60 Best Lesbian Movies on Tubi

Tubi is an upstart whippersnapper in the streaming space, rising in popularity for its free service that offers a massive library of films and television shows available to all of us in exchange for our willingness to watch a few commercials along the way. There are, by my count, at least 200 movies about lesbian, bisexual and queer women and/or trans people on Tubi, and the range of quality amongst those 200 is as vast as all the world’s oceans, from movies that were shot in an abandoned office park for $5 to actual real Hollywood cinema flicks. Here’s our guide to some of what’s best amongst queer and lesbian movies on Tubi.


Chutney Popcorn (1999)

Kayla called Chutney Popcorn “the South Asian Dyke Rom-Com I always wished Bend It Like Beckham had been.” Funny and dykey and warm and centering a compelling group of lesbian friends, Chutney Popcorn is a romance but it’s also about family— the one we’re born with and the ones we choose.

A Woman Like Eve (1979)
In this Dutch drama, a woman on holiday in France with her husband means a young feminist from a commune, falls in love, and leaves her husband —resulting in a child custody battle in her departure’s wake.

Better Than Chocolate (1999)
Rooted in a fully realized Vancouver lesbian community with all its in-jokes and bars and bookstores and drama and overdone sex scenes, some find “Better than Chocolate” cloying, others appreciate its absolute dedication to being entirely itself.

But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Jamie Babbitt’s dark comedy holds up year after year with its satirical take on conversion therapy, starring Natasha Lyonne, Melanie Lynskey, Clea Duvall and RuPaul.

Chutney Popcorn (1999)
Kayla called Chutney Popcorn “the South Asian Dyke Rom-Com I Always Wished Bend It Like Beckham Had Been.” Funny and dykey and warm centering a compelling group of lesbian friends, Chutney Popcorn is a romance but it’s also about family— the one we’re born with and the ones we choose.

The Children’s Hour (1961)
“Lost amidst this plot, amidst the lies, the ruined lives, the self-hatred and shame and suicide, is a detail I really must underline: Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine play queer women in love. These two adorable lesbians crackle with sexual tension and even in the most dramatic moments connect in a way that’s heartwarming and sexy.” – Drew Burnett Gregory, Thirsty Classics: “The Children’s Hour” Is All About Shirley MacLaine’s Hair

The Truth About Jane (2000)
This TV movie is very much of its time, but features a winning performance by Stockard Channing as Janice, the struggling mother of a gay daughter in high school — and by RuPaul, who plays Jimmy, Janice’s friend who helps her process the news and inch towards acceptance.


Queer Documentaries

Southwest of Salem (2016)

The tragic story of four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of the sexual assault of two small children during the 80s and 90s witch-hunt Satanic Panic era — and their fight for freedom.

Read Yvonne Marquez’s review of Southwest of Salem

Chavela (2017)
The life of boundary-breaking lesbian ranchera singer Chavela Vargas — the first artist in Mexico to openly sing to another woman on stage, one of the first to wear pants pre-1950 — is given a loving tribute in this documentary.

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009)
This film tells the story of legendary lesbian couple Edie and Thea, from their childhoods to their first meeting in 1963 to Thea’s M.S. diagnosis and their eventual marriage in Toronto in 2007.

Regarding Susan Sontag (2014)
“While it would be easy to create a sterilized portrait of the accomplished intellectual, Kates refrains from doing so. No subject is too delicate: Sontag’s ego, contradictions, futile attempts at becoming a successful novelist, inability to play nice with other feminists, and infamous glass closet are all touched upon during Regarding‘s 90 minutes.” – Sarah Fonseca, “Regarding Susan Sontag”: A Style Guide for the Young, Queer, and Whipsmart

The Aggressives (2005)
This groundbreaking documentary, filmed in New York between 1997 and 2004, cast light on the thriving queer subculture of “Aggressives,” or “AGs,” QPOC who have adopted masculine behaviors and styles, built their own social spaces and are challenging traditional ideas of gender and sexuality.

