Even without the 12 LGBTQ-themed films dropping this fall in time for awards season, 2018 would have gone down as one of the most important for representation on the big screen with nearly 40 queer-themed films getting a theatrical release. Already this year, the LGBTQ slate of films has included quiet indies and festival favorites like Becks and Duck Butter, the crowd-pleasing coming-out story Love, Simon, the prestige love story (with the oh-so-discussed sex scene) Disobedience, the revenge fantasy starring a trans actress in a trans role Assassination Nation, and the delicious documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, about the bisexual man who helped queer movie stars get it on back in the day.
But with the ramp-up to the Academy Awards, there’s another slate of heavy hitters (and smaller LGBTQ-themed films) due for release in theaters this fall. Audiences who have yet to see Colette, the biopic about the famed bisexual French writer (played by Keira Knightley), should run to the theaters. If that’s not enough to whet the appetites of Oscar voters, the anti-"conversion therapy" film Boy Erased (Starring Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, and Russell Crowe) lands in theaters this November. But there's more! This movie season will also bring the big-screen releases of Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite, the super-queer satire about sexual politics in Queen Anne’s court, to name just a few.
Mark your calendars and make room for popcorn. Here is the full list of LGBTQ-themed movies currently playing or yet to come this year.
Rule-busting bisexual writer Colette gets the attention she deserves in the new film from out director Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice). Keira Knightley steps into the title role in Colette as the woman behind the Claudine novels who enthralled Belle Époque -era Paris — even if her husband, Willy (played by Dominic West), took all of the credit. Colette was brash, sexy, and way ahead of her time, and her early novels, written under Willy’s name, depicted a young woman’s sexual awakening with kink and verve.
The biopic begins with Colette’s marriage to Willy, her move to Paris from the country, and her rise as a star of any salon she attended. Westmoreland’s film also follows Colette's sexual awakening as she proclaims and acts on her attraction to other women. Eventually, she and her husband embark on a polyamorous relationship, during which she takes female lovers.
Colette finally settles on one lover in particular, the wealthy Missy (Denise Gough), who dresses in men’s clothes and uses male pronouns.
But beyond portraying Colette’s lively personal life, the film is also a feminist treatise. Not only did Willy take credit for a woman’s work, but he said he had to because a woman's work wouldn't sell — a familiar refrain even today.
The star of ’80s art-house films like Another Country and Dance With a Stranger, Rupert Everett came out at a time when there weren’t many openly gay actors. He went on to become the gay sidekick in My Best Friend’s Wedding and in real life with his friend Madonna. But The Happy Prince is the culmination of a years-long passion project for Everett, who wrote, directed, and stars in the film about the final, decidedly not very happy, years of Oscar Wilde’s life. The Happy Prince focuses on the time after the scribe fell from grace as the toast of London with hits like The Importance of Being Earnest. It picks up after Wilde is released from prison after serving two years of hard labor for indecency and sodomy. Everett’s Wilde is penniless and torn between attempting to make amends with his wife, Constance (Emily Watson), and young sons, and his continued desire for his wealthy young lover. Alfred "Bosie" Douglas (Colin Morgan), the relationship with whom landed him in prison in the first place. Everett’s Another Country costar Colin Firth plays his friend Reggie while newcomer Edwin Thomas plays Robbie Ross, the young man who cares for and exhibits unrequited love for Wilde during his final days.
Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller helms the biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me? about Lee Israel, the Tallulah Bankhead and Estée Lauder biographer and lesbian who began forging letters from famous writers to make ends meet in the 1990s. Melissa McCarthy embodies the curmudgeonly cat lover Israel, who eschews love and kindness, save for her friendship with gay scammer Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) as he becomes Israel’s partner in crime. Nicole Holofcener, director and writer of acerbic modern favorites including Lovely and Amazing and Friends With Money, wrote the screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Jane Curtin, Ben Falcone, Stephen Spinella, Dolly Wells, and Anna Deavere Smith costar.
