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The 12 Best LGBT Romance Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

The 12 Best LGBT Romance Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

Welcome to an enchanting exploration of love, acceptance, and the vibrant spectrum of human connections in the best LGBT romance movies. Cinema’s portrayal of LGBTQ+ romances has undergone a transformative evolution, mirroring a societal shift toward greater inclusivity and understanding.

This genre showcases poignant narratives that celebrate love in all its forms, highlighting the beauty and complexity of diverse relationships. The best LGBT romance movies not only entertain but also resonate deeply, offering a window into the joys and challenges of LGBTQ+ love stories.

These films transcend stereotypes and bring to light the universal experiences of love, heartbreak, and triumph, while highlighting the unique struggles and joys faced by the LGBTQ+ community. From groundbreaking classics that laid the foundation for queer representation on screen to contemporary masterpieces that challenge norms and inspire change, we’ll explore a carefully curated selection of movies that have left an indelible mark on both the cinematic landscape and the hearts of audiences.

Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or are an ally, this collection of films offers a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of human love and provides a platform for understanding, empathy, and appreciation. Join us as we celebrate the most compelling and enriching LGBT romance movies that have touched hearts and broadened perspectives, reminding us all that love knows no boundaries.

LGBT Romance Movies

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apply TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Pride (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

Holding the Man (2015)

Holding the Man is a film directed by Neil Armfield, an Australian director recognized for his proficiency in both film and theater. Armfield has a notable career in directing, known for his contributions to various notable stage productions and his previous directorial ventures in film. His adeptness in capturing the complexities of human emotions and relationships is evident in his work, which lends itself well to the narrative of Holding the Man.

The film is an adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s memoir of the same name, recounting a poignant and enduring love story between two men, Timothy and John. Set in the backdrop of 1970s Australia, the plot navigates the challenges faced by the couple in a time when societal attitudes toward homosexuality were far less accepting. The narrative beautifully encapsulates their evolving relationship, from their school days and into adulthood, portraying the hurdles and triumphs they experienced.

The heart of the film lies in its portrayal of the romance between Timothy and John, presenting a raw and unapologetic depiction of love transcending societal norms and prejudice. It delves into the depths of the emotional journey, unveiling the strains and joys of their relationship while exploring themes of acceptance, loss, and enduring love.

Holding the Man is the perfect film for those seeking a profoundly moving cinematic experience that delves into the complexities of love and identity. The film’s sincerity in depicting the struggles and triumphs of an LGBT romance offers a touching narrative that will resonate with audiences, inviting empathy and understanding. It serves as a testament to the resilience of love in the face of adversity and stands as a powerful cinematic portrayal of an extraordinary love story.

My Beautiful Launderette (1985)

My Beautiful Laundrette is a critically acclaimed film directed by Stephen Frears, a prominent British filmmaker known for his versatility and skill in handling diverse cinematic genres. Frears has garnered recognition for his ability to weave compelling narratives and capture the nuances of human experiences in films such as Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and The Queen (2006). His direction in  My Beautiful Laundrette  showcases his adeptness in portraying complex social themes within the context of a drama.

The film unfolds in London during the 1980s and follows the story of Omar, a young Pakistani man living in a marginalized community. Facing societal and economic challenges, Omar finds an opportunity to revitalize his uncle’s rundown launderette.

In this endeavor, he partners with Johnny, an old acquaintance and former white supremacist, whose involvement with Omar rekindles their past romantic relationship. Their reconnection sparks a poignant exploration of love, identity, and societal prejudices, challenging the prevailing norms and taboos.

At its core,  My Beautiful Laundrette  delves into the LGBTQ+ romance between Omar and Johnny, navigating the intricacies of love amidst a backdrop of racial and cultural tensions. The film bravely addresses issues of race, sexuality, and social stratification, offering a compelling narrative that highlights the importance of love and acceptance in the face of adversity.

Recommended for its groundbreaking storytelling and fearless exploration of social issues,  My Beautiful Laundrette  stands as a timeless film that invites viewers to confront societal norms and biases. Frears’ adept direction coupled with the powerful performances of the cast make this film a must-watch, offering a thought-provoking glimpse into the complexities of love and cultural integration.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a 2019 film directed by Céline Sciamma, stands as a poignant masterpiece within her filmmaking career. Sciamma, a French director and screenwriter, has consistently explored themes of gender and sexuality in her works. Her directorial portfolio includes critically acclaimed films like Water Lilies (2007), Tomboy (2011), and Girlhood (2014), all of which exhibit a nuanced understanding of human relationships and societal constructs.

