These are the films to watch in celebration of Pride Month 2021

June may be drawing to a close; but we should all be celebrating Pride all year round. With that in mind, here's a collection of films to help you do just that...

We may be almost into July, and thus approaching the end of the official Pride Month — but don’t make the mistake of thinking that Pride only exists for one calendar month. June is a wonderful time to celebrate Pride; but the values that Pride celebrates — those of inclusivity, equality, freedom, love and support — should be values we all strive for, every single day.

So that’s why we’re wrapping June up with a collection of films that celebrate everything Pride stands for; and that will provide a vital resource to anyone seeking to show support, solidarity and true allyship to the LGBTQ+ community: not just in June, but all year round. Get your notepads out, gents; you’ll want to jot down more than a few of these titles. Trust us.

Moonlight, 2016

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: We’re kicking things off with an Oscar-winning tear-jerker; because if we’re all going to be hunkering down at home to hide from the rain for the foreseeable future, what better sort of film is there to hunker down with? We assume you’re familiar with this one — purely because of its Oscar ‘the-Best-Picture-winner-is-La La Land-oh-wait-no-it’s-not’ controversy, if for nothing else. But if that is the only reason you’re familiar with this film, you’d better start acquainting yourself with it for other reasons. 

It’s an American coming of age drama focusing on lead character, Chiron, in three stages of his life — his childhood, teenage years and and early adulthood — and movingly depicts the struggles he faces surrounding his sexuality and identity, including the abuse he endures. The first LGBTQ film and first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture, this is a film well worth a watch.

Brokeback Mountain, 2005

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: You must know about this one. You’ve surely seen it, too; in which case it’s probably time for a re-watch. And if you haven’t yet borne witness to this cinematic triumph, it’s time to rectify that situation just as soon as you can.

Directed by the indefatigable Ang Lee, the film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and the now deceased Heath Ledger as two cowboys: Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, respectively. It depicts the deeply complex and tumultuous sexual and romantic relationship between the two characters over 20 years, beginning in the 1960s and ending in the 80s; and the film has been widely regarded as significantly advancing queer cinema into the mainstream. It’s a must-watch, if ever there was one.

God’s Own Country, 2017

Watch it on: Netflix

What it’s about: We presume you’re all familiar with the supremely talented Josh O’Connor? If we say Prince Charles in The Crown, you’ll know who we’re talking about. Well, he’s one of the two leads in this British romantic drama, together with Alec Secăreanu; and the result is a deeply moving film with two fantastically talented leads.

The setting is the Yorkshire moors, where O’Connor’s character, Johnny, runs his family farm — alongside bouts of binge drinking and secret sexual encounters with other men. When Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Secăreanu) is hired to help on the farm, the two begin a passionate affair; an affair that’s also full of tenderness, showing Johnny his hitherto unrealised capacity for deep affection.

The Imitation Game, 2014

Watch it on: Netflix

What it’s about: Ah, Benedict Cumberbatch. One of the great and the good of British acting stalwarts in the contemporary cinema scene — and he’s at the absolute top of his game here, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing — and if that name’s not familiar to you, it really should be. He was the mathematician who broke the Enigma code during World War II; and his work also went on to create the modern computer. Despite his groundbreaking work for the war effort and in the field of modern technology, Turing was persecuted for his sexuality and ended his own life in 1954, after a year of government-mandated hormonal therapy.

Cumberbatch has since told Gentleman’s Journal that the film emphasises our need to “celebrate our differences and seek out our similarities, rather than create divisive fear”, that the film “teaches us what it is to be human and to love,” and that Turing was “a war hero, a gay icon and the father of the computer age”. Worth a watch? We’d say so.

Pride, 2014

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: It’s another true story, this one — and one starring the likes of Bill Nighy and Andrew Scott, to name a few. Taking the form of a historical comedy-drama, it tells the story of a group of gay and lesbian activists who made it their mission to raise money to help those involved in the 1984 British Miners’ Strike: a movement that would go on to become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.

