Everyone agrees a set of movies exists that are must-sees for any LGBT viewer. We just don't agree on which ones.
Dare ask a gay man for his list, and he's likely to rattle off a few that come to mind quickly and then make amendments to it for the rest of your adult lives. Women don't start with the same list. Some movies are incredibly impactful on depictions of trans people or those living with HIV, or mark major firsts in film. Some are too campy to ignore (at least not if you want to keep up at brunch). The bottom line is there are legions of reasons why a movie could be considered "essential" to the LGBT community.
We've ventured into the tricky territory of ranking which are most essential. To accomplish this feat, everyone on staff was asked for a top 10, then we asked readers for theirs, and finally began the arguing — always politely. Television movies aren't included (sorry, The Laramie Project, An Early Frost, and Gia). Television series aren't included either (apologies to Tales of the City, AbFab, and Angels in America). The result is potentially a guide for anyone who wants to examine our roots through film.
Oh, and we reserve the right to amend it for the rest of our lives. — The Editors
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005): This Oscar-winning feature film is arguably one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking gay love stories ever told on the silver screen. The chemistry between the late Heath Ledger’s restrained, tortured Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal’s sensitive and tender Jack Twist takes viewers high into Wyoming’s Grand Teton mountains in an intimate portrait of two men brutally confined by the hypermasculine culture in which they exist. After watching the film with its emotional gut-punch of a conclusion, you’ll understand Jack’s lament and agony in telling Ennis “I can’t quit you.” The only thing that compares with the powerful performances turned in by Ledger and Gyllenhaal is director Ang Lee’s stunning visuals — which earned him an Academy Award for best director. —Sunnivie Brydum
2. Milk (2008): This film about the life and death of pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk won two richly deserved Oscars, for Dustin Lance Black's screenplay and Sean Penn's performance in the title role. It does not make Milk a plaster saint, but portrays him as fully and fallibly human as well as a formidable crusader for the rights of all. Directed by Gus Van Sant, it's a film that moves and inspires, while assuring that a new generation will know an important figure in our history. —Trudy Ring
3. Paris Is Burning (1990): This documentary shone a bright light on the African-American, Latino, and LGBT communities involved in the New York City ball culture of the mid-to-late 1980s. Directed by Jennie Livingston, Paris Is Burning brought an underground aspect of LGBT culture to the mainstream. From the use of slang (“serving realness”) to unforgettable quotes (“reading is fundamental”), the film has had a lasting impact on both LGBT and mainstream pop culture. —Jase Peeples
4. Cabaret (1972): There's no doubt that Berlin's Kit Kat Klub is just the most fantastically awesome place this side of World War I. Right at the beginning, the Emcee, played by the tireless Joel Grey, bids the audience a hearty "willkommen" to this world of seedy glamour. Our heroine Sally Bowles — portrayed by an exquisite Liza Minnelli — pops off the screen in a story that follows her trapped in love with two men, while the Nazi regime rises to power. The film is epic, gripping, and entertaining. You will be singing at least one of the songs from this musical for days. Weeks. OK, in my case, years — it's "Two Ladies," "Money, Money," and the title tune. —Michelle Garcia
5. The Boys in the Band (1970): Mart Crowley's hit play became the first famous gay film ever. Vito Russo said of the movie, "The internalized guilt of eight gay men at a Manhattan birthday party formed the best and most potent argument for gay liberation ever offered in a popular art form." No, it wasn't representative of what gay life was like‚ but it was representative of what gay life was like for those alcoholic men, in that city, at that time. Crowley's quotable script was shocking, real, and hysterically funny. With Cliff Gorman, Leonard Frey, Kenneth Nelson, and Frederick Combs, and directed by William Friedkin (of Cruising fame.) —Christopher Harrity
6. Philadelphia (1993): Philadelphia encapsulates so many things that signify excellent filmmaking, but one of them is showing something that is simply true to life: When we get to know people who are different from ourselves, we become better people. Tom Hanks's unparalleled performance as Andrew Beckett, a man who is fighting for his dignity and his life, convinces small-time (and homophobic) lawyer Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, to represent him in a wrongful-termination suit. The film came out before there were revolutionary drugs that helped save the lives of many with HIV and AIDS. Meanwhile, it followed the initial shock of the epidemic, which led to heightened paranoia on one side, and on the other, a better understanding of the virus itself. Philadelphia is undoubtedly a groundbreaking time capsule. —M.G.