The Punk Singer (2013)
An adoring portrait of punk rocker and Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna and her position at the forefront of the 1990s “Riot Grrl” movement.

Wish Me Away (2012)
When Chely Wright came out in 2010, it was a big f*cking deal —country music simply had no space for a lesbian, but she couldn’t keep swallowing her own self forever. Wish Me Away follows her through her childhood through her early success in Nashville and through the painful process of coming out publicly, and dealing with the repercussions.


Lesbian Romance

Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

“I’m here for the intense summer romance between Sam and Rose. I suspect you will be, too. Together they make gentle jokes and stroke thumbs and their eyes look like heart emojis. Everything around them just feels… bubbly. And full and new and, quite simply, great. I don’t remember the last time I got to see young black lesbians have the opportunity to love each other like this on a big screen.”Carmen Phillips

A New York Christmas Wedding (2019)
This wacky trip of a lesbian Christmas movie sees Jenny (Nia Fairweather), nervous about her engagement to her fiancé, David, when a guardian angel Azraael (Cooper Koch) shows up to give her a vision into the future she could’ve lived but did not — in which she ended up with her childhood best friend, Gabrielle (Adriana DeMeo). “Instead of some far-off Snow White Christmas Village, it’s an queer Afro-Latina looking for love in a very not whitewashed New York,” wrote Carmen in her review.

I Can’t Think Straight (2007)
Tala, the daughter of wealthy Christian Palestinians living in Jordan, is prepping to marry when she meets Leyla, an aspiring writer and British Indian Muslim woman who’s also in a relationship with a man — but the two women hit it off, and what ensues will shake up their lives and their families forever. Erin enjoyed this movie so much she wanted to send its writer/director an Edible Arrangement.

Kiss Me/Kiss Myg (2011)
Mia meets Frida at an engagement party for Mia’s father and Frida’s mother and is immediately drawn to Frida, an out lesbian. But their attraction poses a pretty serious problem because Mia is also engaged to be married, to a man (his name is Tim of course).

love, spells and all that (2019)
Reyhan and Eren had a relationship as teenage girls in the small Turkish town where they grew up — Eren the daughter of a powerful politician and Reyhan of one of his workers — but that ended in scandal, and Eren left home for university in Paris. Now it’s 20 years later. Eren is back and wants to pick up where they left off, but Reyhan “can’t simply erase two decades and run away to live a lifestyle of abundance and lesbianism.” Also, she’s wondering if Eren’s only still interested at all because of the eternal love spell Reyhan put on her all those years ago.

Princess Cyd (2017)
Heartwarming and sincere, Princess Cyd is the story of a life-changing summer in which our titular character lives with her estranged writer aunt, falls for a neighborhood boy and also her local barista, Katie. Heather writes: “Princess Cyd is quiet almost to the point of stillness and deeply generous.”

Rafiki (2018)
This “beautiful, colorful celebration of Black queer love” sees two young women in Kenya, Kena and Ziki, falling in love in a country where homosexuality is illegal and so many of their friends and family members aren’t supportive of their relationship. Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu creates art in a style she calls “Afrobubblegum, presenting a ‘fun, fierce and fantastical representation of Africa.”

Signature Move (2017)
Fawzia Mirza’s “late-in-life coming-of-age lucha libre romance” is about a thirtysomethign Pakistani Muslim lesbian in Chicago who’s taking care of with her mother and training to be a wrestler when she meets and falls for a woman who challenges her to embrace her true self..

The Summer of Sangaile (2015)
“Alanté Kavaïté’s coming-of-age queer love story is less about the spectacle of the thing and more about the emotional nuance. It’s dark in places but as light as first love’s wings in others… Summer of Sangaile will compel you to smile really big and shed three knowing, bittersweet tears.”Heather Hogan

The Feels (2018)
Andi (Constance Wu) and Lu (Angela Trimbur) corral their friends into California Wine County for a pre-wedding bachelorette party, where Lu makes the drunk confession that she’e never had an orgasm —much to Andi’s surprise, who thought they were having the best sex of their lives. Everybody pitches in to solve this problem, but they’ve got a lot of their own emotional hijinks to tend to along the way. Heather writes: “it’s authentic and it’s tender and while the climax is a little bit rushed — eh hem — it’s a gay happy ending. And that, itself, is still revolutionary.