The film is set in 18th-century France, centering on the passionate affair between Marianne, a portrait artist, and Héloïse, an aristocrat. Hired to paint Héloïse’s portrait without her knowledge, Marianne observes her subject clandestinely, ultimately forging a profound bond that defies societal expectations.

The heart of the narrative lies in the blossoming romance between the two women, exploring the constraints of a patriarchal society and the forbidden desires that bind them. The film not only delves into the complexities of love but also contemplates the essence of autonomy and agency in relationships.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a compelling piece of cinema, capturing the subtleties of human emotion and societal conventions. The meticulous cinematography and the powerful performances of the lead actors propel the film’s narrative with a raw, authentic energy. The portrayal of the LGBT romance is sensitive and genuine, shedding light on the struggles and passion of queer love.

For anyone seeking a film that beautifully articulates the intricacies of love, desire, and societal expectations,  Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a must-watch. It offers a glimpse into a love story that transcends the boundaries of time and societal constraints, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

Happy Together (1997)

Wong Kar-wai, a prominent Hong Kong filmmaker, directed Happy Together. Known for his visually captivating films and exploration of themes like love, loneliness, and time, Wong has gained international acclaim. He often employs unique narrative structures and uses vibrant visuals to tell emotionally resonant stories.

Happy Together centers on the tumultuous relationship between two men, Ho Po-wing and Lai Yiu-fai, played by Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung respectively. The narrative unfolds as they venture from Hong Kong to Argentina, seeking a fresh start. The film delves into the complexities of their love, navigating themes of desire, longing, and the challenges inherent in relationships.

At its core, Happy Together explores an intimate same-sex relationship, shedding light on the LGBTQ+ experience and the emotional intricacies that accompany it. The film is a poignant representation of love’s highs and lows, underscoring the universality of human emotions regardless of sexual orientation.

Happy Together is a must-watch for those seeking a thought-provoking and visually stunning film. It offers a unique perspective on love and relationships while celebrating the human experience. The film’s compelling narrative and arresting visuals make it a standout in Wong Kar-wai’s illustrious filmography.

Beautiful Thing (1996)

Beautiful Thing is a film directed by Hettie MacDonald, a British filmmaker recognized for her impactful contributions to television and cinema. MacDonald’s career showcases a keen focus on human stories and societal themes, often delving into the lives of marginalized individuals.

The film revolves around the lives of two young men, Jamie and Ste, residing in a London housing estate. The plot unfolds as their friendship evolves into a tender romantic relationship. Set against a backdrop of working-class struggles, family dynamics, and societal prejudices, Beautiful Thing portrays their journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and love.

Beautiful Thing offers a poignant exploration of love, identity, and acceptance. It invites the audience to empathize with the characters’ experiences, promoting a broader understanding of the LGBT community and their battles against societal prejudices. The performances, direction, and screenplay contribute to the film’s enduring impact.

For those seeking a moving narrative that challenges stereotypes and encourages compassion, Beautiful Thing is a compelling watch. The film’s heartfelt portrayal of love’s triumph over adversity and the authenticity in its storytelling make it a must-see, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

All About E (2015)

All About E is a film directed by Louise Wadley, an Australian filmmaker known for her unique storytelling and dedication to exploring diverse themes. Wadley’s career in the film industry has been characterized by a commitment to portraying the LGBTQ+ community in a genuine and relatable light. Her works often delve into complex relationships and personal journeys, emphasizing the human experience.

The plot of All About E  follows the life of E, a skilled DJ in Sydney whose life takes a turn when she inadvertently becomes entangled in a criminal underworld. As she grapples with her newfound circumstances, E embarks on a journey of self-discovery, love, and acceptance, finding solace and understanding in unexpected places. The film beautifully captures the struggles and triumphs of E as she navigates her identity and relationships.

At the heart of the film lies an LGBT romance that unfolds intricately, shedding light on the challenges and joys experienced by individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. The portrayal of the central relationship is honest and heartfelt, showcasing the depth of emotion and connection that transcends societal norms.

