Happy Pride Month! As June comes to a close, we take this time to celebrate being ourselves and the journey our forefathers took in order to express ourselves the way we please. If you’re anything like me, you will be avoiding the parties with the loud music and high risk of falling into a pool and staying indoors with your pint of ice cream watching movies. But, why not make it a party? Invite your queer friends over to watch some of the most stellar LGBT films on Netflix. Here, you’ll find that I was not allowed to list Weekend for all of the entries nor write “What do you mean you haven’t watched Heartbeats yet?” fifteen times. Enjoy, be safe, and Happy Pride, everyone!
Weekend (2011) | Directed by Andrew Haigh
The thing you want to do at your Pride party is bum everyone the Hell out. Just kidding. Andrew Haigh’s lucid Weekend is far from a bummer, instead a gorgeous, textural, and intimate examination of the moments of vulnerability that truly transcend sexuality. The ideal queer film, it remains specific in its portrayal of the queer experience and universal in its depiction of love. Truly one of the most moving films to ever grace the screen and to ever appear on Netflix.
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) | Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
You should make pasta for your party, and make it divine and desirous. (Yes food can be desirous, have you not seen Julie and Julia?) Though it caused a ruckus at Cannes for its explicit sex scenes, it took home the Palme d’Or for stirring the jury’s hearts and minds. Yes, it has several problems, not least its sex scenes. But Abdellatif Kechiche’s film is far more complex than it gets credit for, not only for its layered relationship, but also its look at pedagogy, desire, and class.
Paris is Burning (1990) | Directed by Jennie Livingston
There will be music at your party and people will be Vogueing. Perhaps one of the most important documentaries ever made, Paris is Burning explores the New York ball culture, centering on queer people of color, often in drag, as its focus. It’s an astonishing, funny, and heartbreaking work that’s crucial to the queer narrative, particularly for its uncompromising look at a unique subset of the queer community.
Brokeback Mountain (2005) | Directed by Ang Lee
There will probably be someone cosplaying as a gay cowboy at your party, so I’ve been told. Ang Lee’s not-Best Picture winning film is most interesting when it follows the diverging paths of ranch hands Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) after their first encounters and after they fall for one another. The impact the secrecy has on their interior selves and their families is fascinating to watch, especially when that façade crumbles at certain points in the film. Lee, who has (perhaps inadvertently) contributed to New Queer Cinema, very delicately and very honestly paints this passionate romance that, once you see it, transcends the snarky moniker of “that gay cowboy movie”.
The Hours (2002) | Directed by Stephen Daldry
There will probably be discussions about Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore. One thing that director Stephen Daldry is not is subtle. But, while it doesn’t work for The Reader or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, his heavy handedness, maybe ironically, works for The Hours. With its swelling Phillip Glass score and evocative imagery, the melodramatic carpe diem story needs someone as ambitious as Daldry to bring a strange heavy handedness to a film that tells its story across three somewhat interconnecting lines, strung together by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. As separate stories, such melodrama isn’t needed, but together Daldry’s enthusiastic and emotional direction brings a peculiar weight and heft to the film.