One day, popular culture may very well get to the point where it sets aside outdated portrayals of love, romance, sex, and gender identity. But there are some wonderful filmmakers making movies focusing on the LGBTQ community, and Amazon Prime has quite a few streaming for their subscribers. We’ve gone through their impressive collection to find you the best LGBTQ movies the service has to offer. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch many different kinds of LGBTQ flicks, including romances, documentaries, rock n’ roll biopics, and more.
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And Then We Danced (2019)
In the nation of Georgia, which straddles the border between Europe and Asia, there were a lot of people who didn’t want And Then We Danced to be made, much less screened. Filmmakers were concerned enough to hire bodyguards to protect the cast and crew of the film, and its release was met with protests. The 15-minute standing ovation it received at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival was a pretty clear sign that audiences felt it deserved to be made regardless of the intolerance it faced.
And Then We Danced tells the story of aspiring dancer Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), who can’t seem to find his rhythm. He’s initially envious of the new arrival Irakli (Bachi Valishvili), but once the rebellious new dancer gives Merab some tips, it’s clear a connection has been made. They become friends and, as Merab’s girlfriend Mary (Ana Javakishvili) begins to suspect, in secret they become much more. And Then We Danced is a powerful and compassionate portrayal of a man trying to come to terms with his feelings, his life, and the oppressive society in which he’s trapped.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Levan Gelbakhiani, Bachi Valishvili, Ana Javakishvili
Director: Levan Akin
Rating: Not rated
Runtime: 113 minutes
Starting in February, Prime is streaming the acclaimed 2016 documentary Kiki. Following the struggles and joys of real LGBTQ youths, Kiki is named for the kiki community, existing as early as a century ago during the Harlem Renaissance, as a safe space for queer kids of color. While Kiki exposes plenty of the abuse and difficulties its subjects face, it also makes sure to revel in the contagious joy and empowerment of the vogue scene where they find a second home — or, for too many of them, their only home.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Loretta Coombs, Takima Coombs, Afrika Juicy Couture
Director: Sara Jordenö
Runtime: 94 minutes
Uncle Frank (2020)
In Amazon Prime’s original film Uncle Frank, Paul Bettany plays Frank Bledsoe — a man about to learn that the secrets we keep from our families can be both more and less important than we ever imagined. Set in the early ’70s, Uncle Frank finds its titular lead living with his lover, Walid (Peter Macdissi). Frank’s pretty sure no one in his South Carolinian family knows he’s gay, but that changes when his young niece, Beth (Sophia Lillis), pays him a surprise visit in New York and discovers her uncle’s true life. Matters are further complicated when news of the death of the family patriarch arrives. Frank and Beth set out on their own to South Carolina for the services, leaving Walid behind because Frank doesn’t want the rest of his family to discover his secret. Walid follows anyway, and the trio has a touching, funny journey to the funeral, where some shocking surprises await them.
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Stars: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi
Director: Alan Ball
Runtime: 95 minutes
This biographical music movie tells the life story of iconic musician Elton John and his meteoric rise to fame, starting from his early days as a prodigy attending the Royal Academy of Music. Taron Egerton earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the pop star, beautifully capturing both his unique musical talents and flamboyant style. John and his long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. John and his husband David Furnish had been working on a film about John’s life for decades, finally culminating in Rocketman. It’s totally worth the wait.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Runtime: 121 minutes
This historical comedy-drama is based on the true story of a group of lesbian and gay activists who banded together to raise money for families impacted by the British miners strike of 1984. The event eventually became known as the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. While the help was initially unwelcome, the group addressed the homophobia head on to dispel myths and preconceived notions, finding unlikely allies in the small-town miners and their families. Nominated for a Golden Globe, the film has been universally praised and referred to as a “joyous crowd-pleaser.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, George MacKay, Joseph Gilgun, Ben Schnetzer
Director: Matthew Warchus
Runtime: 120 minutes
Saving Face (2004)
As the first Hollywood-backed film to focus on Chinese-Americans since Disney gave us The Joy Luck Club in 1993, this romantic comedy is a story of intersecting lives that follows Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a closeted New York surgeon who falls for a dancer (Lynn Chen) who happens to be the daughter of her boss. The tapestry unravels when Wil’s widowed mother Gao (Joan Chen) shows up at her door, pregnant out of wedlock. The pair struggle with their situation as they go completely against the pan-East Asian social concept of “face,” which refers to behaviors and customs that suggest morality and honor. The movie is inspired by director Alice Wu’s own experience in coming out to her traditional Taiwanese mother, who initially did not accept her as being gay. Will Smith is counted among the producers.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen
Director: Alice Wu
Runtime: 91 minutes
Soldier’s Girl (2003)
During the time when the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy existed, private Barry Winchell (Troy Garity) finds himself in a difficult position when it’s discovered that he’s dating Calpernia Addams, a transgender showgirl. Jealousy, anger, lack of acceptance, and pressure lead to rising tensions between Winchell and his roommate Justin Fisher (Shawn Hatosy) that escalates to violence and Winchell’s eventual murder. Based on a true story, this crime drama will have you clenching your fists in anger. The ending, however, brings some closure with a discussion of the events that occurred after Winchell’s death.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Troy Garity, Lee Pace
Director: Frank Pierson
Runtime: 112 minutes
As a loose adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 film Broken Lullaby, which was, in turn, based on the 1930 French play L’homme que j’ai tue by Maurice Rostand, Frantz is about Anna (Paula Beer), a German woman grieving her husband who is killed on the battlefield in World War I. As Anna visits his grave, she sees another man frequenting it as well. The man, Adrien (Pierre Niney), lies about who he is until he can no longer keep up the façade and reveals the truth. The film itself does not have any overt LGBTQ themes but it is classified as an LGBTQ movie because it’s directed by Francois Ozon, a French director and screenwriter known for incorporating his free-thinking views on human sexuality into his movies.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer
Director: Francois Ozon
Runtime: 113 minutes
We Were Here (2011)
With a perfect rating, this documentary is about the HIV/AIDs crisis in San Francisco in the early ’80s that was then known as the “Gay Plague.” It includes interviews with five key individuals of the time: A man who worked as a counselor for gay men, a political activist, an HIV+ artist, a black dancer who operated a flower stand that sold flowers for many funerals of those who died from the disease, and a nurse who helped administer the clinical trials for antiretroviral drugs. We Were Here delves deep into the crisis to help viewers better understand the critical importance of medical care, social services, and community support.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Ed Wolf, Paul Boneberg, Daniel Goldstein, Guy Clark, Eileen Glutzer
Director: David Weissman
Runtime: 90 minutes
My Best Friend (2018)
Also known as Mi mejor amigo, this Spanish-language Argentinian film is a coming-of-age movie about Lorenzo, a 16-year-old boy in Patagonia discovering his sexuality, with the help and friendship of Caito, a 17-year-old who has been taken in by Lorenzo’s parents. The film beautifully presents the idea of a young man struggling to understand his feelings and attractions as well as his emotional connections with others. It has been praised for its subtleties and believable performances about two young men simply trying to find themselves.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Angelo Mutti Spinetta, Lautaro Rodriguez
Director: Martin Deus
Runtime: 91 minutes
An Icelandic-language film, this coming-of-age drama looks at the emotional and sexual journeys of two preteen boys, Thor and Christian, who are living in an Icelandic fishing village. As they deal with adolescence, one boy shows an interest in a girl while the other is confused about his newfound feelings for his best friend. The film took home the Queer Lion award at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Baldur Einarsson, Blaer Hinriksson, Dilja Valsdottir, Katla Njalsdottir
Director: Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
Runtime: 129 minutes
Adrian (Gotham‘s Cory Michael Smith), a closeted gay man, returns home to Dallas from New York City to say goodbye to his estranged family, not revealing to them that he is actually dying of AIDS. While his family is politically conservative and deeply religious, it appears they might know more about Adrian’s sexuality than they are willing to admit or accept. Thus, they don’t really speak of it. Adding more complexity to the story is that Adrian’s younger brother may also be gay. The movie takes you back in time stylistically, shot on black-and-white super 16mm film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Aidan Langford, Jamie Chung
Director: Yen Tan
Runtime: 85 minutes
4 Moons (2014)
The Mexican drama, available with English subtitles (originally in Spanish) is divided into four self-contained stories, each about a different person exploring love and self-acceptance. The first is an 11-year-old boy trying to come to terms with his attraction to a male cousin. The second is a pair of college kids who get into a relationship but one is not comfortable with officially coming out. In the third, one man struggles with his attraction to someone else while in a long-term relationship with another man. An old family man obsessed with a young male prostitute is the subject of the fourth story. The film was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards but was not selected.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Antonio Velazquez, Alejandro de la Madrid, Cesar Ramos, Gustavo Egelhaaf, Alonso Echanove, Alejandro Belmonte, Karina Gidi, Juan Manuel Bernal
Director: Sergio Tovar Velarde
Runtime: 110 minutes