7. Bound (1996): This neo-noir thriller marked the directorial debut of the Wachowski siblings, and though it was long before Lana Wachowski was an out trans woman, we can’t help but think it helped influence this superb bisexual/lesbian classic in which Violet (femme and alluring Jennifer Tilly), a moll owned by her Mafia boyfriend (Joe Pantoliano) but looking for escape, has an affair with butch neighbor Corky (Gina Gershon in the hottest lesbian film role ever). The two women hatch a scheme to steal millions from the mob, and the usual noir tropes (just who is betraying who?) work to great success, albeit with a hefty dose of violence (this is a rare film where there are empowered women and violence and the latter isn’t directed at the former). The reason queer girls loved it? The sex was genuine and hot, thanks in large part to Susie Bright, who served as the resident lesbian sexpert to help the auteurs get it right. (She has a cameo too.) —Diane Anderson-Minshall
8. Desert Hearts (1985): Donna Deitch's directorial debut is the first "real" lesbian film (an out lesbian, nobody dies, two women have sex). Based on lesbian author Jane Rule’s novel, Desert of the Heart follows Vivian (Helen Shaver), a repressed divorcee waiting out the legal finalities in a ranch guesthouse in 1950s Nevada. Vivian is all class and repression, and the ranch owner warns her to stay away from her irrepressible lesbian daughter Cay (Patricia Charbonneau, wearing jean shorts and cowboy boots and a whole lot of lesbian lust). Turns out, that’s who she’s drawn to, and soon Cay is unrepressing Viv in the first real lesbian sex scene in a film. Their growing relationship played against the rocky red soil and rolling landscape doesn’t necessarily have a future, but it’s the sight of Vivian’s slow but seismic sexual awakening that makes this film Deitch’s valentine to the rest of us. —D.A.M.
9. Boys Don't Cry (1999): It’s easy to dismiss this as an “important” film, but Boys Don’t Cry, based on the true story of the murder of Brandon Teena, a young trans man killed in Nebraska, is actually an incredibly good one as well. For a film that ends in such an atrocity, it has a breezy romanticism as we meet the flirty Brandon (played by Hilary Swank, in a role that won her an Oscar and made her career) and weary Lana, the girl he falls in love with. Brandon knows little of other trans people, of hormones or gender identity or even the kind of (sadly still limited, but at least talked about) rights trans people have today. But he’s young and in love and troubled, because of having no social safety net, living in an impoverished community, and hiding his birth-gender assignment (and in the film, the lack of medical hormones is the linchpin that eventually leads to his death). Watch it with a big box of Kleenex and a sense of injustice. —D.A.M.
10. Parting Glances (1986): Writer and director Bill Sherwood would never make another film — he succumbed to an AIDS-related disease in 1990 — but his only cinematic work, Parting Glances, will keep his legacy alive for decades to come. The well-acted and brilliantly written film centers on Robert and Michael, a couple preparing for a two-year separation as Michael heads to Africa for work. Over the course of 24 hours, Robert, Michael, and their friends and lovers all collide to hilarious and heart-wrenching effect. Robert's ex-boyfriend Nick (Steve Buscemi — perhaps best known today for his star turns in Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, and Fargo — in his first major role) is a rock star dying of AIDS. But Nick is never a pitiable character, instead a strong and defiant survivor, a rarity for cinematic portrayals of people with AIDS, in the ’90s and beyond. —Neal Broverman
11. Making Love (1982): The plot of this 1982 film — a supposedly straight, married L.A. doctor falls in love with another man — sounds like a Lifetime movie now, but at the time it was groundbreaking. Making Love was also well-acted, with stellar performances from Michael Ontkean as the latently gay protagonist, Kate Jackson as the confused wife, and especially Harry Hamlin as the sexy, hedonistic novelist who Ontkean's character falls for. Hamlin, a huge star at the time, would later say the movie damaged his career but that he remains proud of it. —N.B.
12. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994): Director Stephan Elliott’s Australian film about the adventures of two drag queens and a trans woman who travel across the desert in a rickety old bus to perform a drag show found box office success around the world and a place in the hearts of many LGBT viewers as well. Starring Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp, the film garnered many awards, including an Oscar for Best Costume Design. Today, the film is considered by many to be an LGBT kitsch comedy classic, loved as much for its over-the-top characters as its unflinching look at life through a queer lens. —J.P.
13. But I'm A Cheerleader (1999): This comedy manages to both make fun of the absurdity of efforts to “de-gay” people by sending them to organizations that claim to rid patients of homosexual desires, and make a poignant statement about the dangers of so-called sexual orientation change efforts. Lesbian director Jamie Babbit brings a poignant queer woman’s perspective to the feature, which also stars lesbian fan favorites Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall. Ultimately, the most powerful component of this lighthearted film is the nuanced exploration of female sexuality, which has helped more than a few now out and proud ladies — this writer included — come to terms with being a feminine woman who isn’t straight. —S.B.
14. Maurice (1987): Based on E.M. Forster's long-suppressed novel of gay love, the film stars James Wilby, Rupert Graves, and Hugh Grant all at their most adorable. Forster's novel, written in 1914, was published in 1971, after his death, as Forster knew there was controversy in giving the lovers a happy ending. The novel allowed a new openness in literature and biography. The film was the satisfying second shoe to drop. Gay people who had never seen dreamy romantic images of same-sex couples on the big screen swooned over the beautifully art-directed affair between the well-born Maurice and the laborer Scudder. They also swooned at Rupert Graves's callipygian assets. —C.H.
15. Gods and Monsters (1998): One of our greatest gay actors, Sir Ian McKellen, plays James Whale, the gay movie director who brought Frankenstein and The Invisible Man to the screen in 1930s Hollywood (and demonstrated his versatility by helming the first film version of Show Boat). While Whale is a real-life figure, Gods and Monsters is a fantasia on his last days, showing him largely forgotten by the film industry and drawn to a young, straight gardener, played by Brendan Fraser. McKellen's performance as this gifted, tragic man is extraordinary and heartbreaking. Bill Condon won an Oscar for his screenplay, adapted from Christopher Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein; McKellen was nominated, but he was robbed. —T.R.
16. Beautiful Thing (1996): The British coming-of-age film perfectly captured the sweetness of young gay love at a time when stereotypes and fear of the AIDS epidemic dominated LGBT representations in cinema. Grounded in the reality of a London suburb in 1996, the love story of Jamie and Ste stands out for its honest and positive portrayal of gay teens who embrace their true nature and experience the beauty of first love. —J.P.
17. Longtime Companion (1990): One of the first AIDS-themed films aimed at a wide audience is set in New York City and traces the effect of the disease, beginning with its emergence in 1981, on a group of (mostly) gay friends. It has been criticized for its focus on affluent white men, with the black and Latino characters being either marginal or examples of bad behavior, but it has merit as an early effort to put a human face on AIDS for moviegoers who thought of the illness as someone else’s problem. Written by Craig Lucas and directed by Norman Rene, it features several moving moments, including a goose bump–inducing final scene, and excellent performances from a cast that includes Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Bruce Davison, along with Campbell Scott and Mary-Louise Parker. —T.R.
18. All About Eve (1950): "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." So says Bette Davis, playing Broadway star Margo Channing, in the film's most famous line, but it's only one of many wonderful witticisms in a movie that practically defines gay sensibility, at least a certain type of it, even though it was written and directed by a straight man, Joe Mankiewicz. There is also the intimation that scheming Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), who wants to supplant Margo as first lady of the American stage, may well be a lesbian, but the greatest pleasure in a film with many is the incomparable and perfectly cast George Sanders as the ultimate bitchy queen, that "venomous fishwife" of a drama critic, Addison DeWitt. Sanders won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, Mankiewicz took home directing and screenplay honors, and the film was named Best Picture of the year. —T.R.
