Now, An Updated Edition Of The 102 Best Lesbian Movies Of All Time

When we put together our list of the 100 Best Lesbian Movies of All Time in the summer of 2015, we didn’t anticipate needing to revise or update it at any point — I mean it was hard enough to find 100 excellent lesbian/bisexual/queer films that came out between “the beginning of time” and that summer. But, indeed additional films have been released or re-discovered, and, my friends, it has come time to debut a revised edition of our very successful original list.

In addition to including more recent releases, this list also takes into account suggestions and feedback from readers on the original — you’ll see some inclusions you missed before, and you’ll also see some things re-ranked or removed altogether. For example, it was pointed out that Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith were not movies but miniseries, despite what young lesbian maidens in the U.S. were lead to believe. It was argued that Kissing Jessica Stein does indeed deserve a spot despite the lead character turning out to be straight. So many of you lobbied for the inclusion of When Night is Falling that I had to surrender to your cries, and so many disagreed with our ranking of I Can’t Think Straight that I had to re-watch it and re-rank it. It was also pointed out many that Room in Rome was missing, for which I have only this to say: BECAUSE IT IS TERRIBLE.

Those examples are just some of the many adjustments made in reaction to your direct feedback. Undoubtedly, you will still take issue with most of this and that’s okay, I’m fine.


There are some movies often lumped in with the “lesbian” category that are actually films about trans boys or men that you won’t see here, such as the excellent Boys Don’t Cry, Tomboy and By Hook or By Crook. 

We also ranked the films not only on how good they are, but on diversity as well as the quality of the gay lady storyline and characters. For example, Chasing Amy — an objectively decent movie containing many laughs and a nice fisting demonstration — didn’t make the list, as it promotes the dangerous idea that a lesbian is just a woman who hasn’t met the right man yet. Objectively, The Hours is a better film than most of the ones ranked higher than it, but queer female sexuality was not central to the film.

We also left out films that relied solely on lesbian subtext or eliminated or sidenlined a lesbian storyline that was present in the book it was based on (A League of Their Own, Fried Green Tomatoes, Ghostbusters, The Color Purple) or where the lesbian character was so small or her sexuality was so subtle that you could watch the film and not even remember that there was a queer involved (e.g., Sunshine Cleaning, Boys on The Side).

The term “lesbian movies” is used in the headline because that is the most popular search term for people looking for films about women who like other women, but these movies feature women of all sexual orientations besides “straight.”

Please remember that when you disagree with rankings, it is best to do so with extra punctuation, lots of all caps, and well-honed insults.

114. Below Her Mouth (2016)

our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
Directed By: April Mullen
Written By: Stephanie Fabrizi
Starring: Erika Linder, Natalie Krill

This film earned high marks for going all-in with lesbian sex, and gets a spot on this list for that alone, despite being, at times, difficult to endure. However, if we’d seen this in high school when we were figuring out our sexualities and weren’t already bored by its stale tropes, excruciating dialogue and the utter cliche of the lead character, it’d probably change our lives and make us all the lesbians we are today; but much earlier!

113. Girltrash: All Night Long! (2013)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance


Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Alex Martinez Kondracke
Written by:  Angela Robinson
Starring: Michelle Lombardo, Gabrielle Christian, Mandy Musgrave, Rose Rollins, Kate French, Clementine Ford, Malaya Rivera Drew, Jessica Chaffin

There was a lot of drama around the release of this film, and we do stand with Angela Robinson, who did not approve the final cut of the movie. But it’s still pretty cute and worth a mention — it’s a rock musical chock-full of ladies you love to see play gay, like the lead actresses from South of Nowhere and Kate French, Malaya Rivera Drew, Clementine Ford and Rose Rollins from The L Word.

112. A Perfect Ending (2012)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Nicole Conn
Written by: Nicole Conn
Starring: Barbara Niven, Jessica Clark

Nicole Conn is a prolific lesbian filmmaker and, to be honest, usually her name on a title is a pretty good indication that we’re not watching a good movie. But a lot of queer women swear by her movies and love the heck out of ’em so we felt obligated to include at least one! If Pretty Woman had a baby gay baby with Nicholas Sparks, the result would be A Perfect Ending, a drama about a call girl with a heart of gold and an artist’s temperament who falls in love with a “straight” WASPy housewife who is dying of cancer. The ending may be perfect, but it’s sad as heck.

