3. You, Me & Him (2017)
Although this does fall into the stereotype of the Age Gap Lesbian Couple, this film has more than enough charm to make up for that.
You, Me & Him tells the tale of Olivia and Alex – Olivia is older and ready to have a baby, whereas Alex is not so sure that now is the right time. When Olivia starts fertility treatment without telling Alex, they have a huge fight which leads to Alex sleeping with their outrageous next door neighbor John, played by David Tennant. Of course, this means that they both get pregnant at the same time.
The film explores how pregnancy affects different women and what it means to be a mother. It also has a lot of heart, with the characters being utterly relatable, and has some moments of genuine humour. It is a little silly, but Faye Marsay, who also stars in list entry Pride, gives a strong and memorable performance despite this film’s tendency to paint characters with broad strokes.
Perhaps most refreshing about this list entry is that the central characters Alex and Olivia have issues that are not related to their sexuality, which is in contrast to a lot of other LGBTQ+ films.
4. God’s Own Country (2017)
Although at first glance God’s Own Country is a film about the harsh realities of farming in contemporary Yorkshire, at its heart this Francis Lee film is about finding joy in pain.
Johnny runs the family farm after his father’s stroke. They hire Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, to help through the lambing season. The film subverts many of the tropes of LGBTQ+ cinema, the first being that we see Johnny have a sexual encounter with a man prior to the relationship at the centre of the narrative, showing the audience that Johnny is gay prior to him meeting Gheorghe. Often the nature of LGBTQ+ relationships in film imply that our main character is only gay with one particular love interest. What’s more is that Gheorghe and Johnny’s relationship is full of genuine intimacy, with a montage of their growing love being one of the stand out moments of the film.
The problems that arise for the characters in God’s Own Country are not because the characters are gay, but are because of the land, familial health issues or Gheorghe’s immigrant status. Everything about the film is constructed with painstaking detail, including the actors partaking in lambing to understand the realities of rural life, and the landscapes are shot with an artists eye that make for a beautiful watch.
Arguably the most artistically satisfying film on the list, God’s Own Country offers something for fans of typical dramas and those looking for more than the ordinary LGBTQ+ film experience, this release in many ways subverting the tropes of downtrodden homosexuality.
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5. Handsome Devil (2016)
Handsome Devil is the second appearance for Fionn O’Shea on this list. Here he plays Ned, a music obsessed boy in a rugby obsessed all boys school, this 2016 release fitting the “you can not like two things at once” brand of coming of age films.
Ned is an outcast and is often picked on because he is assumed to be gay. Enter Conor, a bad boy expelled from another school, who quickly becomes the school’s popular star rugby player. The two spark an unlikely friendship when they become roommates and bond over old records.
Whilst away from school for a rugby match, Ned sees Conor go into a gay bar, and in turn Conor sees Andrew Scott’s character with his boyfriend. The film is not without its issues, but it is arguably carried by Andrew Scott as a somewhat cliche English teacher with a passion for his subject, the ‘Fleabag’ star radiating his now trademarked charisma in this big screen offering.
One of the great things about this film is that our protagonist is not the only LGBTQ+ character. Handsome Devil offers differing ways to be gay, and explores issues pertaining to both structural and internal homophobia. Despite what sounds like a film of negativity, there is a joyful ending… it is a coming of age after all.
So there’s our list. What would you have included? Make sure to let us know in the comments.