Let’s Look Back At An Amazing Year In LGBTQ Film

The past year showcased various nuanced LGBTQ+ stories on screen. Harrowing accounts of queer heartbreak, poignant tales of trans grief, and chaotic, homoerotic oeuvres portraying fatal attractions put a myriad of nuanced feelings on display. The LGBTQ+ community is in an exciting era of cinema, defying the monolithic boxes of yesteryear. The zeitgeist of modern times would not be the same without these incredible queer stories. As such, we wanted to take a moment to call out some of the most captivating and inspiring films, documentaries, and performances timed perfectly to the time of year when people are often looking for a few helpful suggestions on which films to catch up on. So here they are, in alphabetical order.




Bottoms is the raunchy queer teen sex comedy we’ve needed for years, courtesy of Shiva Baby director Emma Seligman, who co-wrote the movie with star Rachel Sennott. Sennott plays PJ, an unpopular high school senior who, along with her best friend Josie (Ayo Edebiri), decides to start an all-girl fight club in order to try and get closer to their crushes. Josie and PJ are as desperate to get laid as the boys of, say, Superbad, but it’s refreshing to see queer experiences portrayed in such a way. The characters are messy, the jokes (and the girls in the fight club) don’t pull their punches, and Sennott and Edebiri are pitch-perfect. Bottoms is as chaotic as high school actually is and its youthful queer humor feels authentic, not like teenagers written by 40-year-olds. Everyone who enjoys teen comedies can find something to love in Bottoms, no matter their sexuality. – Danielle Ryan

Every Body

Every Body
Focus Features

While many people are finally coming around to the idea that gender isn’t a binary, there still seems to be a misconception that sex somehow is, ignoring the existence of intersex people. Three such individuals are at the center of director Julie Cohen’s Every Body, which combines interviews with its subjects with archival footage to create more complete portraits of these unique people and their experiences. Sean Saifa Wall, Alicia Roth Weigel, and River Gallo share deeply from their personal lives, giving audiences insight into a population that is far too often forgotten. Every Body is as emotionally compelling as it is educational, and it should be compulsory viewing for not just LGBTQ people, but all people. – Danielle Ryan

May December

may december movie

Continuing to expand in his coveted catalog of queer oeuvres, May December director Todd Haynes tells a captivating story about an actress named Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman) making the trek to Savannah, Georgia, where she is researching Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore), a woman known for her titular “May December” relationship with her husband (Charles Melton), whom she had met when he was 13 years old. Though many moments in the film aren’t overtly queer, Haynes displays moments of fixation and fascination that border on fluidity, creating an instant classic in the LGBTQ+ film zeitgeist. – Alex Gonzalez


Mutt Movie
Strand Releasing

There aren’t very many films about the transmasculine experience and fewer still that have the depth and heart of writer/director Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s feature debut, Mutt. Mutt follows a young trans man named Feña (Lío Mehiel) as he reunites with his Chilean father, runaway teen sister, and straight ex-boyfriend all within the course of 24 hours. While there is a lot of pain at the center of Feña’s experience as a trans man, we also get to see the joy and love, too. Moments that could otherwise be played for melodrama are pleasantly understated — when Feña is misgendered at a bank, he comments on it but the scene moves on, just as life does, for example. Mutt asks the audience to try to see the world through Feña’s eyes, and it does a phenomenal job of showing us what that’s like. – Danielle Ryan



Based on the incredible true story of Diana Nyad, Nyad features the swimmer played valiantly by Annette Bening detailing her efforts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Supporting Diana on her mission is best friend, Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster). Depicting the vitality of queer platonicism and chosen family, Nyad portrays the importance of community and how far our LGBTQ+ siblings can go with the right support system at hand. Nyad is a different type of hero story, but one that beautifully highlights one of several LGBTQ figures whose accomplishments often go unsung. – Alex Gonzalez



Offering a compelling commentary on social stratification, Saltburn is equal parts compelling as it is provocative. Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick revels in chaos as he fixates on Jacob Elordi’s Felix Catton, carrying out a skillful master plan to earn his place within the Catton family. Though the movie, at times, tends to get lost in its own tumult, watching the events unfold proves addictive, and even anxiety-inducing. Saltburn certainly offers no shortage of thrills and — as evidenced by that shocking bathtub scene — spills. – Alex Gonzalez


Ayo Edebiri in Theater Camp

Ayo in Theater Camp

2023 was the year of Ayo Edebiri. The multi-hyphenate blew up this year with fantastic performances in Bottoms, The Bear, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and Theater Camp. In Theater Camp, she plays Janet, a new camp counselor at the scrappy AdirondACTS theater camp. While the rest of the counselors fret about the camp potentially shutting down due to the camp’s owner being comatose, Janet just sort of wings it. She lies about everything from her qualifications to her lesson plans for campers, but there’s something charming about it because her lies feel so harmless, especially compared to the ridiculous selfishness of the two lead counselors, played by Molly Gordon and Ben Platt. The child actors run away with Theater Camp, but Edebiri is a breath of fresh air among the adults who helps keep the film funny and light. – Danielle Ryan

Colman Domingo in Rustin


Rustin is the true story of Martin Luther King’s advisor Baynard Rustin, whose contributions to the civil rights movement have sadly been downplayed over the years due to his being an openly gay man. Domingo stars as Rustin and completely disappears into the role, taking on the civil rights leader’s mannerisms and vocal inflections in a performance that feels both big and intimate at the same time. The film is careful not to lionize Rustin and Domingo’s nuanced performance adds to its even-handed approach to some of the potentially controversial aspects of his life. In the film, Rustin has a conversation with a friend about how Black (and gay) men must be perfect in order for society to accept them, and it’s refreshing to see that Rustin doesn’t force its heroes to be perfect, just human. Domingo’s performance is searing, full of passion and anger often forced to linger just behind the poor pacifist’s eyes. It’s not just one of the best performances in an LGBTQ film this year, but one of the best performances from this year, period. – Danielle Ryan

Taylor Zakhar Perez in Red, White, & Royal Blue

Red White And Royal Blue
Amazon Prime

Fans couldn’t help but fall in love with Alex Claremont Diaz in Red, White, & Royal Blue, played charmingly by Taylor Zakhar Perez. Embodying the nuance of the underrepresented bisexual Latino man, Perez made even the most cynical of viewers smile by way of Alex’s wit and humor, and cry during his coming out moment with his mother, president Ellen Claremont, played by Uma Thurman. Plus, we were all rooting for Alex during his British quest to reunite with Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) in a fight for love. – Alex Gonzalez

Trace Lysette in Monica

IFC Films

The secondhand emotion one feels from watching Monica is one of the most tangible products of queer cinema in cinema. In this heartbreaking redemption story, Trace Lysette plays the titular transwoman reuniting with her mother after years of estrangement. Capturing the feeling of queer loneliness and maintaining an air of mystery, Lysette carries a fresh story, bearing the burden of the heartache and pain she’s grappled with for years. – Alex Gonzalez