111. Entre Nous / Coup de foudre (1983) (France)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score:
Directed by: Diane Kurys
Written by: Olivier Cohen, Diane Kurys & Alain Le Henry
Starring: Miou-Miou, Isabelle Huppert, Guy Marchand

This story of two young married women who realize how unfulfilled they are in their marriages when they fall in love with each other takes place in the 1950s, with flashbacks set in World War II, when one of the women was placed in an internment camp for Jews. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

110. Puccini For Beginners (2007)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance


Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Directed by: Maria Maggenti
Written by: Mari Maggenti
Starring: Gretchen Mol, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser

This “screwball comedy of sexual confusion with lesbian inclinations” was made by Maria Maggenti, who also made The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love. It’s not a masterpiece, but out actress Sarah Croce and her two friends enjoyed watching it while eating Italian food, so.

109. Gray Matters (2006)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 8%
Directed by: Sue Kramer
Written by: Sue Kramer
Starring: Heather Graham, Tom Cavanagh, Bridget Moynahan, Molly Shannon, Saffron Burrows

Heather Graham stars in this cheesy, adorable rom-com about a ballroom dancer who falls in love with her brother’s girlfriend.

108. My Friend From Faro / Mein Freund aus Faro (2008) (Germany)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Nana Neul
Written by: Nana Neul
Starring: Anjorka Strechel, Lucie Hollmann

Just your classic German tale of a tomboy who assumes the identity of a Portuguese guy named Miguel after she plows down a pretty girl in the street.

107. Better Than Chocolate (1999) (Canada)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%
Directed by: Anne Wheeler
Written by: Peggy Thompson
Starring: Wendy Crewson, Karyn Dwyer

Better Than Chocolate is not without flaws. It’s cliched and over-the-top; there’s a trans woman character played by a cis man; and the poster looks like some kind of Lisa Frank fever-dream, all of which we can probably chalk up to it being a film from the ’90s. If you can get around that, you can enjoy this endearing and charming love story about a girl who drops out of college to work at a lesbian bookstore, much to the adorable confusion of her chocolate-addicted mother. Fun fact: the actor who played the trans woman character also played Bob Corbett on Bomb Girls and Henrik on Orphan Black.

106. Almost Adults (2017)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

A cute film that delivers some light charm with minimal offensiveness, starring Elise Bauman of Carmilla as lesbian tomboy femme Mackenzie and Natasha Negovanlis as her best friend Cassie, the last girl in the world not to notice that Mack is gay as hell.

105. Tru Love (2014)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Kate Johnston, Shauna MacDonald
Written by: Kate Johnston, Shauna MacDonald
Starring: Kate Trotter, Peter MacNeill

The May/December romance at the heart of Tru Love is but one of the many complex relationships in this surprisingly layered film. Winner of nearly a dozen awards across the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and India, Tru Love might just make you want to believe in soul mates. Or fall asleep. Depends on your style.

104. The Sea Purple / Viola di Mare (2009) (Italy)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Donatella Maiorca
Written by: Donatella Maiorca
Starring: Valeria Solarino, Isabella Ragonese & Ennio Fantastichini

In this stunning 19th century period film, the powerful quarrymaster’s daughter falls in love with her childhood friend Sara when she returns to the remote Mediterranean island where they both grew up. Their affair scandalizes the island.

103. The Intervention (2016)

lgbtq lead ensemble // lgbtq romance  // our review //

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Directed by: Clea DuVall
Written by: Clea DuVall
Starring: Clea Duvall, Natasha Lyonne, Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey

Clea Duvall directed this weekend-at-the-summer-house film about four couples of mostly old friends who plan a weekend away together to stage an “intervention” on one of the couples, who they’ve agreed needs to divorce. Obviously over the course of the weekend we realize that all these couples are dysfunctional and probably shouldn’t judge. It’s worth it to see Clea Duvall and Natasha Lyonne play a couple again and just to witness excellent performances from your favorite actresses, although the film’s central conceit never really earns its existence and the backstories of the characters often ring a little hollow.

102. When Night is Falling (1995) (Canada)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%
Directed by: Patricia Rozema
Written by: Patricia Rozema
Starring: Pascale Bussieres, Rachael Crawford

“My favourite film simply because it unashamedly clings to an impossible optimism,” wrote commenter Marriane. “I mean, come on … the dog comes back to life to the strains of the Hallelujah chorus. It was this kind of optimism that saw marriage equality germinate, take root and flower.”

101. Portrait of a Serial Monogamist (2016)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
Directed by: Christina Zeidler & John Mitchell
Written by: Christina Zeidler & John Mitchell
Starring: Diane Flacks, Robin Duke

Elsie is a forty-year-old Jewish lesbian in Toronto who— after getting her heart broken at the tender age of 12  has bounced from serious relationship to serious relationship all her life, refusing to be single and perfecting her exit strategy. The film opens with Elise breaking up with her current girlfriend of five years and, for the first time in her life, finding herself unable to walk out the door of one monogamous situation and into the arms of another one. Heather Hogan called it “one of the best-written lesbian movies I’ve ever seen… incisive and very, very funny.”