19. The Celluloid Closet (1995): This film provides an in-depth look at the history of LGBT people in North American cinema and the attitudes behind these portrayals. One of the most talked-about revelations from the documentary was that Gore Vidal had infused a gay subtext into the screeplay for the epic 1959 film Ben-Hur — a notion that had Vidal and star Charlton Heston in a notoriously public war of words. Based on the book by Vito Russo, the documentary enhanced the foundation of queer film theory and has become a staple in the curriculum of LGBT studies courses at universities around the world. —J.P.
20. Weekend (2011): This beautifully restrained film tells the story of two young gay British men who meet at a club, hook up, and fall in love over the course of an eventful weekend. One of the guys is introverted and half-closeted, while the other is brash, gregarious, and wears his sexuality on his sleeve; their worldviews complement each other and their chemistry is explosive. Through passionate conversations, many drug-fueled, they alternately challenge, confuse, and confound each other. It's a grown-up, no-holds-barred exploration of modern love between men, and even the sex is honest. Directed by Andrew Haigh, who's moved on to executive-produce HBO's Looking, the film well deserved its status as a critical darling. —N.B.
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21. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985): Combining racism, class issues, and gay love in one sudsy mix sounds like a recipe for heavy-handed treacle, but Stephen Frears's My Beautiful Laundrette is as entertaining as it is culturally resonant. The story of a Pakistani man and a street punk falling in love, challenging the conventions of Thatcher-era London, and classing up a laundromat in the way only gay men can do, My Beautiful Laundrette was immediately met with praise and its screenplay nominated for an Oscar. The film's punk was played by the brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis, while director Frears is still on a roll, recently Oscar-nominated for Philomena. —N.B.
22. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984): Before there was Milk, there was The Times of Harvey Milk. While the dramatized version offers a wonderful portrayal of the political trailblazer, there's nothing quite like getting to know the real man, as we do via archival footage in Robert Epstein's remarkable documentary, released just six years after Milk's assassination. There are also numerous interviews with people who knew him, demonstrating how many lives he touched and changed. Harvey Fierstein narrates this deserving Oscar winner. —T.R.
23. The Wizard Of Oz (1939): It’s no wonder that gay men have referred to one another as “Friends of Dorothy” for three quarters of a century. From the moment Judy Garland sings “Over the Rainbow” on a gray Kansas tractor, LGBTs found a heroine, one who so beautifully articulates an anthem for those yearning for “a place where there isn’t any trouble.” Her journey into the Technicolor Land of Oz, which so thrilled audiences in 1939, still continues to enchant both young and old. And while her friends the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow may look like a motley crew, their quest for intelligence, courage, heart, and home is one that continues to resonate with and inspire the LGBT rights movement. —Daniel Reynolds
24. Auntie Mame (1958): Rosalind Russell as everybody's favorite naughty aunt. Little orphaned Patrick Dennis comes to live with his drinky, amorous, wealthy Auntie Mame. LGBT subjects are alluded to coyly — it was 1958, after all — but the core of the story is about conservatives objecting to Auntie Mame's "lifestyle." It's visually splendid, packed with great character performances, but you may want to strangle little Patrick by the second act. "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Be warned: The 1974 musical version Mame, starring Lucille Ball, is a sad disaster. —C.H.
25. Torch Song Trilogy (1988): This superlative early gay film was adapted from the three-part play of the same name by Harvey Feinstein, and centers around his character, Arnold, a shamelessly swishy Jewish drag performer who navigates New York's gay scene, finds love (with Matthew Broderick, at the height of his youthful fame), fights with his mom (Anne Bancroft), and adopts a teen. It's both hilarious and tragic; some moments are at once sad and sentimental and funny. —D.A.M.
26. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): In this multi-award-winning new cult classic, a trans front woman of an East German punk rock band tells her life story in song form, of falling in love with an American soldier, getting a botched gender surgery (hence the "angry inch"), and of being left for another man. It's less TransAmerica and more Rocky Horror, but John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote and directed it, is smashing in the title role. —D.A.M.
