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The 10 best LGBT films of 2018

Here are the movies which made our year.

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude

With all last year’s hype around big releases like God’s Own Country and Call Me By Your Name, it’s fair to say 2018 had its work cut out when it came to pushing forward LGBT represenation on the big screen.

Thankfully, after a fairly slow start to year, 2018 came through, offering some certified cinematic gold to sit alongide the greats of the genre.

So without further ado, here are our top 10 LGBT films of the year…

10) Deadpool 2

Everyone’s favourite Marvel man returned for a second helping of mayhem in May, and while the franchise is yet to give us the pansexual Ryan Reynolds man-orgy we all want – nay, deserve – the film did give us a still-rare example of same-sex superhero love with the introduction of lesbian characters Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna) Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).

9) Alex Strangelove

Proving that streaming services can lead the way when it comes to on-screen diversity, Netflix unveiled this sweet teen comedy drama in June.

Starring newcoming Daniel Doheny, Alex Strangelove tells the story of a high school senior whose plan to lose his virginity to his long-term girlfriend is complicated after he meets a cute gay kid from the other side of town. Cue all the feels.

8) The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Chloë Grace Moretz has long been an outspoken LGBT ally, so it came as no surprise when the 21-year-old former child star jumped at the chance to appear in the big screen adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s 2012 novel about a young gay girl who’s sent to a gay ‘conversion’ therapy camp by her Evangelical family.

7) Whitney

Not since Amy has a documentary film painted such an emotional portrait of one of the world’s most tragic and beloved stars. 

Making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney refuse to shy away from addressing singer’s sexual identity and relationships with women, even as her own family members continue to diminish its importance to her life and struggles.

6) Bohemian Rhapsody

After years of behind-the-scenes drama – which included Sacha Baron Cohen walking away from the role of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and director Bryan Singer being fired after filming had begun – Bohemian Rhapsody finally arrived in October, and it turns out we needn’t have been worried.

Mr Roboti’s Rami Malek’s charismatic performance as Mercury brought to life one of the world’s most beloved LGBT icons as early concern that Bohemian Rhapsody had ‘straight-washed’ his life proved to be unfounded.

5) The Wound

Initially released last year, the waves made by South African film The Wound have continued to reverberate around the world during 2018.

John Trengove’s raw drama charting a closeted relationship between two men in the context of the Xhosa initiation ritual of Ulwaluko sparked protests in South Africa upon its release.

Death threats forced cast and crew members to go into hiding, but the acclaimed film has been widely lauded for its moving portrayal of same-sex love in an environment where it remains one of the last great taboos. 

4) Boy Erased

You wait years for a film addressing the horrors of gay ‘converstion’ therapy, then two come along at once.

It might not be out in the UK until next February, but take it from us: Joel Egerton’s Boy Erased will be worth the extended wait (it’s been out in the US since November).

Like to The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the movie follows a teenage college student (Lucas Hedges) who’s forced to undergo the abusive practise at the behest of his conservative Christan parents (played by Russell Crowe and a superb Nicole Kidman.

Tackling a vital issue with sensitivity and with a supporting turn from another of our faves, Troye Sivan, Boy Erased is one that will stay with you long after the lights come up.

3) The Favourite

A riotous, riveting period romp (in every sense of the word), The Favourite’s crowning glory is its lesbian love triangle between Queen Anne (played by Olivia Colman), who reigned over England and Ireland from 1702-1707, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and a young maid, Abigail (Emma Stone).

A deliciously funny drama offering a fresh spin on a little-known slice of LGBT history, expect it to be hoovering up all the awards next year.

2) 120 BPM (Beats per Minute)

After debuting to overwhleming criticial acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, stunning gay AIDS drama ‘120 BPM (Beats per Minute)’ arrived in UK cinemas this summer.

Directed by Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys), the French-language film provided one the year’s stand-out cinematic moments as it told the story of a group of AIDS activists in early ’90s Paris fighting to make the French government take urgent action at the height of the epidemic.

Partly inspired by the expriences of Campillo and co-screenwriter Philippe Mangeot, who campaigned as part of the French chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), 120 BPM (Beats per Minute) paints an emotional human portrait of the crisis as it charts the everyday stuggles of a community fighting to survive.

1) Love, Simon

We’ll level with you: there are, quote unquote, ‘better’ films on this list, but in terms of cultural impact and changing the game for LGBT cinema in years to come, none came close to matching the success of Love, Simon in 2018.

Based on the best-selling book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli it tells the story of a closeted high school senior Simon (Nick Robinson), whose life is turned upside down after a classmate threatens to out him.

Directed by Riverdale producer (and husband of footballer Robbie Rogers) Greg Berlanti, the all-too-adorable teen movie marked one of the first major studio coming out stories to be aimed specifically at a teen audience – and if Jennifer Garner’s moving speech about parenting LGBT kids didn’t have you reaching for the tissues, frankly you should dial 999, because you’re dead inside.

Most importantly however was Love, Simon’s success at the box office: Grossing over $66million worldwide, it stands as 20th Century Fox’s third-highest earning teen romance film after The Fault in Our Stars and Romeo + Juliet – proving that mainstream audiences aren’t put off by LGBT storylines.

Here’s to many more of them in 2019…