10 Queer Movies to Make Her Break Up With Him

Someone recently found Autostraddle by Googling “movies to make her break up with him” and, friends, it really touched my heart! Because we’ve all been there! Wanting the girl we like to break up with some stupid boy! Drew, our resident queer movie expert, and I talked it out and decided there’s two ways you can go here. You can watch a queer movie with your friend that is just so dang sexy they might catch on fire, or you can watch a queer movie with your friend that has a misandrist angle to it. Bonus points if it’s a film that does both of those things! Drew and I made a quick list of 10 queer movies that’ll surely make her break up with him. (And if you’re looking for movies about friendship and misandry, Carmen’s already got you covered on that!) Please weigh in with your own helpful suggestions in the comments!


Bound

Corky and Violet stare at each other, sweatily

From Drew’s review

Bound doesn’t queer the genre just by making them both women — it queers the genre by deepening both characters. Corky isn’t a fool and Violet isn’t evil. They’re both just desperate. Hot and desperate and in love. Violet uses her sexuality to get what she wants, but with Corky it’s genuine. As Violet says, with Corky it’s sex — with everyone else it’s just work. It’s not subversive to have Corky trust Violet, but it’s absolutely subversive to have Violet prove worth trusting. She’s only a femme fatale in the sense that she’s a femme and if you’re a man and you deserve it she’ll kill you. But Corky isn’t a man and her gamble pays off. Yes, this is ultimately just a gay movie about overcoming trust issues.

The Handmaiden

The women of The Handmaiden stand in the rain

From Kayla’s review

Then there are the erotics that Hideko seizes for herself, ones that are technically taboo and yet entirely her own. There are classic lesbian period drama erotic images like Sook-hee and Hideko undoing approximately one thousand buttons along each other’s spines, like Sook-hee watching Hideko pull on gloves, like a bathing scene that is maybe the sexiest scene in the whole movie, and I’m including the actual sex scenes. Now let’s talk about those actual sex scenes! They are long; they are spitty; they are sweaty. Hideko and Sook-hee lap at each other and buck their bodies against each other and want each other so, so much.

Kissing Jessica Stein

Helen pours a glass of wine for Jessica

From Drew’s review

I used to hate this ending. I related deeply to Jessica and her rejection of queerness felt like a betrayal. But the years have passed, and as my own queerness has changed my relationship to my family and myself, I’ve realized I’m really more of a Helen anyway. The fact is queerness freed Jessica from the confines of an expected life and whether she wants to date another woman or settle down with Josh Meyers that will always be true. That’s the power of a queer identity — no matter how short-lived.

Desert Hearts

Cay caresses Vivian's face

From Heather’s review

Desert Hearts is the first lesbian movie that made me cry. The death and dismemberment and dashed dreams of the films I saw before it, that was all fine and good and unsurprising. Where I grew up, lesbians were witches, and witches burn, and I knew that. It was the tenderness of Desert Hearts that got me, the hope, and the idea that a woman didn’t need to have it all nailed down by the time she hit 30, that a woman could give in to what she wanted and just figure it out as she went along, no matter how young or old she was, or what she’d committed to do or be in the past.

Carol

Carol and Therese glare at the notions salesman

From Heather’s article on Carol’s Oscars snub:

Carol‘s director, Todd Haynes, who was also snubbed by the Academy for the first time this awards season, refused to center on masculine experience (he cut a scene where Therese gave Richard a hand job, for example, deciding to eschew all male pleasure on-screen). He also made the bold decision to allow Carol‘s audience to laugh at men. Not with men. No, Haynes invited viewers to see the men in his movie — these husbands and boyfriends and duplicitous know-it-all notions sellers — through the eyes of queer women and to laugh openly at their silliness, unearned confidence, and expendability.

The most triumphant moment of the film comes when Carol walks out on Harge (and a roomful of male lawyers) after declaring that she will not live against her grain. He is the embodiment of toxic masculinity and she shrugs him off like her fur coat.

The Half of It

Aster shares a knowing look with Ellie in the bathroom mirror

From Drew Gregory’s love letter to The Half of It:

You aren’t a love story, but that doesn’t mean your love story is any less important. Watching Ellie and Aster connect — even under the guise of Ellie as Paul — is overwhelming. It’s that thing, right, where you’re in a small town and nobody understands you and then suddenly you find one person who does. And, sure, there’s probably a whole world of people out there who could understand you like they do, but you don’t know that. You’re young. And for the first time in your life you don’t feel alone. Even if someday you realize you weren’t actually soulmates, it still means everything, and will always mean everything, because when life felt impossible and the future seemed bleak that person showed you that you could belong.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ruth and Idgie lie together on a blanket