Indie Queer Movies

the miseducation of cameron post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

Desiree Akhvan’s adaptation of emily m. danforth’s stunning coming-of-age novel follows teenage Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the early nineties who’s sent to conversion camp after her boyfriend catches her having sex with her secret girlfriend Coley Taylor, in the backseat of Coley’s car. There she meets Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane), who was raised in a hippie commune, and begins to discover who she really is and who she wants to be.

“This is a quiet movie, Akhavan trusting Ashley Connor’s cinematography, Julian Wass’ score, and her actors’ faces to tell the story. Akhavan never lets the seriousness of the subject matter overwhelm the moments of humor and joy — the suggestion that our best hope for holding onto ourselves is to find community.” – Drew Gregory

A Date For Mad Mary (2016)
After a brief stay in prison, Mad Mary returns to her hometown, where she must push back against her reputation to get a date to her best friend’s wedding. “The film balances its subject matter and its tones due to sharp writing and Kerslake’s truly remarkable performance,” writes Drew. “This is really a gem of a film.”

Adam (2019)
Based on Ariel Schrag’s graphic novel, Adam is the story of an awkward teenage boy who spends his last high school summer in New York with his sister and the queer and trans community she’s surrounded herself with. When those gay friends assume Adam himself is trans, he doesn’t correct them. It’s a self-conscious, humorous snapshot of young queer life in the late ’00s.

Appropriate Behavior (2014)
Desiree Akhavan’s debut film, described at the time by Kaelyn as “the movie everyone in the queer lady-loving community and indie film universe is buzzing about.,” is still a gem. It tells the story of a bisexual Brooklynite reeling from a breakup with her girlfriend (Rebecca Henderson) and battling the expectations of her traditional Persian family.

Bare (2015)
Dianna Agron is Sarah Barton, a small town girl-next-door who’s friendship with a drug-dealing drifter (Paz de la Huerta) becomes a hazy, intense romance. Come for the chemistry and performances from Agron and de la Huerta; the script itself is pretty mid.

BFFs (2014)
Two straight best friends pretend to be a couple to enable them to attend a relationship retreat one of them bought with a now-ex boyfriend. But once there, the lines between friendship and romance blur in a film that’s a funny and lighthearted look at the silly complexities of female friendship.

Boy Meets Girl (2014)
One of the first films to show a trans woman played by a trans actress dating another woman, “Boy Meets Girl” is a lighthearted romance about Ricky, a 21-year-old bisexual Virginia trans woman dreaming of a design career in New York, who makes two surprising connections in one unforgettable summer.

Goldfish Memory (2003)
“Like Love, Actually, but Irish, gay, and riddled with commitment issues this ensemble romantic comedy follows the lives and intersecting relationships of several delightfully messy people. Equally split between gay, lesbian, and straight romances, some storylines work better than others, but all of the actors are charming and the film is smarter about love than most of these kinds of romcoms.”Drew Gregory

Life Partners (2014)
Leighton Meester is Sasha, a lesbian who’s entrenched in a deeply co-dependent best friendship with Paige, who is straight — a friendship that’s tested when Paige meets a man (Adam Brody) she actually likes and Sasha hates sharing. B Nichols called Life Partners “a film in which everything that could go usually wrong in a lesbian film inexplicably doesn’t!” Beth Dover and Gabourey Sidibe are delightful as Sasha’s queer friends.

Portrait of a Serial Monogamist (2015)
After a formative heartbreak, 40-year-old lesbian Elise has bounced from one serious relationship to another with a perfected exit strategy — but after her most recent breakup, she’s lost her will to continue the cycle, and she’s got lots of queer friends and an overbearing Jewish family eager to weigh in on her problems and choices! Heather writes in her review of Portrait of a Serial Monogamist that it is “incisive and very, very funny.”

