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Queer Films for LBGT History Month

In honor of LGBT history month, here is a list of some LGBT films to watch. The Schis, at the request of Mr Morley, has given a rating out of ten to each of the films. Ratings are based on personal enjoyment, not objective quality.

Saving Face (2004)

Saving Face: Alice Wu’s 2004 feature debut tells the story of a young lesbian, Wil, and her pregnant mother, Hwei-lan who has been kicked out of her own parents house. Wil must figure out a way to navigate her new relationship with a beautiful dancer and her mother, who will not share who the father of her baby is. This heartwarming and deeply human lesbian romantic comedy is one of the coziest movies of the early 2000s. The Schis gives it an 8/10. Rated R for some sexuality and language.

But I'm A Cheerleader (1999)

But I’m A Cheerleader: When Megan’s parents begin to suspect her of being a lesbian, they decide to send her to True Directions, a conversion camp for gay teens. Megan spends her time at True Directions denying the accusations that she is a lesbian until she meets Graham, another True Directioner who she starts to fall for. Initially a failure in critics eyes, But I’m A Cheerleader has become a cult classic and a queer staple. Its bizarre humor and emotional heart make for one of the most unique satires of the 90s. The Schis gives it a 9/10. Rated R for strong language and sexual content involving teens.

Nowhere (1997)

Nowhere: Director Gregg Araki is credited with being one of the leading filmmakers of the New Queer Cinema wave which began in the 90s. The edgy gay insanity of his films highlight a kind of queer angst that was previously never seen before in film. Nowhere could be considered Araki’s magnum opus. The film looks at a night in the lives of a group of queer teenagers in Los Angeles. As it is the epitome of the director’s style it crams as much sex, bizarre dialogue, violence, and space lizards as it can into its short 83 minute runtime. Soundtracked by some of the best shoegaze and punk music of the era, Nowhere is a time capsule full of teenage rage and odd aesthetics. The Schis gives it a 10/10. Rated R for scenes of strong violence, sexuality, and drug use involving teens, and for strong language.

Desert Hearts (1985)

Desert Hearts: When Vivian travels to Reno to finalize her divorce, she becomes seduced by a younger woman who lives on the ranch she stays on. A lesbian romance this sweet and sympathetic was revolutionary for 1985, and it still holds up today. Don your cowboy hats for this beautiful love story and its emotional ride through Nevada. The Schis gives it a 7/10. Rated R for sexuality.

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Two drag queens and a trans woman travel across Australia for an Abba based drag show in a shabby bus they dubbed Priscilla. Unexpectedly emotional and heartfelt, this frilly jukebox musical takes audiences for an entertaining journey through the desert. The Schis gives it a 7/10. Rated R for sex-related situations and language.

I Killed My Mother (2009)

I Killed My Mother (J'ai tué ma mère): At the age of nineteen, Xavier Dolan wrote, directed, and starred in his debut film, I Killed My Mother. In this French-Canadian film, a gay teenage boy struggles through his relationship with his mom. This moving family drama about double lives, lies and emotional struggle takes an earnest look at the relationship between a queer teen and his mother. The Schis gives it a 10/10. This film does not have an MPA rating.

D.E.B.S. (2004)

D.E.B.S.: The D.E.B.S. (Discipline, Energy, Beauty, Strength) are a female undercover spy organization whose evil rival Lucy Diamond has just come back into prominence. The teenage team’s plans to defeat Diamond go awry when one of their own falls in love with her. This delightfully goofy box office bomb is one of the best (and only) of the lesbian spy genre. The Schis gives it a 7/10. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

My Own Private Idaho: River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star as two street hustlers in queer director Gus Van Sant’s 1991 film My Own Private Idaho. Mike (Phoenix) is a queer hustler suffering from narcolepsy. With the help of another hustler Scott (Reeves), who has not yet come into his large inheritance, the two travel cross country searching for Mike’s estranged mother. Gus Van Sant creates a beautifully hopeless film that gracefully combines realism and surrealism. Long poetic soliloquies combined with harsh, authentic themes and imagery create the odd masterpiece that is My Own Private Idaho. The Schis gives it a 10/10. Rated R for strong sensuality, language, and drug use.

Shiva Baby (2020)

Shiva Baby: Danielle comes face to face with both her sugar daddy and ex-girlfriend at a Jewish funeral service in one of the most anxiety-inducing dramedies of the last few years. Shiva Baby’s flawed, frustrating, and strangely relatable protagonist played by rising star Rachel Sennott carries this cleverly distressing film. The Schis gives it a 7/10. This film has not been rated by the MPA.

Bottoms (2023)

Bottoms: A pair of friends start a fight club at their school with the hope that it will get them laid by a pair of hot cheerleaders. Ridiculously hilarious and somewhat surreal, Bottoms creates a wonderful world for the “gay, ugly, and untalented”. It’s an idiosyncratic high school satire with a ton of amazing needle drops and even more laughs. The Schis gives it a 10/10. Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, and some violence.

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