Top Ten Queer Films You Can Watch With Your Grandma
Now that Americans have achieved marriage equality, queer people are on the path to becoming more and more visible both in society and at home. Here are some of our top picks of films to start conversations about queer identity with older relatives who are beginning to think about LGBT issues for the first time.
Wilde tells the story of writer and personality Oscar Wilde leading up to his eventual persecution by the British government for his homosexuality.
Recommended for: Beginning conversations about discrimination against queer people.
9. Philadelphia, Jonathan Demme
Tom Hanks portrays Philadelphia attorney Andrew Beckett in this Academy Award-winning film as he faces discrimination at work in the midst of his battle with AIDS. The film traces Beckett’s path to legal representation and eventual victory over homophobia in the Philadelphia legal system.
Recommended for: Talking about discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, particularly those who have contracted HIV or developed AIDS.
8. Boys Don’t Cry, Kimberly Peirce
Brandon Teena struggles to hide his trans identity as he tries to fit in with a new group of friends. When his identity is discovered, he is brutally assaulted and murdered.
Recommended for: Introducing relatives to issues and dangers that affect trans people.
7. That’s Not Us, William Sullivan
Three couples, two same-sex and one opposite-sex, embark on an improvised journey as they celebrate one of the last weekends of summer.
Recommended for: Talking about long-term relationships amongst same-sex couples.
6. The Wedding Banquet, Ang Lee
Simon and Wei Tung embark on a journey to save their friend Wei-Wei from deportation whilst hiding Wei Tung’s sexuality from his traditional Taiwanese parents.
Recommended for: Talking about queerness across cultural (and geographical) divides.
5. The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening portray a lesbian couple who have both given birth to a child using the same sperm donor. Once their children meet their biological father, things turn sour as Paul, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, begins to undermine moms Nic and Joni’s authority.
Recommended for: Beginning a discussion about conception amongst same sex female couples.
4. Milk, Gus Van Sant
Academy Award winner Sean Penn portrays San Francisco politician Harvey Milk in this stunning biopic. Milk follows the activist and humanitarian as he rises through San Francisco politics to become a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors until his life was cut short by his assassination by former city supervisor Dan White.
Recommended for: Starting a conversation about discrimination against queer people and the dangers out queer people face in public life.
3. The Birdcage, Mike Nichols
Robin Williams never fails to disappoint in this romantic comedy about the clashing of families as they unite in marriage. The Birdcage offers a hilarious take on mixing two polar opposites in order to form a harmonious union.
Recommended for: Introducing more conservative family members to the possibility of a smooth relationship between same-sex couples and the rest of the family.
2. The Hours, Stephen Daldry
The story of how Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway affects three women across three different time periods. Daldry’s storytelling zooms in on the life of bisexual Clarissa, whose former partner and friend Richard is dying of AIDS. Complete with a killer soundtrack, courtesy of classical composer Philip Glass.
Recommended for: Beginning to discuss mental and physical health issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Fried Green Tomatoes, Jon Avnet
Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison’s friendship turns romantic throughout the course of their relationship in a small whistle-stop town. This romantic comedy will have you alternating between rolling on the floor with laughter and reaching for the tissues.
Recommended for: Starting basic conversations about same-sex couples.
We’re all in development. Recent increases in exposure for issues that still face the LGBTQ+ community have afforded us the opportunity to answer questions that our loved ones may have been afraid to answer in the past. Film is the key to creating relatability – let’s use it as a tool to soften hearts and broaden minds.