ATTENTION: Check out the updated version of the best independent gay movies for 2016 here.
It’s that time of year again! The one where we all head #homefortheholidays and curl up in our childhood beds with the lights off to avoid awkward Christmas conversations. And even if you’re alone this holiday, there’s no reason to stay alone in bed. Open your browser, turn off the porn and head straight to Netflix for some proper holiday binging.
This year seemed to be a boon in LGBT cinema. Changing tides in society, thanks to several big-time public officials and celebrities coming out these past years have led to greater acceptance and increased visibility. We’ve got lead characters on network TV played by gay individuals, and more and more LGBT characters hitting mainstream movies and TV series.
And with all that, we’ve still got great gay-themed films. I’ve suffered through all the hot sex scenes and gritty politics to come up with this list of favorite gay films released in 2015. I’ve tried not to give away too many spoilers, either — so read up on them below and then look ’em all up on Netflix or ask your local indie cinema to screen these fantastic gay films.
Top 5 Gay Films of 2015
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Seashore (2015, Brazil)
One of the sweetest gay films, this coming-of-age story takes place by the seashore in Brazil, between two teenage boys. It’s a kind and compelling story of friends, of their short journey of self-discovery. They each have their own issues and while on a short trip together to the Brazilian seaside, they must resolve them. Each boy comes to terms with his own problem. There’s little drama in the movie, but that’s what makes it so special.
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Nasty Baby (2015, USA)
“What the fuck?” If there’s one phrase to take away from this film, it’s that. In fact, the lead character says it approximately 100 different times in the last act of the movie, when—well, I’m not going to tell you. The movie, taking place in Brooklyn, tells the story of a gay couple and their best friend (played by the wonderful Kristen Wiig)—who as an unconventional threesome plan to have a baby together. There’s something really special about this story. It’s contemporary and feels very real, very much like a life I’ve imagined for myself. Which makes the surprises of the movie that much more traumatic. There’s no wonder why Nasty Baby won the 2015 Teddy Award at the Berlinale Film Festival.
Watch the Nasty Baby trailer below.
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Oriented (2015, Israel)
This gay film (it’s a documentary) tells the story of three gay Palestinians living in Tel Aviv. Created by Jake Witzenfeld, the movie unfolds through some pretty typical experiences familiar for any type of individual, but the three protagonists experience life with their own identity crises—much like other twenty-somethings. The film follows the individuals for several months and covers topics such as Israeli-Palestinian politics, youth, relationships, Zionism, family and sexuality. It’s an engaging and curious story that leaves you wondering “what’s next?”
Watch the trailer below or learn more about Oriented on their official website.
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Dressed as a Girl (2015, UK)
Another documentary, this UK film follows the lives of some of East London’s most notorious drag stars and the East London drag community in general. The film follows their lives for almost six years, from festivals (Glastonbury) to the dark and dank clubs in East London. For anyone with a slightly passing interest in drag politics, this film offers a bit of insight into the world of drag, and it does so in an entertaining and engaging way. The star and ringleader of the film is Jonny Woo, still active in the East London drag community with the popular bar and indie club, The Glory (highly recommended for any gay night out in London!).
Read more about the film on the official Dressed as a Girl website, or watch the trailer below.
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Drown (2015, Australia)
This Australian gay film is a powerful story about masculinity, following the fictional lives of surfers in Sydney. Jealousy, homophobic fear and unrequited lust trickle throughout the movie, until a particularly frightening final scene. The film, beautifully shot, jumps between past and present, happy moments and sad ones, peaceful times and episodes of violence—making the tense but singular conflict really shine through the storytelling.
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For more about gay films, read my other reviews here.