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OutSmart’s Top Picks: 10 Underrated LGBTQ Movies to Watch

Keep yourself entertained with these must-see films.

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When staying safe means staying at home, we tend to turn to our TV screens and computer monitors to keep us company. But if you’re like us and have already run through all of the LGBTQ repertoires on your favorite streaming sites (or if you’re just looking for something new and unique to check out), then this list is for you. 

Whether your seeking comfort and escapism, or more queer representation to liven your day, you might just find your new favorite film among these severely underrated LGBTQ hidden gems.

Foreign Language:

Ma Vie En Rose (1997)

Enter the kaleidoscopic world of Ludovic, a young transgender girl whose family and peers struggle to accept the ways in which her boldness disrupts their normative, French suburbian life. Perfect for fans of The Danish Girl and Billy Elliot.

Classmates (2016)

This Japanese-language animated film tenderly captures the blossoming romance between two teenagers at an all-boys high school. Focusing more on the innocence and hopefulness of a first love, this film does not sexualize the young protagonists or leaves the fate of their relationship ambiguous. This is truly a one-of-a-kind romance film. Perfect for fans of Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name.


Drama/Romance: 

Edge of Seventeen (1998)

Set in 1984, this uplifting coming of age story borrows from classic John Hughes and John Waters films for a perfect mix of teen angst and campy comedy, with a generous dash of ‘80s pop culture references thrown in for good measure. Perfect for fans of Pretty in Pink and Hairspray (1988).

Shelter (2007)

What this film lacks in star-power and production budget, it more than makes up for with a wonderfully written love story full of surfing, found family dynamics, and supportive partnerships. Perfect for fans of Brokeback Mountain and Big Eden.

Rafiki (2018)

Undeniably revolutionary, this African lesbian drama doesn’t shy away from the full spectrum of both the beauty and pain of same-gender romances in a country where homosexuality is still criminalized. Perfect for fans of Moonlight and Desert Hearts.


Ensemble Dramedies:

The Intervention (2016)
Lesbian icon, Clea Duvall writes, directs, and stars in this incredibly funny and wildly honest film that explores relationship dynamics, addiction, and ultimately, what it means to care for somebody.  Additionally, fans of a certain 90s queer cult classic might recognize that Duvall reunites with her on-screen soulmate, Natasha Lyonne, to once again tug at all of our queer heartstrings. Perfect for fans of But I’m a Cheerleader and The Kids Are Alright.

Pride (2014)

Based on an incredible true story, Pride is equal parts funny, endearing, and heartbreakingly realistic. The film follows a group of 1980s British LGBTQ activists who team up with a conservative mining community to fight against their common oppressors. Perfect for fans of Rocketman and Milk.

3 Generations (2015)
Although this is by no means a perfect film (starting with the fact they cast a cisgender woman to play a transgender man), rarely do films successfully portray multigenerational LGBTQ families as more than just their identities, without also erasing them. This film manages to strike a balance between a conflict-driven plot and LGBTQ representation. Perfect for fans of The Birdcage and Grey Gardens.


Action/Horror:

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Charlize Theron’s performance as the bisexual double-agent, Lorraine Broughton, is absolutely magnetic in this action-packed, spy drama that is both violent and unpredictable until the very last minute. Perfect for fans of: Carol and the James Bond Franchise.

Thelma (2017)

Visually narrated with superb cinematography, this Carry-esque supernatural drama follows the titular Thelma as she struggles with attending a university, her growing feelings for another girl, and the unexplainable onset of paranormal abilities. Perfect for fans of Jennifer’s Body and Let The Right One In.

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Alys Garcia Carrera

Alys is a spring 2020 intern for OutSmart magazine and an international student who currently attends the University of Houston. They are majoring in Political Science and have three minors: GLBT studies, English/Spanish translation, and film studies. They also work for the University's Special Collections LGBTQ archives at M.D. Anderson Library.

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