It's rare to find brilliant depictions of lesbian and queer women in cinema. Being underrepresented in media can be frustrating beyond belief. But instead of focusing on the downfalls of lesbian movies, let's celebrate the ones that are accurate, meaningful, optimistic or even life-changing. (I assure you, they exist.)
We've curated a list for you below of the seven best lesbian romance films ever made. They'll make you laugh, cry, and maybe fall in love with a few leading ladies as well.
7. Kiss Me (2011)
This alluring Swedish drama delivered gorgeous cinematography and an authentic love story that you definitely don't want to miss.
Mia finds a strong, mutual attraction with her soon-to-be stepsister Frida. But the problem is, Mia is recently engaged to her boyfriend. Will she follow through with her marriage and be unhappy, or follow her heart and pursue a relationship with Frida? You'll have to watch the film to find out.
6. All Over Me (1997)
All Over Me is vastly underrated, but it is one of the greatest lesbian films of all time.
This coming-of-age tale covers social issues, fearlessness and queer love in an outstanding way. Music is also an essential part of the film, as the main character, Claude, uses music to cope with the confusing and tough aspects of her world.
The romance between her and adorable, pink-haired rocker Lucy (The L Word's Leisha Hailey) is magical. The movie also gifted us with a killer soundtrack featuring bands such as Sleater-Kinney and Babes In Toyland — in other words, a true embodiment of the riot grrrl music scene. What's not to love?
5. D.E.B.S. (2004)
You could easily say that D.E.B.S. is the lesbian version of Charlie’s Angels. This campy feature revolves around a female-led team of spies who were recruited for their ability to lie, cheat and fight. A tale of forbidden romance ensues when D.E.B.S. leader, Amy, falls in love with the villain of the movie, Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). The connection between the two characters was realistic, endearing and fun to watch. Though Amy and Lucy were on opposing sides, they don't let international espionage get in the way of their blossoming love.
4. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Whether you love it or loathe it, Blue Is the Warmest Color is a film that many queer women are familiar with. I for one am proud to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. This intelligent and passionate film beautifully captured how Adèle's life expands when she finds an intense romantic connection with Emma. Adèle's journey of discovering her sexuality is extremely relatable, and Emma's self-awareness and freedom is also inspiring to watch.
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3. But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
This '90s cult classic is not only amusing, but also highly inspirational. When high school cheerleader Megan is suspected of being gay by her friends and family, she is sent to a residential rehab camp called True Directions. While trying to survive the lies and atrocities of conversion therapy, she becomes aware of her sexuality, and even falls in love. Clea DuVall melted my heart as Graham, whose bravery and encouragement changes Megan's life forever.
2. Carol (2015)
There's a reason why Carol was named the best LGBT film of all time. Based on Patricia Highsmith's novel The Price of Salt, this movie explores how Therese's life opens up when she forms a romantic connection with a glamorous woman named Carol. The story takes place in the early 1950s — a time when being a lesbian was a crime, and LGBT culture was forbidden. Thankfully, this never stops the main characters from chasing their unstoppable love. Chemistry and incredible character development drove Carol's plot, and not once did it dip into harmful stereotypes.
1. Bound (1996)
When it comes to neo-noir classic Bound, where do I begin? It's truly a timeless, sexy masterpiece that will resonate with me forever. The dialogue between Corky and Violet is so intriguing that it gave me chills. This feature's mysterious, thrilling storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the steamy and genuine love between the two female protagonists is captivating. Will they break away from their pasts and be together in the end? For the answer to that question and more, you'll have to watch the film.