All About E  is great for audiences seeking a thought-provoking narrative that explores love, identity, and self-acceptance. The film’s engaging storytelling, memorable characters, and the exploration of LGBTQ+ themes make it a compelling watch. Louise Wadley’s direction and the performances of the cast ensure a moving cinematic experience that lingers, inviting viewers to reflect on the intricacies of human relationships and the power of embracing one’s true self.

Viva (2015)

Viva is a film directed by Paddy Breathnach, an Irish filmmaker recognized for his sensitive and impactful storytelling. Breathnach began his career with documentaries and short films before transitioning to feature films. His distinct narrative style often delves into societal issues and human emotions.

The plot of Viva revolves around Jesús, a young Cuban hairdresser who dreams of performing as a drag queen at a local nightclub. Living in the vibrant but harsh world of Havana, Jesús grapples with his desires and identity, particularly in relation to his estranged father, who unexpectedly returns to his life. Their complex relationship and the challenges of self-discovery form the crux of the storyline.

At the heart of the narrative is a compelling LGBT romance that unfolds as Jesús finds love and support amidst the societal prejudices and familial conflicts. The film beautifully portrays the struggle for acceptance and authenticity, highlighting the power of love to transcend societal boundaries and personal inhibitions.

Viva is a must-watch for its compelling storytelling, outstanding performances, and its poignant exploration of identity and love. The film offers a glimpse into a world where authenticity and self-expression triumph over adversity, leaving the viewer with a profound sense of empathy and understanding.

Its exploration of the LGBTQ+ experience is both touching and enlightening, making it an enriching cinematic experience for a diverse audience. For anyone seeking a film that intertwines human emotion, self-discovery, and societal acceptance, Viva is a compelling choice.

Beginners (2010)

Beginners is a film directed by Mike Mills, known for his unique storytelling and insightful exploration of complex human emotions. Mills, an accomplished graphic designer and director, has a penchant for delving into personal and often autobiographical themes in his works. His films are characterized by their intimate portrayal of characters and their emotional journeys.

The film centers on the life of Oliver Fields, played by Ewan McGregor, who grapples with the recent loss of his father, Hal, portrayed by Christopher Plummer. Hal’s revelation of his homosexuality after the passing of his wife, coupled with Oliver’s struggles to navigate his own relationships, forms the crux of the narrative. The movie beautifully interweaves past and present, showcasing Oliver’s memories of his parents alongside his present-day experiences.

A significant aspect of the film is the exploration of the LGBT romance between Hal and Andy, a much younger man. Their love story challenges societal norms and expectations, presenting a heartwarming and sincere portrayal of late-in-life love. The film tenderly portrays their relationship and the hurdles they face, conveying a message of acceptance and the enduring nature of love.

Beginners is a compelling film that offers a unique blend of emotion, humor, and insight. The raw and honest performances, coupled with the innovative storytelling, make it a standout piece in contemporary cinema. The exploration of the LGBT romance, in particular, adds depth and relevance to the narrative, encouraging a broader understanding of human relationships. Viewers seeking a heartfelt and thought-provoking cinematic experience will find Beginners a captivating choice worth watching.

Saving Face (2004)

Saving Face is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Alice Wu, a notable figure in the world of cinema. Wu, a Chinese-American filmmaker, made her debut with this film, showcasing her talent and understanding of complex human emotions. Prior to her foray into filmmaking, Wu worked in the tech industry, and her transition to directing was marked by a passion for storytelling.

The film follows the story of Wilhelmina Pang, a young Chinese-American surgeon, played by Michelle Krusiec, who grapples with her sexual identity and cultural expectations within her conservative community. When her mother, played by Joan Chen, becomes pregnant out of wedlock, the two navigate their challenges together, finding love and acceptance amidst societal pressures.

At its core, Saving Face explores themes of family, tradition, and self-discovery, notably in the context of the LGBT experience. The film delves into the complexities of the immigrant experience, shedding light on the clash between tradition and individual desires.

The depiction of a lesbian romance in a conservative Chinese-American community is a central aspect of the film, portraying the challenges and triumphs faced by the characters as they embrace their identities and pursue love despite societal expectations.

This film is a must-watch for its touching narrative, powerful performances, and insightful exploration of cultural and sexual identities. Saving Face is a heartfelt portrayal of the human struggle for acceptance and love, offering a poignant message of hope and understanding.