100. Love My Life (2003) (Japan)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Koji Kawano
Written By: Hiroko Kanasugi, Ebine Yamaji
Starring: Asami Imajuku, Rei Yoshii, Ira Ishida

Based off the josei manga by Ebine Yamaji, Love My Life was a favorite of many commenters on our original list. “The joy of the film, aside from the relationship between the main character and her girlfriend,” Rhea said, ”is the one between her and her father as she learns more about him and her mother’s past.

99. Antonia’s Line (1996)

lgbtq ensemble characters // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%
Directed by: Marleen Gorris
Written by: Marleen Gorris
Starring: Willeke van Ammelrooy, Els Dottermans, Jan Decleir

This multi-generational film that explores the lineage of a World War II widow named named Antonia, who returns to her hometown to take care of her ailing mother. Danielle refuses to take a husband, but does want to have a child. After getting pregnant and giving birth, Danielle ultimately falls in love with her genius daughter’s tutor.

98. Daphne (2007) (UK)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Clare Beavan
Written by: Amy Jenkins, Margaret Forster
Starring: Geraldine Somerville, Elizabeth McGovern

Daphne is exactly the film you need, if the thing you’re missing from your life is Downton Abby’s Elizabeth McGovern in a depressing-as-fuck period drama about the unrequited lady loves of novelist Daphne DuMauier.

97. My Mother Likes Women / A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres (2002) (Spain)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 45%
Directed by:Daniela Féjerman, Inés París
Written by: Inés París, Daniela Féjerman
Starring: Silvia Abascal

Long-divorced Sophia gathers her three daughters to share the news that she’s fallen in love! Hurrah! That love is the sapphic sort. Not-so-Hurrah.

96. Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf? (2013)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance


Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Anna Margarita Albelo
Written By: Michael Urban, Anna Margarita Albelo
Starring: Agnes Olech, Carrie Preston, Guinevere Turner

A little bit quirky, and a little bit navel-gazey, this grown-up comedy looks at what it means to really have it all. Plus it has an all-female cast, one of whom literally romps around on stage wearing a vagina costume. If that’s not what you’re looking for in a film, you’re on the wrong list, my friend.

95. The Hunger (1983)

lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%
Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Tony Scott
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon

Lesbian vampires? Check. Susan Sarandon? Check. David Bowie? Check. Major shoutout in The Miseducation of Cameron Post? CHECK CHECK CHECK.

94. Rough Night (2017)

lgbtq ensemble characters // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 45%
Directed By: Lucia Aniello
Written By: Lucia Aniello & Paul W. Downs
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz

There’s a lot about this film, on the surface, that might turn you off — but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised by how those things actually play out! Yes, the writing is often clumsy and there are some annoying, ridiculous plot holes. But it’s also a cute, funny and surprisingly feminist movie entirely about women with a non-chalant lesbian front-and-center (played by Ilana Glazer) who gets one of the film’s only rewarding romantic storylines.

93. The Summer of Sangalie (2015) (Lithuania)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
Directed by: Alanté Kavaïté
Written by: Alanté Kavaïté
Starring: Julija Steponaityte, Aiste Dirziute

Summer love blooms between two teenagers in Lithuania who meet at an aerobatics show — a girl who dreams of being a pilot who’s spending the summer at her family’s lake house and the bohemian photographer and clothing designer she’s drawn to.

92. Drool (2009)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Nancy Kissam
Written by: Nancy Kissam
Starring: Jill Marie Jones, Laura Harring, Ashley Duggan Smith

A dark comedy that touches on abuse, assault and murder, but manages to be fun about it all.

91. Citizen Ruth (1996)

mainstream movie // lgbtq female ensemble characters

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Directed By: Alexander Payne
Written By: Jim Taylor, Alexander Payne
Starring: Laura Dern, Mary Kay Place, Swoosie Kurtz, Alicia Witt, Kelly Preson, Kurtwood Smith, Burt Reynolds

A true product of its time that unfortunately remains relevant today, Citizen Ruth sees Laura Dern playing an unemployed, homeless addict who finds out she’s pregnant after an arrest, and then ends up in the middle of an abortion debate. On one side are the anti-coice zealots and the other, a group of pro-choice activists lead by an ambitious lesbian couple. There’s no sex or romance and sexual orientation isn’t tackled head on, but Swoozie Kurtz and Kelly Preston are an adorable pair with a whole bunch of lesbian friends, which at the time was a pretty cool thing to see.