From Varina’s review

My favorite lesbian movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, is not even technically a lesbian movie. Technically it’s a movie about two women who live together, raise a child together, defend and love each other, and have sexually-charged food fights in a Totally Heterosexual way. The relationship is a lot less subtextual in the book (although it’s never actually spelled out in the book either, you’ll have to read fanfiction for that), but I’ll always love the movie all the same. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it over the years, as it was a regular feature in the network TV Saturday Afternoon movie line-up throughout my own formative years. It’s also probably the only queer film you can comfortably watch with your foot-washing Baptist granny. While the queer aspect may have been covert, the relationship between Idgie and Ruth was a strong, positive and beautiful one which made a big impression on my own burgeoning yet equally subtextual queer identity. Before I even could fully articulate why, I thought the picnic scene where Idgie pulls out fresh honeycomb from the hive for Ruth was one of the most romantic scenes in film.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Marianne and Héloïse share a look in front of the fireplace

From Drew’s review: 

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is not simply a work of the female gaze, it is not simply a work of lesbian cinema. It is pushing against the boundaries of the screen, frantically, lovingly, desperately, erotically, grasping grasping grasping for a new language, a new way of seeing… Marianne studies and she paints, falling in love as an act of creation. Every glance thrills her as an artist, overwhelms her as a potential lover, and pains her as a spy… I will not reduce actors Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel to adjectives. To say they are good or great or brilliant is insufficient. Sciamma’s attempt to capture without controlling allows for their performances to feel accomplished in a way that’s separate from the viewer. They are each other’s only audience.

I Can’t Think Straight

Leyla and Talia share a hug

This movie made both Natalie and Valerie Anne’s top ten lists, already a shining endorsement. Natalie says she didn’t fall in love with I Can’t Think Straight right away, but when it clicked, it clicked. Valerie says maybe it nudged her one step closer out of the closet. Seems like exactly the kind of thing you want to show the girl you want to break up with her boyfriend.

9 to 5

Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda in 9 to 5

I’m going to count this as queer because lesbian icon Lily Tomlin is in it. What you get with 9 to 5 is a hilarious and resonant movie that still holds up after all these decades, a reminder that men have always been terrible, the message that no one will ever understand you like the women in your life, and a perfect bridge to Grace and Frankie, the greatest TV show ever about best friends realizing they’re soul mates.

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And A+ members keep the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you're able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1200 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. “All i wanna do” ( “strike” and “the hairy bird” being other titles) from 1998.
    Kinda Feminist, set in 1963, all girl school with a young gaby hoffmann as the main character also ,Kirsten Dunst ,Rachael Leigh Cook,Vincent Kartheiser,
    monica Keena.Matthew Lawrence.Heather Matarazzo,(!)Merritt Wever and lynn redgrave as headmistress

    From the headmistress:
    “They’re not just girls. They’re you. And if you get to know them, you might just discover yourself. And that is, believe it or not, just as great an adventure as the opposite sex.”
    * grins*

    All the girls ganging up on the security guards banging their hockey sticks. Men being afraid … What a scene…

    The ” Vote , vote, vote” Girls chant….

    I love this article, this explains it so much it marvels in the misandry and feminist stance and in the funny scenes and quips… Very underrated film sadly.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/the-hairy-bird-all-i-wanna-do-adult-rewatch

    Its kinda queer even though
    does not a distinctly lesbian love story in the film like others , one character who dated boys in the school came out as queer as adult monica keena ( in the film as a character not in rl) def had an impact concerning my suppressed queerness as a very young woman. Even though its still a light entertainment high school comedy , i was and am still used to heavier/ darker films storywise.

  2. I wake up every morning to say thank you Lord Zakuza for bringing back my partner who left for me 3 years. If you need his help here’s his contact. Email: lord zakuza7 @ gmail. com or website: lordzakuzaspells.com

  3. I love this list so much, and I really am looking forward to the comments – I want more movies in this category! In the classic gay film category I’ve gotta say Maurice – it’s got pretty much zero lady content but it’s a very healing film.

  4. I love this up cycling of content based on a tease from my favorite part of the weekly newsletter.
    Brilliant!!!

    There is so much depth in AS content, so this curated collection is a pleasure to sit back and enjoy.

  5. Aw. Really? I know this list is in good fun. I know it’s coming from a good place, really. But still… goddamn. Autostraddle have been so affirming & inclusive of bi+ folks recently and this title, this just kinda stings a bit. I get it, really; I know it’s tongue in cheek, it’s not saying your hot friend *will* or *should* break up with ‘him’, it’s more about the ‘the yearning’. Okay. But still, it’s honestly a bit exhausting to wake up to this, as a bi woman with a good and loving male partner: yet another reminder that only *some* of my relationships are valued here, while others are treated as fair game for ridicule, or as obstacles to be overcome 😔

    • Bisexuals must be exhausted by a lot of things. Especially when they are dating someone of the opposite sex and immediately begin fitting society’s heteronormative narrative that’s forced on the rest of us. It’s a humorous article. No one is erasing you with this. Lighten up, Francis.

      • Funny thing, you’re totally right! Bisexual people *are* exhausted by a lot of things! So much so that bi+ people statistically have worse mental health than other LGBT+ folks because they are so often made to feel unwelcome in queer communities. And having half their relationships treated as gross and expendable definitely contributes to that.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!