To say that gay director Patrick Wang’s nonlinear, self-reflexive A Bread Factory is an “ambitious” project would be a major understatement about the work, which is actually two two-hour films about an art space on the brink of losing financing. Tyne Daly and Elisabeth Henry play a couple in Wang’s opus, which The New York Times billed as “part drama, part comedy, and part musical.” Wang has also directed In the Family and The Grief of Others. A Bread Factory costars Janeane Garafalo, Jessica Pimentel (Orange Is the New Black), Glynnis O’Connor, and James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Director Yen Tan’s 1985 examines the impact of the AIDS epidemic on young gay men in terms of coming out during an era of untold grief. Cory Michael Smith plays Adrian, a gay man who struggles with coming out to his conservative parents (Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis) over the holidays in 1985, when AIDS was felling gay men like wildfire. Jamie Chung costars.
Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek embodies cultural icon and Queen front man Freddie Mercury in the long-awaited biopic on which director Bryan Singer’s name is still attached, despite his being fired for not showing up on set. The film traces Mercury’s rise to fame with Queen that includes recording their megahit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The movie's first trailer glossed over Mercury’s bisexuality and his death from AIDS, but subsequent promos telegraph that the film intends to tell Mercury’s story in full. Tom Hollander, Lucy Boynton, Mike Myers, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, and Ben Hardy costar.
The second film tackling the harmful practice of conversion therapy to be released in theaters this year (the first was The Miseducation of Cameron Post), Boy Erased is adapted from Garrard Conley’s devastating memoir about his time in one of the country’s biggest conversion therapy programs. Lucas Hedges stars as Conley, whose evangelical parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe) send him into the abusive program with the hopes of curing his homosexuality. Actor-director Joel Edgerton helmed the project, which he wrote with Conley. The movie costars out actors Cherry Jones, Troye Sivan, and Xavier Dolan.
Emmy winner Claire Foy is the third actress to step into badass bisexual Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander’s leather boots and jacket (following Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara). The first film based on a Salander story written after author Stieg Larsson’s untimely death, The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the perfect revenge tale to hold toxic men accountable in the #MeToo era. This time, Salander is haunted literally and figuratively by the first woman she failed to save from a horrific man. Fede Alvarez directs the cast, which includes Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Merchant, Vicky Krieps, and Sverrir Gudnason.
New Queer Cinema director Steve McLean (Postcards From America) is back after two decades with a film that blurs the lines of appreciation for the male form and classical art. Beach Rats star Harris Dickinson plays Jim, a young gay man who becomes a “rent boy” and a muse in London in McLean's lush, stylistic film. Jonah Hauer-King, Alessandro Cimadamore, Leonardo Salerni, and Raphael Desprez costar.
Anchor and Hope’s modern family features Oona Chaplin and Natalie Tena as Eva and Kat, a free-spirited couple living on a boat who engage the help of a male friend, Roger (David Verdaguer), to have a baby. When it comes out that the three intend to raise the child together, Eva’s mother, played by the legendary Geraldine Chaplin, weighs in. Carlos Marques-Marcet, who directed the festival favorite 10,000 km, helmed the film from a script he wrote with Jules Nurrish.
Winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s Girl is not without its problems. By many accounts, the film is a sensitive and moving portrait of a young ballerina coming out as transgender, but the film stars a cisgender actor in a trans role, which is just, simply, not done anymore. The actor who plays 15-year-old ballerina Lara, Victor Polster, reportedly turns in a pristine performance. Still, as evidenced by the backlash against Scarlett Johansson’s being cast as a trans man in Rub & Tug (which she eventually dropped out of), it’s bad form to cast cis actors in trans roles. Girl was in the works well before the controversy over Johansson, but this factor could affect response to the film at the box office.
The latest — and most accessible — film from Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) is a wild, queer romp through the 18th-century court of the sickly, often childlike Queen Anne of England. The film reunites Lanthimos's Lobster stars Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, next up on The Crown) and Rachel Weisz (Disobedience) as Queen Anne and her confidante or “favourite,” Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough. Anne and Sarah happily engage in wicked role-playing that borders on sadomasochism until Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) — a lady who's fallen from grace and will stop at nothing to regain her position— arrives at court. Soon the rivalry between Sarah and Abigail is in full bloom and the women play at politics, sexual and otherwise, to garner the queen’s attention in what will go down as one of the queerest films about women of the year. The film is ultimately a love story between Anne and Sarah. But even the men — in their wigs and ruffled sleeves, with their powdered faces adorned with moles as they stomp around in chunky heels arguing over issues of state — lend an overall air of camp to the delicious satire that often employs a fish-eye type of lens to signal the audience that despite the costumes (by Carol’s Sandy Powell), The Favourite is not your mother’s period piece.