27. Latter Days (2003): Long before the South Park team took on The Book of Mormon, gay writer-director and former Mormon C. Jay Cox explored the damage done to families by the antigay attitudes within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with his ultimately sweet film Latter Days. Sure, the film falls into some classic rom-com tropes — the closeted Mormon missionary moves to Los Angeles, where he encounters the sassy, out actor-turned-waiter ironically named Christian in a predictable laundry room meet-cute — but the performances turned in, especially by Steve Sandvoss as the conflicted missionary, are honest and powerful. Keep an eye out for scene-stealing supporting actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Elder Paul Ryder, Rebekah Johnson as Christian’s musician roomie Julie Taylor, and even Jacqueline Bisset and Amber Benson. —S.B.
28. Trick (1999): A quintessential film for a generation of gay men, 1999’s Trick took a lighthearted look at the pleasures and pitfalls of one-night stands as Gabriel (Christian Campbell) and Mark (John Paul Pitoc) discover that hooking up in Manhattan isn’t as easy as it looks and romance can blossom at the most unexpected times. —J.P.
29. Shelter (2008): Jonah Markowitz’s gay-surfers-in-love movie Shelter is a sweet, sexy, sun-soaked valentine to true love and family values. Zach (Trevor Wright), who has pushed his art-school dreams aside to take care of his selfish deadbeat sister, Jeanne (Tina Holmes), and her 5-year-old son, Cody. Zach gets knocked out of his funk — and his closet — when his best friend’s hunky older brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe), a disillusioned Hollywood screenwriter, retreats to his family’s beach house to try to get his mojo back. They hang. They surf. They fall in love. They’re Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello without the chastity. —The Advocate in 2008
30. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975): Nearly every slightly off-kilter high school student in America who rolls with the drama club crowd could say that this film was essential to their upbringing and their appreciation of sexual exploration, camp, and absurdity. This musical has so many things: a satire of ridiculous B-movies, fun with fishnets and heels, insane science fiction, artsy weirdness, and unabashed sexuality. And it's chock-full of very catchy, fun music. —M.G.
31. Capote (2005): The late Philip Seymour Hoffman handily won the Academy Award for his portrayal of the literary world’s enfant terrible Truman Capote in the 2005 biopic. The film shines a light on Capote’s life just as he was beginning research on his true-crime masterpiece In Cold Blood, about the 1959 Clutter family murders in Kansas. Director Bennett Miller’s movie focused on Capote’s unhealthy attachment to one of the killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), whom Capote visited in prison. The supporting cast includes a pitch-perfect Catherine Keener as Capote’s dear friend, To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, and Bob Balaban round out the superb cast. While Hoffman was physically much larger than Capote, he nailed the role of a lifetime, imbuing him with complicated pathos as a writer who obliterated boundaries for his story. —Tracy E. Gilchrist
32. The Women (1939): Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell head up an amazing cast of dozens of the greatest female actors of the late '30s. And not one man. Anita Loos added zip to Clare Booth Luce's stage script about the savage backstabbing and mercenary marriages of the Park Avenue set. The zingers race by so fast it demands multiple viewings to savor every barb. Before gay people had films of their own to reflect them, films like this were iconic touchstones. If you heard a man quoting the film, you knew you were among friends. If you want to stay friends with us, don't mention the 2008 version. —C.H.
33. The Wedding Banquet (1993): Before Brokeback Mountain, there was The Wedding Banquet, director Ang Lee’s first film to deal with LGBT themes. Notable as the first film of Taiwanese origin to positively depict an interracial gay couple, The Wedding Banquet is a groundbreaking comedy of errors that centers on a Taiwanese-American who is afraid to come out to his traditional family. In order to placate his relatives, he hides his long-term relationship with a man and makes plans to marry a woman — a plot that, as in many real-life instances, fails miserably. A nominee for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, The Wedding Banquet has withstood the test of time as a film that tackles the perennial and often thorny issues that come with the collision of love and family. —D.R.
34. My Own Private Idaho (1991): Gay director Gus Van Sant's meandering story follows River Phoenix, who plays Mike, a troubled gay street hustler, and his best friend (played by Keanu Reeves) from the streets of Portland to Seattle to Italy and Idaho. Along the way, the film explores love and loss, betrayal and the street life a lot of LGBT kids find themselves in. It's a bit of a gay Easy Rider and a must-see; poignant, emotional, frustrating, and don't expect a happy ending. —D.A.M.
