Gay love stories are becoming more mainstream, thanks to Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight and more recently, Call My By Your Name, which is nominated this year for four Academy Awards including best picture. Unfortunately, many queer movies do not get the same treatment.
Here is a list of under-the-radar gems that includes crowd-pleasers, tearjerkers and more serious fares.
The 10 Year Plan
Written and directed by J.C. Calciano (the YouTube sketch comedy show Steam Room Stories), The 10 Year Plan is a low-budget romantic comedy that centers on Myles (played by Jack Turner, who has been in a handful of cheesy Hallmark movies) and Brody (Michael Adam Hamilton). Myles and Brody are two openly gay best friends who do not share the same values when it comes to their dating lives. Myles is a hopeless romantic looking for Mr. Right. Brody is a sexy player on the hunt for Mr. Right Now. They make a pact that they will be together if they both end up being single in 10 days. You will never guess what happens next!
Holding the Man
Based on Timothy Conigrave’s memoir, the hit Neil Armfield-directed drama Holding the Man tells the true-life love story of two teenage boys who fall in love at their all-boys high school in the 1970s and the obstacles they must face in the 15 years that followed. Fun fact: the movie was nominated for a bunch of AACTA Awards (Australia’s equivalent of the Oscars) in 2015.
This gorgeously shot movie, one of the best reviewed queer movies in recent years, was written and directed by Andrew Haigh, the creator of HBO’s drama series Looking. The plot of this drama revolves around a casual chance encounter between two gay men in a bar that turns into an intense and passionate relationship one week before one of them is leaving the country. This can’t-miss drama is wonderfully honest, realistic and visceral. Also, Tom Cullen is a total babe.
Directed by Malaysian-born and Austin-based filmmaker Yen Tan, Pit Stop tells the story of two men (Marcus DeAnda and Bill Heck) in rural Texas who begin a romantic relationship after a meet-cute in a local gas station. The acclaimed drama, similar in tone with Weekend, became quite a festival darling after its rousing debut at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Front Cover is about a gay New York fashion stylist who embarks on a whirlwind romance with a seemingly homophobic Chinese movie star. Directed by Raymond Yeung, the movie was praised for its rejection of Asian stereotypes around relationships and family.
Another Gay Movie
If you are in the mood for something lighter and sillier, Another Gay Movie is the gay answer to the 90s sex comedies, most notably American Pie. The plot of this movie revolves around four gay high school friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before enrolling in college. Keep an eye out for a cameo by popular British talk show host Graham Norton.
The BearCity trilogy is the biggest movie franchise you’ve probably never heard of. The movies follow a tight-knit group of New York bears and a slim guy who realizes that he his attracted to bigger, hairier men. The first movie became such a cult classic that its sequels attracted more established stars like Kathy Najimy (Hocos Pocus, Sister Act), Kevin Smith and Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls, Looking).
Beautiful Thing, the adaptation of Jonathan Harvey’s 1993 play, is a tender love story between two working-class teenagers, Jamie and Ste, whose self-discovery journey turns out to be less complicated than the lives of people around them. This British comedic drama was the breakout film of filmmaker Hettie Macdonald. She has since directed a handful of Doctor Who episodes, the BBC’s miniseries adaptation of Howards End, starring Hayley Atwell and Tracey Ullman, and the Amazon drama series Fortitude with Dennis Quaid.
This riveting drama tells the story of a married and soon-to-be-father police officer whose life starts falling apart when he gets involved in an affair with an openly gay colleague. This 2003 intimate German film stars Hanno Koffler and Max Riemelt, best known internationally for playing Wolfgang Bogdanow in the hit Netflix series Sense8.
The story of Shelter, who won the award of outstanding film at the 2009 GLAAD Media Awards, centers on a young man who falls in love with his best friend’s older brother. Jonah Markovitz, who now works as a production designer (most notably on The Diary of a Teenage Girl and the upcoming Mapplethorpe biopic, directed the movie.
Based on Brent Hartinger’s best-selling novel, Geography Club is a smart and hilarious account of teenagers as they discover their own sexual identities. The comedy boasts a likable cast that includes actor-singer Alex Newell (Glee), Meaghan Martin (10 Things I Hate About You, Awkward), SNL alum Ana Gasteyer and Nikki Blonsky, known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 musical Hairspray.
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy
The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy is the most star-studded gay movie you probably haven’t seen. The movie revolves around a group of gay friends in West Hollywood, played notably by Timothy Olyphant (the Emmy-nominated star of Justified), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Zach Braff (Garden State, TV’s Scrubs).Nia Long, Justin Theroux and Mary McCormack also star. The movie was written and directed by Greg Berlanti, the brain behind The CW’s most popular series like Arrow, Riverdale and Supergirl.