90. Red Doors (2007) (China)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 59%
Directed by: Georgia Lee
Written by: Georgia Lee
Starring: Jacqueline Kim, Tzi Ma, Elaine Kao, Freda Foh Shen

Red Doors tells the story of Ed Wong, a Chinese-American retiree who is coming to terms with his three daughters growing up. One of his daughters, Julie, falls in love with an actress. They struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their parents’ demands on their romantic lives.

89. Cloudburst (2013)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Directed by: Thom Fitzgerald
Written by: Thom Fitzgerald
Starring: Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker, John Dunsworth

Ever wonder what would happen if Thelma and Louis were elderly lesbians? Cloudburst is the answer.

88. The Chinese Botanist’s Daughters /Les Filles Du Botaniste (2006) (China)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Sijie Dai
Written by: Sijie Dai, Nadine Perront
Starring: Mylène Jampanoï, Xiao Ran Li

Li Ming, an orphan of the Tangshan earthquake, finds a home with renowned and reclusive botanist. Li instantly connects with her new benefactor’s daughter, An. Soon their friendship turns into a secret and sensual love affair.

87. Bumblef*ck USA (2014)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Aaron Douglas Johnston
Written By: Cat Smits, Aaron Douglas Johnston
Starring: Cat Smits, Heidi M. Sallows, Jef Smith, John Watkins

Alexa moves from Amsterdam to a small U.S. town to film a documentary to help her make sense of her gay best friend’s suicide. While she’s there, she falls in love with a woman for the first time in her life. It only takes one summer for Alexa’s life to change forever.

86. Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%
Directed By: Jamie Babbit
Written By: Tina Mabry, Abigail Shafran
Starring: Nicole Vicius, Clea DuVall, Melonie Diaz, Daniela Sea, Marissa Ramirez

After getting dumped by her girlfriend, Anna meets a young feminist named Sadie who invites her to join Clits In Action (CiA) and forget her romantic woes. As Anna embraces radical activism, she also finds herself falling for Sadie, who is in a longterm relationship with an older woman who belongs to a more mainstream feminist organization.

85. You and Me Forever (2012) (Denmark)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Directed by: Kaspar Munk
Written by: Kaspar Munk
Starring: Julie Andersen, Frederikke Dahl Hansen, Emilie Kruse

Laura and Christie are best friends forever, until a rebel named Maria arrives on the scene and starts stealing Laura away.

84. Kissing Jessica Stein (2002)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Directed by: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
Written by: Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt
Starring: Heather Juergensen, Jennifer Westfeldt

Jessica Stein is frustrated by her dating experiences with men and decides to give women a shot when she connects with another woman who’s also never been in a lesbian relationship before. Funny, honest and down-to-earth, this romantic comedy was written by the two best friends who also star in the film.

83. Mädchen in Uniform (1931) (Germany)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance


Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Directed By: Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich
Written By: Christa Winsloe, Friedrich Dammann
Starring: Emilia Unda, Dorothea Wieck, Hedwig Schlichter

Considered by many to be the first lesbian film, Mädchen in Uniform explores the relationship between a teenage boarding school student and one of her female teachers. Does that sound like the plot of Loving Annabelle to you? That’s because it is!

82. The Truth About Jane (2000)

lgbtq story // lgbtq leads

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Lee Rose
Written by: Lee Rose
Starring: Stockard Channing, Ellen Muth

We loved Stockard Channing as Rizzo, and we loved her as First Lady Abigail Bartlett. Now we have to love her as a mother unable to believe that her daughter Jane is in fact not too pure to be pink. Stockard delivers yet another knockout performance in The Truth About Jane, earning a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. This may have been the first queer movie you ever saw — it was for many of us!

81. I Can’t Think Straight (2008)

// our review // lgbtq story // lgbtq leads // lgbtq romance

Rotten Tomatoes score: 16%
Directed by: Shamim Sarif
Written by: Shamim Shaif, Kelly Moss
Starring: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth

This is another film that lesbians either love or hate, but this is the film that opened our hearts forever Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth, as they played Tala and Leyla, two women from very different backgrounds that fall in love on accident. Tala is a Jordanian Palestinian woman living in London and planning her wedding. Leyla is a British-Indian who is dating Tala’s BFF. They fall in love, fall apart, and fall back together again. It’s very sweet and pretty dang sexy.

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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. I literally clicked the link to this article while debating whether Girltrash: All Night Long was likely to have made the cut due to the drama surrounding the film’s release and the fact that it’s, uh, trashy but very entertaining and fun, and I did not have long to wait to find out!