Red Doors (2005)
Ed, the father of three daughters in a Chinese-American family living in the New York suburbs, is revisiting his whole family history through VHS tapes — including the story of Julie, the shy middle child who’s life is shaken up when she falls for actress Mia Scarlett.


Thrills and Chills

Good Manners (2017)

“Good Manners…is exploring something uniquely queer. Part of the reason it’s such an overwhelming and complex film is because its queerness forces it to embody both the body horror of pregnancy and the fear of parental failure, while also including the distrust of adoption found in something like The Omen and the rejection of an other found in works like Frankenstein and Freaks.”

— Drew Burnett Gregory, via Monsters & Mommis: “Good Manners” Is a Tribute to Queer Motherhood

Bit (2019)
Laurel (Nicole Maines) is just a regular 18-year-old trans girl with protective parents before she gets vampired while spending the summer with her brother in LA, where she has a perfect gay meet-cute with Izzy who of course digs in and turn Laurel into a vampire. “Brad Michael Elmore’sBitisn’t a landmark film about the trans experience,” wrote Drew in her review of Bit. “But God is it fun. And it’s not without meaning.”

Breaking the Girls (2012)
Jamie Babbitt’s ode to “murderous crazy lesbians in pools” is worth exactly one (1) watch. Sara and Alex, two girls in college, make an agreement to kill each other’s archenemies, thus inviting suspicion for the wrong murders and ensuring their freedom forever. As they get closer they get… sexually closer… and the murder doesn’t go as planned.

Cracks (2009)
“Jordan Scott’s Cracks, set in a 1930s all-girls boarding school, dives head-first into a coming-of-age horror story that disturbs at every turn. It’s a piercing portrayal of abuse. It’s a monster movie, only instead of a creature in the night, its monster is a human woman. Its monster is a master of manipulation and deception.” – Kayla Kumari, “Cracks” Is a Boarding School Monster Movie

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
“Stepping into Lisbeth Salander’s boots is an unenviable task but Rooney Mara rises to meet the challenge. She is astounding as the pierced, bisexual, tattooed hacker recruited by disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) into investigating the Vanger family. “Natalie

Good Manners (2017)
“Good Manners…is exploring something uniquely queer. Part of the reason it’s such an overwhelming and complex film is because its queerness forces it to embody both the body horror of pregnancy and the fear of parental failure, while also including the distrust of adoption found in something like The Omen and the rejection of an other found in works like Frankenstein and Freaks.” – Drew Gregory, via Monsters & Mommis: “Good Manners” Is a Tribute to Queer Motherhood

Jack & Diane (2012)
Charming and naive Diane (Juno Temple) meets tough-skinned Jack (Riley Keough) in New York City. They hook up all night and must grapple with their growing relationship under challenging circumstances — Diane’s moving at the end of the summer, but her feelings for Jack are manifesting themselves in terrifying ways, creating violent changes in her physical body.

Knife + Heart (2018)
While the murders and raunchy smut are the flashier elements of the film that make it easy to pitch to an audience, the core of the story is a sincere meditation on desire. While stopping the killer and uncovering the mystery behind his motives moves the narrative forward, they are peripheral to the actual substance of the film which, in line with filmmaker Yann Gonzalez’s trademark style, weaves romantic queer poems out of queer eroticism and obscenity.” – Chingy Nea via “Knife + Heart” and the Thin Line Between Desire and Destruction

Knocking (2021)
This “simple, effective thriller” follows Molly, a woman fresh out of a psychiatric hospital, starting her new life in her new apartment where her desire to be better is immediately challenged by an incessant knocking and a series of similarly chilling omens.

Lyle (2014)
Leah (Gaby Hoffman) and June (Ingrid Jungermann) are mothers grieving the loss of their toddler while planning for a new baby in a psychological thriller Kristin Russo described as “each moment punching your eyeballs in with the sheer force of its beauty.”

