Five LGBTQ+ Movies That Deserve Your Attention

Penelope Cruz faces the cameras in a black gown. Her hair is parted in the middle and tucked behind her ears. She is wearing long earrings.
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Jul 22, 2022 3:51 PM ET

If you're looking for movies to watch with strong LGBTQ+ themes, characters, and plots, we've got you covered. There's a sea of excellent movies that check all the boxes and an endless number of lists to slog through. But we've looked through the best and come up with our top five suggestions.

Keep scrolling to read what we're watching and re-watching this summer.


Trevante Rhodes appears before cameras in a grey suit. He has a short goatee and close cropped hair. His tie is dark blue and white.
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This one is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a whopping 98% on the tomato-meter. It also happened to pick up the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay in 2017. The film made history as the first LGBTQ+ film to have an all-Black cast. The screenplay was adapted from an unpublished semi-autobiographical play by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The film presents the life of its protagonist in three sections: his childhood, his adolescence, and his adulthood. He grapples with race, sexuality, child abuse, and growing up in the inner city. Trevante Rhodes gives a raw and brilliant performance that netted him accolades.

Where to watch: For rent on YouTube, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, or Showtime by subscription

A Fantastic Woman

Actress Daniela Vega poses on a red carpet. She is wearing a gown with a red velvet halter top and a full skirt bottom.
Wikimedia | Martin Kraft

This Spanish-language drama won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2018. A Fantastic Woman follows the discrimination and hardship faced by a transgender woman after the death of her boyfriend. Daniela Varga stars in the lead role, giving an emotional performance that makes this movie an intense ride. Chilean actor Francisco Reyes rounds out an impressive cast. Roger Ebert gave the movie a detailed review here.

Where to watch: For rent on Amazon Prime and Apple TV+


Directed by Olivia Wilde, this award-winning coming-of-age comedy follows the exploits of two high-achieving best friends who decide to sow their wild oats in one riotous night. Although some critics labeled this as "Superbad for girls", Bernie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Denver lend emotional credibility to comedy. Booksmart is about the power of friendship, playing as hard as you work, and the danger of labels.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ or Hulu by subscription


This neo-noir crime thriller is full of action, suspense, and steamy scenes between Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly. Bound has the distinction of being the first movie directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who went on to write and direct The Matrix. Tilly stars as Violet, the unhappy girlfriend of a mobster, who enters into a secret affair with Corky, played by Gershon. When Violet and Corky hatch a plan to steal $2 million from Violet's boyfriend, things take a wild, sexy turn. If you missed this cult classic, be sure to catch it this summer.

Where to watch: For rent on Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, and YouTube

Parallel Mothers

Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, and Milena Smit pose together at the premiere of Parallel Mothers.
Shutterstock | 64736

As film critic David Stratton said in his review that ran in The Australian, "If you're already a fan of Almodóvar's work this is essential viewing; if you haven't been introduced to his very special world before, Parallel Mothers will be a great place to start." Pedro Almodóvar is best known for films like Volver, All About My Mother, and Talk to Her. But Parallel Mothers is particularly powerful thanks to stellar performances by Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit.

The plot centers around two women who met in a hospital room as they prepare to give birth. One is older and welcoming of motherhood; the other is young and scared. A single event occurs that will tie them together and complicate their lives as mothers. Eventually, the two women become involved romantically in a problematic way. Fans of intense drama and complex sapphic bonds will love this Spanish-language masterpiece.

Where to watch: For rent on Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Starz by subscription

If you want an exhaustive list, check this out.

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