  2. Yep, that’s why I have a great collection of Asian and European LGBTQ movies.

    So, big fan of Lisa Cholodenko? Taking High Art of the equation, the Nicole Conn thing about not watching a good movie applies totally to her.

    Thank you for including El Niño Pez. Lucía Puenzo’s XXY is also worthy of watching.

  3. Let’s not forget the delightful Swedish film, Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål) from 1998.

    Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
    Directed and written by: Lukas Moodysson
    Starring: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg

  4. Heh, our number ones are homogeneous.

    I have been waiting to use that word in sentence with queer positive intentions since middle school.
    Did not think my bucket list would get shorter this year. :p

    • Well, technically, homogeneous wouldn’t be the right word if you mean that your number one is exactly the same as the one on this list. It would be true to say that all of the movies on this list are homogeneous because they are all lesbian or of the same kind (maybe that’s not true though, according to Riese’s rules).

      In terms of a word from the chemistry lexicon, I though maybe you’d say that you have a cis number one with Riese. However, cis is a Latin prefix that actually means “on this side of”, so I don’t think that’s technically right. If you’re looking for a strictly scientific or mathematical term, I’d stick with “equal”. But, if you’re looking for something in Latin then maybe “idem” would work. So your and Riese’s number one choices are idem.

      • You don’t have to be this person.
        I have been you, and no appreciates it when you bring scholarship into a joke unless it’s going to make it funnier.
        Especially when it was a joke come up by an 11 year old CHILD that like call certain humans by the trinomial name of our species because I knew it would make them tattle on me like 6 year old and get laughed at by the teacher.

        I dunno if you’re spectrum, just like to share your knowledge, or are trying to lord over me.
        So eh, 11 year old me wasn’t a cunning and knowledgeable linguist, but please leave silly harmless jokes go.

          • Sensitive to people that love toss knowledge around in a way that won’t be appreciated, yes.
            Being that kid wasn’t fun and being the way as adult is not more fun.

            But okay you don’t appreciate my concerned perception that you’re socially awkward etc.


          • So, just to be clear, you mean to tell me that you are so hurt that I pointed out your misuse of the word “homogeneous” that you will attack my character and call me names? And, I’m the jackass?


          • Homogeneous. Homo geneous. HOMO GENIUS.

            a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

          • Chassis, you realize that the person who called you a jackass (me) is a completely different user than the person who you acted like a jackass to, right? Or is it just you against the world and it doesn’t matter if anyone other than yourself exists?

            No one cares if you’re right. People care if you’re a kind person who can engage in good faith without looking to score points with your pedantry. It matters how you make people feel in a community — at this point, you’re trolling.

    • Beware: a list of “best lesbian movies” that lists more than 10-25 is still going to have plenty of garbage lez movies on it. Read some of those descriptions/warnings carefully before committing.

  5. It always makes me sad to see Fucking Åmål top lists like this. It’s not a bad film, it’s just that I can’t at all share the positive, heart-warming feelings people have about it.

    I was the same age as Elin and Agnes when the film came out in 1998, living in the same kind of community in the same culture, and my school had a private screening at the cinema. Like Agnes, I was bullied and depressed. I had a crush on a girl sitting on the opposite end of that screening. I was terrified that I might be a lesbian, because one more thing that made me different and made my life difficult was more than I could handle. Sitting there, with these thoughts and the general attitude towards homosexuality in 1998, surrounded by bullies and the entirety of my social life which I could in no way escape for the next few years… I didn’t see any of the uplifting courage others have talked about, I just saw that being gay was about being alone, targeted and exposed. For me, the film didn’t end as the credits rolled, because I knew exactly the kind of hell that awaited them around the corner, and I knew that being brave for five minutes that one day didn’t fix anything.

    That said, I’m definitely not blaming Fucking Åmål for the fact that I clung to heterosexuality as if though I were drowning and it was a lifeboat when I finally developed a boy crush the following year—there’s a whole slew of other 1990’s reasons for that.

  6. nice list. loads to check out. but what about ALONG CAME LOLA (LGBT version of Run Lola Run), ELENA UNDONE, OUT AT THE WEDDING and ROOM IN ROME? Well worth watching. more so than a lot of the films that made this list. I am personally over all the depressing films we usually get served and love it when we get a half decent flick that has a happy ending and is fun to watch.

  7. I feel like I’ve been so burned by bad 90s lesbian movies at this point (always Wolfe movies, ALWAYS movies that I streamed from years and years before I came out) that I can’t even look at these movie covers without feeling pangs of PTSD.

