It has become increasingly difficult to find a legitimately good gay movie nowadays. Sure, there are Oscar-bait pictures like Milk or Brokeback Mountain, but a quick look around the Netflix LGBT section will show that the movies offered to us are… a little below par. They tend to focus on muscular, shirtless men having sex with the occasional banter in-between that contributes to some sort of a plot. But do not fear, because there are gay-themed movies that do offer more than just eye candy.
There are movies that are obviously missing from this list, i.e. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, etc, but this post will focus on movies that are perhaps a bit less known.
Gayby: This 2012 movie was cute and simple, a breath of fresh air from the drama of films like Milk and Brokeback Mountain. It tells the story of two best friends, Jenn and Matt, who decide that they want to have a baby together, even though Matt is gay. However, things get complicated when Jenn finally gets pregnant but isn’t sure who the father is. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t take a lot of investment and will make you crack a smile.
Patrik 1.5: Goran and Sven are a gay couple living in Sweden who decide they want to adopt a child. After some complications, they successfully adopt a boy who they believe is 18 months old. When they meet their son, he is actually an 18 year-old homophobic boy that has a history of delinquency. This movie smartly captures the fears and complications of adopting while providing a genuine look at a relationship strained by a new child.
Mysterious Skin: Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Neil, a gay hustler drawn to the profession for the money and a possible sex addiction. Along the way, he meets Brian, a man who believes that Neil holds the key to his past. Brian thinks aliens abducted him when he was eight, and wants Neil to help him discover what really happened. Don’t be fooled, though. The movie is not about aliens, but about the effects of childhood trauma and how it can come back to haunt you as an adult.
Weekend: Russell and Glen meet one night at a bar and sleep together. Does it sound like a typical gay movie? Because it’s not. The two men end up spending the entire weekend together. However, Glen is leaving for the USA soon and doesn’t want to fall in love. It is an honest, extremely well acted and well-written story that shows how two people, within the span of two days, can become friends and lovers and redefine their beliefs in love.
Strapped: A male hustler (sensing a theme?) has an “appointment” with a man in his apartment building. On the way out, he gets lost in the maze of hallways. During his attempt to look for an exit, he meets a wide array of different men. Some seduce him, some he seduces, but he learns something different from each one of them. The audience gets the sense that, with each passing person, he has learned to desire more than just sex. It’s a low budget film that, though has a lot of sex, does not use sex just for the act, but as a tool for the nameless hustler to evolve.