by telling their stories and fighting legislators to update archaic laws that affect the community. Directed by Julie Cohen, Every Body shines a light on the misconceptions that intersex people face and the three participants’ journey to tell their stories in an authentic way that will undoubtedly affect change.

Maestro

Leading the charge in 2023 for Oscar glory, Bradley Cooper’s biographical film about composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein might be a career-best performance for the Hollywood heartthrob. The film is a deep dive into Bernstein’s marriage to actress Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan) and the conflicts that arise when his extramarital affairs with young male musicians complicate their family dynamic. A tour de force for both lead performers, Maestro is a personal project for Cooper as he serves as lead actor, director, producer, and co-writer on the film. Taking a queer icon like Bernstein to the silver screen, Cooper gives meaning to the conductor’s professional accomplishments while never shying away from showing his personal battles.

Of an Age

Though Of an Age premiered in 2022 at the Melbourne International Film Festival, audiences outside Australia were finally treated to the 2000s-set film in 2023. Kol (Elias Anton) is a young ballroom dancer who embarks on a sexually charged fling with Adam (Thom Green), the brother of Kol’s dance partner (Hattie Hook). Grounded in early aughts nostalgia and interesting banter, the film jumps forward to a time when both men reconnect in a devastatingly authentic manner. Draped in a comedy-of-age trope that never feels forced, Of an Age takes a queer love story to a moving place filled with emotional performances and charismatic sexual energy.

Bottoms

Queer dramas might have taken over the box office in 2023, but director Emma Seligman took a new stance in crafting an unforgettable cult comedy in Bottoms. Starring Seligman’s co-writer Rachel Sennott as PJ and The Bear actor Ayo Edebiri as Josie, the film follows the two leads in their romantic pursuit of cheerleaders in their local high school. To accomplish this goal, PJ and Josie start a fight club mentored by their teacher (Marshawn Lynch), which eventually descends into chaos and stereotypical hijinks. Bottoms borrows themes from other high school-set flicks like American Pie and Not Another Teen Movie but rounds it out in a devilishly satirical fashion.

Knock at the Cabin

Horror master M. Night Shyamalan is known for twist endings and reflective work that has spanned 25 years of Hitchcockian surprises. His latest psychological horror film to hit movie theaters in 2023, Knock at the Cabin, takes a stab at the apocalypse from the perspective of a loving gay couple (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their young daughter. While vacationing in a remote Pennsylvania cabin, the family receives a knock on the door from a foursome of doomsdayers led by the menacing Leonard (Dave Bautista). Confusion about what is real or fake news, the young family must make a huge sacrifice to save the world from impending destruction. Knock at the Cabin blends themes of queer identity with end-of-the-world visions that heighten the tension leading to an unexpected conclusion.

Kokomo City

The trans community has seen bigotry and awful rhetoric thrown its way in recent years, so now might be the time for a powerful documentary about the trans experience to hit everyone’s radar. In 2023, D. Smith’s film Kokomo City detailed the journeys that four Black trans women embark on while exploring their jobs as sex workers in Georgia and New York. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival with a theatrical run in July 2023, the movie is one of the best-reviewed 2SLGBTQI+ documentaries in the modern age. It contains a heavy mix of alternative music to set the mood. Kokomo City is widely considered an awards season favorite by critics and could be nominated for Best Documentary Film at the 2024 Academy Awards.

Red, White & Royal Blue

What would the political firestorm be like today if the son of the President of the United States began a romance with the grandson of the King of England? Thus is the case of Red, White & Royal Blue, the film adaptation of the well-received 2019 novel of the same name by Casey McQuiston. American Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) falls in love with British Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), sparking controversy and a sexy affair between the former adversaries. The film also stars Uma Thurman, Sarah Shahi, and Stephen Fry, topped expectations in 2023, and lifted its young leads to queer icon status. Dripping with sexual tension and comedic pratfalls, Red, White & Royal Blue brings a fairy-tale romance to life while staying faithful to its source material.

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