The 10 Best LGBTQ Movies of the 21st Century | Pride

Best LGBTQ+ Movies of All Time

Why is Lgbtq a movie genre? Coined in 1992 by Ruby Rich, the term signals a turning away from notions of negative stereotypes and positive images of gays and gayness in films, and a move towards cinematic explorations of the perverse and the deviant within the sexual domain; and/or celebrations of intertextuality, pastiche, irony, and irreverenc.

As LGBTQ news, flms and stories are further into the mainstream, but queer movies have dominated awards seasons and found commercial success in unlikely places.

Lydia Tár — played by “Carol” star and esteemed lesbian (adjacent?) icon Cate Blanchett — dominated the 2022 Oscars race and became a well-worn touchstone in the year’s critical film and cancel culture conversations. The summer before that, Billy Eichner and Nicholas Stoller made history with Universal Pictures’ “Bros,” among the first ever gay rom-coms funded by a major studio: an important victory — even if that film did go, uh, soft at the box office.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg on another banner year for queer film: at least one win in a hard-fought cultural movement, seemingly poised to face new challenges in the not-so-distant future.

New Queer Cinema was a major influence on the indie film boom of the ’90s, and set the bar high for the many LGBTQ films to follow. “Brokeback Mountain” turned Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger into cinema’s most famed gay cowboys, less than a year before John Cameron Mitchell shattered boundaries with the spectacularly provocative “Shortbus” in 2006. Across the near two decades since then, the “lesbian period romance” has become a vibrant (if easily and entertainingly mocked) subgenre, thanks to films like “The Handmaiden” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” And trans stars and creators have earned more recognition and opportunity than ever before — even if there’s a long, long way to go — with films like “Tangerine” earning widespread acclaim among indie film lovers.

No longer limited by minuscule budgets in every case as they once were, films with gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and otherwise queer stories have flourished in the first two decades of the 21st century. (Heck, even the latest Best Picture winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has all that zany hot dog dykery.) But there is something about the scrappy DIY aesthetic that will always be essentially queer, and with the far right political agenda in America attempting to push LGBTQ artists back into closets, the revolutionary core of queer cinema rages on.

The films below reflect a notable shift in the ambition and scope of contemporary queer films. While there may not be a new wave of queer filmmakers on par with the ’90s boom, in their place we got stories as complicated, sensual, soul-searching, and hilarious as the queer experience itself.

To kickoff 2023 Pride coverage, here are the 10 best LGBTQ films of the 21st century

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