35. Big Eden (2000): In this romantic dramedy, one of the more underrated gay films, Arye Gross (from the sitcom Ellen) plays Henry, a gay New York artist who has to go back to his hometown of Eden, Mont., to care for his ailing grandfather. But it differs from other “homecoming” stories in that Henry’s openly gay and the people in his hometown are not only tolerant of that, some of them are downright supportive (it’s a superb gay fantasy vehicle for anyone who ever left a rural community and dreams of going home). Even better, as Henry deals with his unrequited high school crush, Pike, a quiet Native American shopkeeper (played expertly by Eric Schweig) is falling in love with him. —D.A.M.
36. Strangers on a Train (1951): Alfred Hitchcock was not only the master of suspense, he was the master of getting taboo subjects past the censors in the days of Hollywood's Production Code. It's impossible to miss the sexual tension between tennis player Guy (Farley Granger) and man of leisure Bruno (Robert Walker) from the moment their fashionably shod feet brush together in a train's club car. Guy wants to be free of his wife, while Bruno despises his father, so Bruno proposes that the two commit murders for each other. That sets in motion a film that offers plenty of suspense along with the homoeroticism, plus marvelous Hitchcockian set pieces and well-used D.C. scenery. It's one of Hitch's best, and Walker, usually cast in more lightweight roles, is a revelation as the sinister Bruno. Sadly, Walker died the year the movie was released; he was only 32 years old. —T.R.
37. Transamerica (2005): This award-winning film, starring Felicity Huffman in an Oscar-nominated performance as transgender woman Bree, admittedly doesn’t get everything right when it comes to portraying a fully developed trans character on the big screen. For starters, Huffman is a cisgender (nontrans) woman, whose character discovers that she fathered a son who is now a teenage runaway living in New York. Cue the trans-as-surprise-twist critique. But the film, which had trans woman and vocal coach Andrea James as a consulting producer, was a substantial step forward in mainstream visibility for transgender characters, and remains an accessible way to introduce folks wholly unfamiliar with the concept of gender identity to a sympathetic depiction of some of the struggles that come from seeking an authentic life. —S.B.
38. Another Country (1984): Never has homosexual repression in the British public school system (think Eton) looked quite as beautiful as in director Marek Kanievska’s 1984 big-screen version of Julian Mitchell’s period play of the same name. Based in the 1930s, the film stars a young, gorgeous Rupert Everett as Guy Bennett, an unrepentant gay student who challenges authority, an equally stunning Colin Firth as a budding Marxist, and Cary Elwes as Bennett’s delicious love interest. The film explores burgeoning desire, gay panic in the era, progressive politics, and class war against the backdrop of academia, which is just about everything one can hope for in a movie. —T.E.G.
39. Victor/Victoria (1982): Julie Andrews and James Garner star in this feel-good picture made for a mainstream market that addresses gender, homophobia, and the place of women in society — in song! Set in the 1930s and directed by Andrews’s husband, the extremely gay-friendly Blake Edwards, this farce centers on Andrews as Victoria Grant passing herself off as a male tenor assisted by her fellow cohort in crime, Robert Preston as gay cabaret singer Carole “Toddy” Todd. Tough guy James Garner, much to his own confusion, falls for the young “man.” Also chagrined is Garner’s moll, played to perfection by Lesley Ann Warren in her naughtiest performance ever. Gender hilarity ensues. —C.H.
40. Get Real (1998): This British film about Steve (Ben Silverstone) and his unexpected romance with the star jock of his prep school, John Dixon (Brad Gorton), may not have broken new ground in 1998, but its sincere portrayal of young love has made this gay romantic coming-of-age story a favorite of LGBT fans for more than 15 years. Based on the play by Patrick Wilde, the film’s story of one young man embracing his sexuality, another rejecting it, and the complications that arise from their feelings for one another provides an honest look at the pain, confusion, and potentially liberating experiences that are found on the road to coming out. —J.P.