The Carmilla Movie (2017)
Beloved actor Elise Bauman co-stars in this film inspired by the web-series of the same name which was adapted from the 1872 graphic novel Carmilla. Five years after vanquishing the apocalypse, Laura (Bauman) and Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) and their pals face a new supernatural threat tied to Carmilla’s past. Valerie, a fan of the web series, declared the film “everything we want it to be (and so much more).”

The Retreat (2021)
“The monsters in the film are not mythical — they’re militant homophobic serial killers targeting queer people. And the majority of the film with all its bloody torture and revenge is really well-done. It finds the perfect balance between being properly brutal and satisfyingly cathartic. The film follows some pretty standard beats but it does them well and it’s exciting to get this kind of horror movie with queers at its center.” – Drew Gregory, “The Retreat” Is a New Kind of Lesbian Horror, Full of Catharsis and Dykey Swagger

Thelma (2017)
“This beautiful coming-of-age thriller actualizes queer shame and repression. As Thelma navigates adjusting to college — and gay feelings — apart from her religious upbringing, she begins to have seizures and visions and potentially telekinetic powers. As the tension builds, the scope of the film widens with more imagery and plot twists. But at its core is simply a girl navigating her identity and trying to find herself separate from her family.”Drew Gregory


Queer Arthouse Movies

House of Hummingbird (2018)

This award-winning South Korean drama, set in 1994, captures the acute misery of being 14 years old, a time when everything seems like the end of the world. Eun-hee is a working class girl with a secret boyfriend, an abusive brother, a Chinese teacher she’s obsessed and a best friend, Yu-ri—a schoolgirl who’s nursing a huge crush on Eun-hee. Drew writes that “this is a movie for all the queers who ate lunch in a teacher’s room and this is a movie for all the queers who wondered if a future was possible and then, one day, stopped wondering and started to believe.”

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
This controversial film dominated lesbian community discourse for a solid few months with its three-hour romantic drama saga starring Léa Seydoux as aspiring painter Emma and Adèle Exarchopoulos as introverted eventual schoolteacher Adèle. Based on a 2010 graphic novel by Jul Maroh, Blue garnered widespread acclaim as well as lots of attention for its graphic, long sex scene and the volume of spaghetti consumed by its lead characters. While intimately beloved by so many, our reviewer Kate felt that the film was an example of “the male gaze reigning supreme.”

Certain Women (2016)
“Renowned lesbian auteur Kelly Reichardt brings her famous touch of melancholy from her usual setting of Oregon to the plains of Montana,” writes Drew of Certain Women. “This triptych of stories about lonely women includes Reichardt’s most explicit work about queer women. Lily Gladstone is remarkable as a rancher who falls hard for a law professor played by Kristen Stewart. The infatuation is fairly one-sided, but it’s powerful to watch Gladstone’s shy character follow her heart and yearn for more. Like most of Reichardt’s films, this is a quiet and meditative piece, but its nuance will haunt you long after it ends.”

Daddy Issues (2019)
“A love story between a 19-year-old artist, her Instagram crush, and her Instagram crush’s sugar daddy, Cash’s debut feature is equally sweet and taboo. The artist, Maya (Madison Lawlor), is estranged from her father and stuck at home with her cruel mother and inappropriate stepdad. She dreams of going to art school in Florence but doesn’t have the money. Instead she settles for texting her Florence-based friend about her all-consuming crush on fashion designer/influencer Jasmine Jones (Montana Manning). Fed up and filled with an angsty joie de vivre, Maya follows an insta-tag to a bar and manages to infiltrate Jasmine’s crew. Chaos ensues. Romance ensues.” – Drew, “Daddy Issues” Is a Very Queer Very Good Movie

Petit Mal (2022)
“Petit Mal is about a throuple figuring out how to begin again. It’s not that the film shies away from the specific joys and challenges of a throuple — it’s just done in a way that doesn’t attach value or judgment.” -Drew, “Petit Mal” is a Lesbian Throuple’s Real Life Friction

Salmonberries (1991)
k.d. lang stars as an orphaned Eskimo who passes as male to work at a mine in Alaska. She has a relationship with Roswitha (Rosel Zech), an exiled widowed East German librarian. “It’s a slow and odd film about identity and the past that doesn’t totally work but is endlessly fascinating,” wrote Drew.

