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Queer Romance Films

5 min read

While most of my monthly themes are random and don’t always connect to anything specific, this month’s actually does – Queer Romance Films for Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s utterly cheesy – forgive me! But after last year’s success with 5 Queer RomCom’s For Valentine’s Day, I just HAD to keep up the theme. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with with great romances.

I have a second confession though – it was NOT easy to pick this month’s films! The first problem lies with the fact that most Romances are also listed as Dramas making it very difficult to separate the two. (And that’s without factoring in the Comedies for RomComs like last year’s post!) The second hurdle is that there a plethora of great queer romance films, with many rightly deserving of their high scores on IMDb.

In the end, I’ve opted to start with three iconic & groundbreaking queer romances. I’m sure you’ll understand their individual significances as you read on. However to add extra context and variety, I’ve opted for two more lesser-known yet equally powerful queer romance films – one is actually one of my favourites! Try to decipher which film is which – but don’t forget to comment and let me know which is your favourite queer romance film.

[Note: Not all of these films have full reviews yet – but they’re added to the quickly growing list of films I plan to tackle soon!]

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In 1980s Italy, romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old student and the older man hired as his father’s research assistant.

With almost a poetic flare that encapsulates the essence of ‘s novel of the same name, “Call Me By Your Name” begins – and ends – in silence. But it’s the incredible romantic story that unfolds in between that gives power to this queer romance film! We can all recall our first same-sex love; that awkwardness of finding ourselves while also finding out how to build connections with another person. That’s what Elio (Timothée Chalamet) goes through, and what we watch unfold, in the slow building yet sensual connection with Oliver (Armie Hammer). However, it’s the cinematographic elements that really make this story shine on screen. The mix of classical music and pop hits of the 80’s along with the picturesque northern Italy are simply the perfect setting. While this queer romance film ends with a bit of heartache, there is no doubt that “Call Me By Your Name” is a romantic film. Even more importantly, it’s a queer film that every LGBTQ person should watch at least once!

Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker, Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.

With similar stunningly beautiful landscapes and a closeted homosexual at the film’s centre, “God’s Own Country” is often referred to as the “British” “Brokeback Mountain.” However, both are powerful films that stand alone on their own right! In a way that’s hard to explain, I think “God’s Own Country” is a bit more realistic with a stronger emotional arc for the main character. Johnny is a loner, stuck on the farm – until Gheorghe comes to help out for a short time. It’s actually the smaller details in the cinematographic elements that really help the simplistic story shine. Regardless of whether or not you were a fan of “Brokeback Mountain”, I strongly encourage everyone to watch “God’s Own Country.”

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Film poster for "Just A Question Of Love (Juste Une Question d'Amour)"

After his gay cousin dies from hepatitis, young Laurent (Cyrille Thouvenin), who lives with his best friend Carole (Caroline Veyt), falls in love with Cedric (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié), a plant scientist. He’s afraid to inform his conservative parents that he is gay.

“Juste Une Question d’Amour” is one of my all-time favourite films! Unfortunately, it’s one that many aren’t even aware of because it was a French TV Movie. However, it was actually quite groundbreaking at the time – even for France! (Anyone else notice that French films tend to be very well written and lack hangups that American films often do?) This queer romance film is both realistic and tender, showing both the fears many queer teenagers have about coming out to their parents while equally showing different reactions from parents themselves. Laurent’s parents are very conservative, but Laurent has good reason to fear coming out to them – his aunt & uncle kicked his cousin out of the home after he came out!

However, there are two main reasons why I enjoy “Just A Question of Love”: the struggle of Laurent finally opening himself up to loving another man; and how his parents eventually come around towards acceptance despite their initial reaction. The final scene between Laurent and his father really tugs at my heart strings! While you will need to either know French of find a copy with subtitles, I highly recommend that you go watch this queer romance film today!

After his lover (Hugh Grant) rejects him, a young man (James Wilby) trapped by the oppressiveness of Edwardian society tries to come to terms with and accept his sexuality.

When you think of queer classic films, “Maurice” is at the top of that list – and rightfully so! The film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel of the same name is iconic on two fronts. First of all, the film stars the incredible talents of Hugh Grant, James Wilby, alongside a very young Rupert Graves. The chemistry that Wilby shares between both Grant and Graves is heartfelt and sincere. However, it’s perhaps because of the second reason that the film is so iconic – it’s a great representation of how homosexuals were treated, both within society and criminally, in Edwardian times. While the film’s story has a darker undertone that more befits a drama, I still contend that “Maurice” is one of the greatest gay romances told on screen. It is a MUST see for any queer person!

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After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell (Tom Cullen) heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen (Chris New) but what’s expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.

I absolutely loved “Weekend” the first time I watched this queer romance film. Visually, it’s a stunning film that takes its time to allow a rather natural romance unfold – despite being under a true time crunch scenario. It may not be the happiest of endings, but it’s one that is all too true and realistic. Writer/Director Andrew Haigh truly captures the emotions that both guys go through in a whirlwind “weekend” romance. Perhaps I can relate to the story even more because I too have had a similar experience myself with a time-strained romance. “Weekend” is truly a film that everyone should watch at least once; even our straight allies can relate to the film’s story.