It was the recipient of the Queer Palm award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival; and it’s guaranteed to make you stand up, clap and cheer. When the activist group is initially turned away by the union, they set off to a small mining village in Wales to make their donation in person; and the result is a joyful, celebratory film of two communities coming together to help make the world a better place.

Philadelphia, 1993

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: This is another groundbreaking, iconic film: in fact, it was one of the first Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS and homophobia in the mainstream. It stars Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett: a talented and promising young lawyer.

Talented and promising he is, indeed — but it’s not long before he’s fired from the prestigious law firm he works at. The reason for his abrupt dismissal is cited as that he ‘just doesn’t have what it takes’; but Beckett knows better. He knows he’s been dismissed because he has AIDS. Beckett defends his professional reputation by hiring a personal-injury lawyer, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington); and what follows is a compelling legal drama that sees Joe Miller gradually overcoming his own homophobia to help Beckett restore his dignity.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, 2019

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: We’ve got a French historical drama here — written and directed by  Céline Sciamma, it’s set on a remote, isolated island in Brittany towards the close of the eighteenth century. It’s another recipient of the Cannes’ Queer Palm award, making Sciamma the first woman to win it; and it won Best Screenplay, too. Sound good so far? You’d better read on…

When a painter, Marianne, is commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of a young gentlewoman named Héloïse, she knows she’s in for a challenge; Héloïse distinctly unwilling to have her portrait painted, and does not want to get married in the slightest. Marianne is commissioned to paint Héloïse’s portrait in secret — she’s hired as a companion, and memorises Héloïse’s features during the day in order to paint them later. But it’s not long before the secret is out, and a romance between the two women begins…a romance destined to end in heartbreak.

Call Me By Your Name, 2017

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: We assume you’re more than familiar with this one; such was the film’s indubitable success — both at the time of its release, and ever since — and that of the much-beloved book of the same name. But there’s no way we were leaving this one out; it’s an iconic coming-of-age drama that’s touched hearts the world over.

The setting is Italy, in the 1980s; and the film focuses on 17-year old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year old graduate assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer), who’s joined the family over the summer to assist Elio’s father, an eminent professor. Although they initially assume they have nothing in common, the two soon become aware of a mutually growing desire.

Carol, 2015

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: It’s Cate Blanchett on tip-top form, together with the fantastically talented Rooney Mara — and it’s been ranked by the British Film Institute as the best LGBT film of all time, as well as being nominated for five Golden Globes, six Oscars and nine BAFTAs. If you’re thinking this sounds like a pretty good film, you’d be right.

It’s set in New York City in the 1950s, and focuses on Blanchett’s titular character — who is struggling her way through a difficult divorce and custody battle — and Mara’s character, Therese, an aspiring photographer. The two meet at the department store where Therese works; but it’s not long before they form a friendship and, later, a romantic relationship. But as Carol’s ex-husband is using her sexuality against her when it comes to getting custody of her daughter, the course of true love between the two women was never going to be able to run smooth.

Bohemian Rhapsody, 2018

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

What it’s about: Well, this one is self-explanatory; but just in case there’s any room for doubt, we’ll fill you in. Starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, it’s a biographical musical drama depicting Mercury’s life and Queen’s story, right from the initial formation of the band to the history-making Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

The best thing about this film is Malek’s performance — but the musical sequences aren’t too bad, either. If you manage to watch that Live Aid concert at the end without rising up from your sofa and cheering with the crowds, you’re a stronger man than most. The film depicts the struggles Mercury underwent with his sexuality — including his break-up with fiancée Mary Austin, when he tells her he’s bisexual and she points out that he’s gay — and the depiction of Mercury’s courage upon learning of his AIDS diagnosis is deeply moving.

Looking for more film insights? From murder to motor-racing, the many near death experiences of Steve McQueen

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