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A guide to the new Queer Classics of movies

Here are the recent-ish queer films I think we'll be returning to for decades

Still image from Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Image credit: Camera Film

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Over the past century of cinema, there have been a lot of queer classics that have shaped not only queer cinema but also queer moviegoers. Documentaries like Paris is Burning, comedies like The Birdcage and But I'm a Cheerleader, dramas like Maurice, Happy Together, and Brokeback Mountain have all left their stamp on cinema history and queer culture. But what about the new classics?

While it may be early to make the call (who really knows what will last in the long run), here are the queer films from recent years that I think are going to (or at least should) stick around for a long time.

Moonlight

Still image of a young boy from Moonlight
Image credit: A24

Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is a special film, a quiet and poetic look into three seasons of one man's life. It's a movie which focuses on loneliness and fleeting moments of connection, and it's heartbreaking, though the movie movie isn't about heartbreak itself. Instead, Moonlight is about how our relationships impact our lives, and it tells its story with brilliant restraint and confidence.

Call Me By Your Name

Still image of Timothee Chalamet as Elio in Call Me By Your Name
Image credit: Sony Pictures

Possibly one of my favorite movies of all time, Luca Guadanigno's Call Me By Your Name follows Elio and Oliver, played by Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer, as they circle around each other before giving in to the kind of connection that will change their lives. An adaptation of Andre Aciman's novel of the same name, the film only tells the first part of the novel's story, though it feels complete in itself. It's a gorgeous, soaring movie and, like Moonlight, dedicated to the theme of human connection.

Flee

Still image of a man from animated documentary Flee
Image credit: Neon

Flee is a beautifully animated documentary about a man going by the alias of Amin, who shares his story of fleeing from Afghanistan to Denmark. It's an incredible story, and complicated in its many different facets about family, personal identity, and immigration. Flee won Best Feature at Annecy, garnered a ton of critics cricle awards, and earned three Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature Film.

Related: High energy LGBTQ+ movies for an energetic Pride

Plan B

Still image featuring two teenagers in Plan B
Image credit: Hulu

Plan B may not be on a lot of other critics' lists, but it should be. Directed by Natalie Morales and starring young actors Victoria Moroles and Kuhoo Verma as best friends Lupe and Sunny, the film is about two teens in a frantic and absolutely hilarious "it happened one night" style romp to find some Plan B in South Dakota. Yes, the film is topical, of course, but it's really about two young people figuring it out - which is what all coming of age movies should be.

The Half of It

Promotional image featuring three people from The Half of It
Image credit: Netflix

The Half of It follows the classic teen movie format of adapting a classic, swiping the general plot structure of Cyrano, as protagonist Ellie takes on the task of writing love letters, on the behalf of new friend Paul, to her crush Aster Flores. The movie is quiet and heartfelt and exactly what you want from a movie of this sort, tangling into the complications of teenagerdom, friendship, and growing up.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Still image from Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Image credit: Camera Film

Potrait of a Lady on Fire is a French historical film starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel as Marianne, a painter, and Héloïse, an aristocrat whos portrait she has been hired to paint. The film is intimate, painful at times, and absolutely beautifully done, leaving behind the kinds of images that will haunt you for years.

Tár

Still image of Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tar
Image credit: Universal

Now this may be the most controversial pick of the lot, but every list should have a Hot Take, and Lydia Tár being a monster doesn't diminish her standing as one of the most memorable queer protagonists in recent film history. Fight me.


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