10 must-see films for girls who like girls
Grab some popcorn and check out Emily Bashforth's fave flicks
Action films, thrillers, horrors, rom coms… they’re all great but the big Hollywood blockbusters often lack in LGBTQ+ representation. Even romance movies tend to all follow the same heterosexual narrative. When the LGBTQ+ community is depicted on the big screen, representations can be very stereotypical, narrow-minded and damaging. The world’s greatest directors just don’t seem to know how to feed our queer little hearts properly!
Fortunately though, smaller film production companies make some beautiful LGBTQ+ movies which represent the community fairly and as valid members of society. Lesbians and bi women are frequently disregarded in most forms of media, and I know how upsetting that can be, which is why I’ve compiled a list of ten lesbian films you need to watch.
1. The Girl King (2015)
The Girl King is a biographical film about Christina, Queen of Sweden, who was instated as a monarch at the tender age of six in the 1600s. Directed by Mika Kaurismäki, this captivating film depicts the queen’s fight against conservative forces who are unwilling to support her attempt to modernise the country and advocate for peace. It tells of her battle against those who are not tolerant of her sexuality and, above all, is just a really female-empowering film about a woman taking back control from those who think they know what is best for her. The incredible acting in The Girl King is guaranteed to touch your heart.
2. Lovesong (2016)
The Hollywood Reporter described Lovesong as “a delicate heartbreaker about friendship desire.” This beautiful movie about self-discovery explores the magical connection between two people and, whilst it’s a frustratingly slow burner, once it burns, it’s flaming hot. The film follows Sarah and Mindy as they embark upon an unplanned road trip which creates a more intimate bond between the pair. You are bound to relate to these characters’ love and pain in this solidly written, beautifully produced piece of cinema. If you like subtle films with ambiguous endings which leave you wanting more, this one is for you.
3. Pariah (2011)
This is a coming-of-age film centring around a young woman of colour, a minority group who experience substantial discrimination in the film industry. This modern lesbian film tells the story of a Brooklyn teenager who longs for sexual expression and risks friendship and family in order to discovery her identity. Adepero Oduye delivers a faultless, moving performance and the film, directed by Dee Rees, is bound to give young girls trying to juggle conflicting identities something to relate to.
4. First Girl I Loved (2016)
First Girl I Loved tells the story of 17-year-old, introverted Anne who falls in love with the most popular girl at school, Sasha, and confides in her best friend, Clifton, about it. Clifton has always harboured a secret crush on Anne and so stops at nothing to get in the way of the two girls’ relationship. This is another relatable film for young girls battling with their sexuality. It’s raw, it’s real and so eloquently portrays the distress caused by “forbidden” relationships. This heart rendering and complex film spreads a universal message that nothing can be that bad and encourages self-acceptance.
5. A Perfect Ending (2012)
In A Perfect Ending, after beginning to feel an emotional emptiness in her marriage, Rebecca is set up with a highly-priced escort, named Paris, by her lesbian friends. After a series of rendezvous, Rebecca warms up to Paris’ advances and ends up fulfilling her desires of being with a woman. The two connect and start revealing their stories to one another with honesty and compassion. This is a story of many twists and turns and what begins as quite a comedic film ends up a uniquely erotic journey as viewers join Rebecca on her mission to find herself. Despite often being humorous, A Perfect Ending is, ultimately, very human.
6. I Can’t Think Straight (2008)
In this 2008 masterpiece, a Palestinian woman’s world is turned upside down when she falls for an Indian woman whilst planning her arranged marriage to a man. This fascinating film combines the issues of sexuality and middle eastern faith and culture and portrays the struggles women of faith must combat when coming out to their families. I Can’t Think Straight is light-hearted yet portrays the chemistry between the two protagonists in a phenomenal way and offers a unique perspective on things.
7. Reaching For The Moon (2013)
Reaching For The Moon tells the true story of American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares and the complicated love affair between the two creative souls. This gorgeous romance follows Elizabeth Bishop as she leaves America to live and write in Rio de Janiero, where she unexpectedly falls in love with affluent architect Lota de Macedo Soares, and begins to search for inspiration, in any form. In this intelligent, deeply moving movie, Glória Pires and Miranda Otto deliver outstanding performances which highlight the difficulty of being gay in the 1950s.
8. The World Unseen (2017)
This drama centres around two women who engage in a dangerous relationship during the South African apartheid. The World Unseen explores the courage of two women who long to express themselves in an oppressive society. This award-winning film isn’t clichéd nor cheesy, but rather a beautiful depiction of love and the tenacity one must have to live life as the most authentic version of yourself in a world which wants you to do anything but.
9. The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love (1995)
This warm romantic comedy follows two girls of very different social backgrounds as they embark on a journey of love whilst dealing with the struggles that come with every new romance. This film is, quite frankly, adorable and filled with funny moments sure to make any viewer feel all cosy inside. The chemistry between tomboy Randy and popular girl Evie is infectious as their friendship blossoms into something magical and the director does a great job of shining a light on different types of queer women, such as girls of different races and economic status. It’s a feel-good film from start to finish.
10. Carol (2015)
Carol is a heartfelt love story between an aspiring photographer, Therese, and an older woman, Carol, whom Therese spots in a department store in Manhattan. The two quickly develop an intimate relationship which comes with intense consequences. Set in the 1950s, this romance classic explores lesbianism at a time when homosexuality was deeply frowned upon and the struggles women faced when trying to remain in contact with their lover. Carol takes time to carefully construct the characters to help viewers form connections with them and is, overall, visually stunning, with impeccable costumes and make-up. A beautiful film which will leave you either smiling or crying.
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