  8. whoa. I had no idea how few lesbians movies I’d actually seen, but this list has educated me.

    A not lesbian but kind of sort of queer movie I like is Victor/Victoria. Julie Andrews, ya’ll.

    I’ll have to watch “The Hunger” post haste because Catherine Deneuve.

    I think my number one is probably the Handmaiden. I just loved that movie. I love seeing movies like that in a theater full of straight people (which I did). I like to look at them react to the graphic sex. It’s like original twitter.

  9. Ok, I know this could be an impossible task and I can’t seem to find a post if that was already done, but I would loved to see a list of films “that relied solely on lesbian subtext”.

    You had a great start with A League of Their Own, Fried Green Tomatoes, Ghostbusters and The Color Purple (I still think that we need to remake this films and maken totally Lesbian Movies). I can add Bend It Like Beckham, Thelma & Louise and, of course, Muriel’s Wedding, for me the queerest film of all times

  10. Just popping in to say: THANK YOU for the high ranking of “Pariah”. That movie came out just I was, ahem, “coming out”. And as a black queer 20something in Brooklyn… even though Alike was a teenager, I felt so seen in her story. If in 30 years someone were to ask me, what was the movie that best encapsulated black queer Brooklyn in the late aughts/ early 2010s- that is 100% the movie I would point them to. It’s a cultural artifact. A moment in time.

  11. I think it’s perfect that the (revised) list of best lesbian movies includes so many terrible and depressing ones. Finding a movie rental place (ah, the days of vcrs and dvds) that had a queer section was a blessing and a curse. So many hopeful nights that ended in horrified disbelief! I love that Saving Face made it in the top 3. And But I’m a Cheerleader is perfect.

    I remember liking a movie about Thanksgiving maybe? There was cooking. With Julianna Margulies and Kyra Sedgwick. Pretty sure nobody died and the lesbians stayed together, which would’ve made it Oscar worthy in my mind no matter how bad it may have actually been.

  12. Oh, and moving on from my love letter to Pariah… I was so excited to see SUCH high rankings for both Bessie and (surprisingly! I didn’t see this coming!) Dope!

    I agree whole-heartedly with Gabby’s “Bessie” review. I remember sharing it widely on social media when the movie first premiered. It was the most comfortable and honest I have ever seen QL in a movie, and it was a magnificent sight to behold. Also the queer history of the Harlem Renaissance is not highlighted nearly enough- in either queer or black circles.

    If you haven’t seen Dope- YOU SHOULD SEE DOPE!!! It’s one of my Top 10 favorite movies of all time! It’s so quirky and original and it takes black nerds seriously in all their geeky joy. It’s on Netflix- so you have no excuse. SEE THIS MOVIE!!!

    (And also: YAY SET IT OFF! That is one of the biggest tearjerkers of all time. High up there with Beaches on my list for female friendship movies that will both empower you and tear your heart up and you will love so much that you will watch it again and again and again)

  13. I might be the only person that liked Room in Rome, it wasn’t flawless but it was one of those film that let me forget everything else. Could also be that I have a soft spot for magic realism (When Night is Falling!).

    The only other film I think is missing on the list is Auf der anderen Seite/The Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey).

    Nonetheless a great list!

  14. No The World Unseen? Has the same two actresses from I Can’t Think Straight. Personally, I think Carol should get top spot because WOW. This movie was so stunning it made me break my “going to the cinema to watch the same movie again” record, which is now 6. I saw it SIX times in theaters because it was THAT GOOD and it was SO STELLAR that when my mom came for a visit, I dragged her out to watch it even though there’s a lengthy sex scene and I can barely handle watching a movie with my mom where people are kissing let alone full on sex but Carol was THAT MAGNIFICENT that I just had to share the awesomeness. I’m still peeved it did’t get more rewards and recognition. I also think DEBS should be higher…at least in the top 15. Then again since it’s the first ever queer movie I ever saw I’ve a soft spot for it.

  15. really appreciate the update and there are a few here I will add to my watch list!

    what I really want more than anything is a list of lesbian movies where the 2 (or more) central love interests already know they’re gay and to just forget about the whole sad coming out angst for a few sweet minutes!

    freeheld was groundbreaking to me in that sense but also very sad in a whole other way… so I guess I have to make appropriate behaviour my no. 1 as the only gay film I’ve ever seen which features out people and a non-sad ending!! please help me find more/everybody make a film about your average queer lives, post-hetero-oriented-angst, thanks

  16. I’ve seen my summer of love twice and that move still a bit weird to me. Like something about it has an air of creepiness(and not really in a good way). Also, the end I am still not 100% sure about. I did like the acting though.

