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.
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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 in pursuing 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 it is a tool that main character, Claude, uses 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) was 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. Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)
While we're on the topic of the riot grrrl movement, Itty Bitty Titty Committee is another celebration of its songs and ideas. Anna unexpectedly meets and falls for Sadie who invites her to join a radical feminist group. The wild ride that is IBTC is devoted to teaching the viewer wonderful lessons about love, friendship, body image and standing up for your beliefs.
While the movie received mixed reviews, I loved the depiction of its openly queer characters and their romantic plots. It was also refreshing to see Anna's family be accepting of her sexuality.
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 expanded when she found an intense romantic connection with Emma. Blue was my first foray into sapphic cinema. As I watched it before I came out, Adèle's journey of discovering her sexuality was extremely relatable and many fans have felt the same way about the film. Emma's self-awareness and freedom were also inspiring to watch.
3. But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
This 90s cult classic was not only amusing, but also infused inspiring dynamics. 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, who was encouraging and brave throughout the entire film.
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, that never stopped the main characters from chasing their unbeatable 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 was so intriguing that it gave me chills. This feature's mysterious, thrilling storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat, but the steamy and genuine love between the two female protagonists is most 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.
What is your favorite lesbian movie on this list?
Tell us what your favorite lesbian film is and why in the comments below!