Young & Wild (2012)
Daniela is a horny teen living in Chile with her evangelical family and she writes about all of it on her very popular blog. “With a range of specific sex scenes and well-drawn relationships, the film is a painful and inspiring tale of desire,” writes Drew.


Dyke Drama

AWOL (2017)

Joey’s looking for direction in her small town and thinks she’s found it in a military recruitment center — but then she meets Rayna, and her world turns upside down.. “Joey resists being both a poster girl for both hillbilly kitsch and tragic poverty porn,” writes Sarah Fonseca in her review of AWOL. “This is because, before anything else, AWOL is a movie about class: every single move made, be it across the Canadian border or setting foot into a pawn shop, has an impact on Joey and Rayna’s wallets and the contents of their families’ bellies.”

A Simple Favor (2018)
“A Simple Favor gets off on blending and blurring genres. Not quite an all-out dark thriller in the vain of Gone Girl, it does borrow from that genre but, even more accurately, from Lifetime movies. Incest, revenge arson, frame jobs, affairs, and secret siblings all make appearances in this tableau of fuckery. It’s a Mommi murder mystery that knows exactly how ridiculous is, the whole cast in on the joke.” Kayla

Her Smell (2019)
This uneven, gritty, intoxicating, dizzying, polarizing journey through the life of a self-destructive alt-rock queen Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) also stars model Agyness Deyn as Becky’s coke-starved guitarist and Cara Delevingne as Cassie, a queer member of the new all-girl band Becky’s label has got her eye on.

Monster (2003)
Based on a true story, Charlize Theron stars as sex worker and serial killer Aileen Wournos, who, after a lifetime of abuse and neglect, kills a client in self-defense, starting a string of murders that will eventually land her on death row. Christina Ricci plays her girlfriend “Selby Wall” (a semi-fictionalized character based on Wournos’ actual girlfriend, Tyria Moore) in a film that is both very good and extremely upsetting.

Take Me For a Ride (2016)
“A simple coming-of-age movie about queer teen love in Ecuador, Take Me For a Ride works because of the precise cinematography and the chemistry between lead actors Samanta Caicedo and Maria Juliana Rangel. The drama remains low-key and the film feels like a personal snapshot.” Drew

The Duke of Burgundy (2015)
This British erotic romance drama details the BDSM relationship between a scientist and her maid, which Drew describes as “a gorgeous and strange film with alluring performances from Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna.” Fikri wrote that Duke of Burgundy “deals with love and relationships in such a nuanced and sensitive way that I’d recommend it just because, not just as “a BDSM film.”

The Secrets / Ha Sadot (2007)
This “complicated film about faith and love and commitment to principles all in the face of patriarchy” is the story of two young women studying at Jewish seminary — studious and conservative Noemi and rebellious Michelle. They discover their queerness through their feelings for each other, while both are pushed towards marrying men.

Vita & Virginia (2019)
The legendary relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her lover and muse, the androgynous writer Vita Sackville-West is the topic of this film that Drew writes “refuses to stay in the past, ensuring its tale of women writers, polyamory, and unsustainable connection feels alive and current.”

Women Who Kill (2017)
This dry, dark comedy follows exes Morgan (Ingrid Jungermann) and Jean (Ann Carr), locally famous true-crime podcasters in Park Slope who interview female serial killers — but Morgan can’t seem to shut off her suspicion of darkness lurking beneath everything when she starts dating Simone, a mysterious girl she meets at the Park Slope Food Co-Op.

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.

4 Comments

    • Yeah, and? If I lived my life in boycotts and cancels, I’d be sleeping naked on the grass foraging for berries and killing wildlife with a rock I sharpened into a point that I tied onto a stick with vines.

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