    I am kind of surprised there isn’t any of those Israeli women and Arab and/or Muslim woman fall in love(or the less common, Muslim and Christian fall in love during war), Romeo-Juliet type movies on this list.


    (I’ve just realized I’m too lazy to come up with well-honed insults).

    Thanks for this beautiful list.

  18. (I was waiting to see if there would be a V-Day feelings open thread but since it looks like there won’t, I’ll post this here.)

    Happy Feb. 14th (whatever it may mean to you) Autostraddle community!! I made you a thing because I love you.

  19. I will say this a forewarning, but Amiee and Jaguar made me cry for like 2 hours straight after watching it. Really, tragic story that was well acted. Also, don’t watching it alone like I did, watching it with someone you can hug.

  20. Is there a specific reason why Nina’s Heavenly Delights isn’t on the list?

    Oh, sorry, I fail to follow the instructions in the introduction.


    (I’m not going to include insults, because you’re simply too fabulous for taking the time to put this together).

  21. I Can’t Think Straight is amazing, definitely in my personal top 10. It is cheesy and I love it.

    Also, how about some love for Nina’s Heavenly Delights? Cheesy lesbian romance AND food porn!

    In the “regular good not ridiculous good” category, echoing demand for The World Unseen.

  22. Question!! Has anyone seen “All About E”? I wanted to watch it but it’s not on this list is it terrible? It looks super fun and I’m guessing no one dies, but I guess I could be wrong about that.

  23. I didn’t see the original list so I read through the summary of criteria. In that summary it was stated that trans films like Boys Don’t Cry would not be included but then you included Boy Meets Girl? It’s been a while since I’ve seen many of these movies but after Brandon was outed as a girl, he and Lana had sex again and were going to run off together.
    As for the movies on the list, I’ve probably seen less than half (there are a lot of foreign/independent ones that I never even heard of) and I WAS surprised where the ones I did see, the more “mainstream” lesbian ones (i.e.with notable stars) stood on the list and the other mainstream films (that were made with a budget and came out in theaters) that have a lesbian but didn’t contribute to the plot.

    THE WORST MOVIE is Loving Annabelle, and a good handful of movies that I love were lower (or is it higher? they had a higher number than #70) on the list. Blue is the Warmest Color I could not watch in 1 sitting, it took about 5 stops and starts to get through that one.

    DEBS at 37, come on! Yeah the green screen was a hot mess but that made it funnier. But when I saw Imagine Me and You (19) was NOT even TOP 10 I was like what the hell is #1 because I seemed to have scrolled past a lot of the movies I know and could only think of a couple more to be on the list. Freeheld at #7, really? Top 3 are all good movies, and I would keep them in at least the top 10 but DEBS and Imagine Me and You are my faves.

    Jenny’s Wedding, Alto, A Girl Thing (though this might be a mini series), What’s Cooking?, Out at the Wedding, The Perfect Family (which I didn’t see but remember reading about it on AfterEllen) and maybe even an Amy Adams movie (not Sunshine Cleaning). I’m sure there are many more that I can’t think of at the moment. Good List, I should check out some more (which is to say I’ll probably just re-watch some of my old favorites.)

  24. Interesting list, but a few things…to exclude such classics as “The Children’s Hour,” “The Fox” and “The Killing of Sister George” is doing a great disservice to your older readers. I also wished I had known about this..I would have pleased ask to have the TV movie I wrote about back in September “The War Widow” be considered for inclusion in this list. Although technically not a theatrical release, it was a pioneer in positive depiction of a lesbian relationship. One final thing: “Carol” at number two and “But I’m a Cheerleader” at number one? Hell no. oh HELL HELL HELL no….

  25. Again, I know these were theatricals, but “Losing Chase” with Helen Mirren and Kyra Sedgewick was one of the most beautiful movies of the last 20 years. It should be included in a future update. While made for Showtime, it had a short theatrical run..UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I love love love “Go Fish”. It’s one of my very favorites. Does anyone else agree? I wish it had made the list. I really respect the reasons some films were left out, but can’t think of any reason why this one would be (correct me if I’m not thinking of something obvious). Did it just not make the cut?

    I also liked “The World Unseen”, but I could definitely understand reasons for leaving that off.

    Also “Clouds of Sils Maria”… but I know that one’s all subtext 🙂

  27. Autostraddle has been sleeping on it but definitely watch and talk about Elvis and Madona, it’s so cute, sweet, campy and gay and has a lesbian plot involving a trans woman.
    Also the new Palestinian movie, In Between, has a lesbian character/plot that is a lot more explicit than the lesbian plot in Caramel (a movie about lebanese women).