It resonates with anyone who has faced the challenge of being true to themselves while navigating the expectations of their culture and family. Watch it to witness a compelling and uplifting story that will leave a lasting impact.

Transamerica (2005)

Transamerica is a film directed by Duncan Tucker, marking his feature film debut. Tucker began his career in the film industry as a screenwriter and director of short films. His transition to a full-length feature film director with Transamerica showcased his ability to sensitively handle complex narratives.

The film follows the journey of Bree, played by Felicity Huffman, a pre-operative transgender woman who unexpectedly discovers she has a son named Toby, portrayed by Kevin Zegers. Bree is forced to confront her past and the responsibilities of parenthood as she embarks on a road trip with Toby, who is unaware of her identity. The plot unfolds as they traverse the American landscape, navigating the challenges of their newfound relationship and Bree’s imminent gender confirmation surgery.

An important aspect of Transamerica is the portrayal of an LGBT romance. Bree’s encounters with various characters, including her son Toby and other individuals she meets during the journey, shed light on the complexities of gender identity and acceptance. The film provides a candid and thought-provoking exploration of transgender experiences, making it a significant contribution to LGBTQ+ cinema.

Transamerica is a must-watch for its powerful storytelling, insightful character development, and remarkable performances. Felicity Huffman’s portrayal of Bree earned her critical acclaim and accolades, including a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. The film invites viewers to reflect on acceptance, family dynamics, and the courage to embrace one’s true self, making it a compelling and moving cinematic experience.

Freeheld (2015)

Freeheld is a film directed by Peter Sollett, known for his adeptness in bringing poignant human stories to the screen. Sollett first gained recognition with his 2002 film Raising Victor Vargas, and later showcased his skill in character-driven narratives with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008). In Freeheld, Sollett tackles a deeply affecting and powerful story that explores themes of love, justice, and equality.

The plot centers on Laurel Hester (played by Julianne Moore), a New Jersey police officer diagnosed with terminal cancer. Laurel’s battle for justice unfolds when she seeks to transfer her pension benefits to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (played by Ellen Page). However, their request is met with resistance and discrimination due to their same-sex relationship. With the help of a tenacious activist named Steven Goldstein (played by Steve Carell), they embark on a legal fight for equality.

At the heart of the film is the touching and authentic portrayal of Laurel and Stacie’s relationship, showcasing the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in their struggle for equal rights and acceptance. The film sheds light on the systemic prejudice and the need for legal reform, offering a compelling narrative that tugs at the heartstrings.

Freeheld is a must-watch for its powerful performances, emotionally charged storyline, and the profound message it conveys about the importance of love, justice, and equality for all. It serves as a reminder of the progress society has made in recognizing and acknowledging the rights of the LGBTQ+ community while urging us to continue advocating for a more inclusive and compassionate world.

Appropriate Behavior (2014)

Appropriate Behavior, a film directed by Desiree Akhavan, showcases her unique storytelling approach and insight into complex human emotions. Akhavan, an Iranian-American filmmaker, gained recognition for her witty and poignant narratives that often center around the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.

The film follows the journey of Shirin, a young bisexual woman played by Akhavan herself, navigating the challenges of identity, cultural expectations, and heartbreak in contemporary Brooklyn. Shirin grapples with her bisexuality while trying to please her conservative Iranian family, presenting a dynamic exploration of cultural clash and self-acceptance.

The film’s narrative unfolds through non-linear storytelling, interweaving moments from Shirin’s past and present, painting a vivid picture of her struggles and triumphs.

At its core, Appropriate Behavior is a tale of love and loss, highlighting Shirin’s romantic entanglements, particularly her relationship with her ex-girlfriend Maxine. The film portrays the emotional intricacies of a same-sex relationship with a raw and honest lens, offering a glimpse into the joys and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in society.

Viewers should consider watching Appropriate Behavior for its candid exploration of identity, cultural diversity, and the complexities of love. Akhavan’s sharp wit and skillful direction bring a refreshing perspective to the coming-of-age genre, providing a narrative that resonates with authenticity.

The film encourages viewers to reflect on the nuances of personal identity and the importance of embracing one’s true self amidst societal expectations. Ultimately, Appropriate Behavior stands as an engaging and thought-provoking cinematic experience, worth every moment of the viewer’s time.