    Love this list esp since Pariah and Saving Face are on the top of the list!!

  28. This is a great list, and now I want to try watching all of them! You can’t please everyone but this is a great recommendation and now I have 102 things to watch. I really love the international representation 🙂

  29. That’s not the plot of Show me Love is it? I don’t remember them going to Stockholm at all. At one point they thumb down a car (not a euphemism) and it seems like that’s going to happen but then the guy driving the car sees them kissing, asks if he’s on candid camera (because girls only kiss for a joke, right?!) and kicks them out, back to Amal.
    Great film though. Great list too. Sorry, I mean…WORST REVIEW. PLOT WRONG.


      But if we reason this through a bit, they did technically *decide* to take a five hour ride to Stockholm as stated, and the 90 seconds or so that they were actually in the car on the way to Stockholm could technically have been the point at which they fell in love, who are we to say? And in that case we’d both have egg on our faces because this summary would be absolutely accurate, inasmuch as it never actually alleges that they participate in the remaining four hours and fifty eight and a half minutes of the journey.

      HOWEVER, this defence is very much predicated on the journey to Stockholm *actually taking five hours*, which I do not believe is ever stated in the movie and which I have no way of independently corroborating (is Amal even a real place..?), so it still seems a gloomy possibility that this summary is, as originally suspected, fake news 🙁

      Otherwise 10/10, loved the film and the summary.

  30. I find it fascinating to see how and when people get attached to these movies; a list like this is hard to assemble because we have such diverse experiences of viewing context.
    I barely even finished DEBS and don’t understand its appeal at all, but I saw it in my mid-twenties. I am attached to When Night is Falling, because I first saw it as a 15 year old. Now I find it a bit ridiculous, but my nostalgia still obscures my judgment.

    Saving Face is solid and stars Joan Chen and requires no nostalgia.

  31. I’m delighted that Lianna is still solidly on the list. That great scene after she finally “realizes” and walks down the street and just sees every woman as a lesbian is such a great encapsulation of that revelation afterglow.

  32. Seconding the calls for The World Unseen – come on, not anywhere in the top 100? Also I can’t think straight all the way down at #74?? Also DEBS should have been higher, but I’ll pick my battles 🙂

    Thank you for including Circumstance and Saving Face, and for *not* including Room in Rome or Jenny’s Wedding.

    So many new films for me to watch…

  33. The only thing that would make this list better is if there were some indication of which films will leave you feeling emotionally devastated after watching (or at least a warning on the ones where a lesbian dies). I’m really keen on a having a cheesy gay movie night, but I’m not in the best emotional state for an unexpected tearjerker right now.

    I know the obvious rom-com/happy-endings – But I’m a Cheerleader, I Can’t Think Straight, Imagine Me & You, and Saving Face – but I’m searching for something new that’ll give me those same warm’n’fuzzy feelings.

  34. So proud of myself for seeing most of the top ones, but thanks so much for all the new suggestions! I wish my girlfriend would put up with watching half-decent to good lesbian movies with me, hahaha. I’m surprised Imagine Me and You isn’t higher, though, I feel like it got demoted!

  35. But where’s “THE WORLD UNSEEN”?
    Seriously I’m really surprised not finding that movie here. Especially when they have I Can’t Think Straight (Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth are just, epic), because TWU is better than it.
    I even brought the book and read it after seeing the movie. I was so hooked on it, forever my top 5 of “lesbian” movie.

  36. Obviously Carol should be #1 because Carol is everything, and I’ve seen it now like 20 times I guess?, and I will never be over it. and because it inspired Heather Hogan’s brilliant act of resistance on the airplane, and just for THAT it should be #1.

  37. Great list, thank you for putting it together. Me too, I miss “Nina’s Heavenly Delights”, though. To me, it’s one of those feel-good movies like “Imagine Me & You” or “I Can’t Think Straight” that I can watch over and over again.

    Also, thank you for including so many international movies. A lot of lists like this that are put together by American websites, usually barely include any foreign language movies. (One thing about “Aimee & Jaguar”, though: Felice, the Jewish woman in the film, is not a mother. Only Lily, the soldier’s wife, has children.)

  38. Next time you update this, I’d love to see a couple scales – maybe just quality of movie 1-10, quality/amount of lesbian content 1-10, quality/amount of non-cis/white/American content 1-10, and one adjective to describe how the movie leaves you feeling. Some of the movies I don’t know don’t have enough info with them for me to know anything about whether I’d want to see them or why, and some of the movies I do know I think people might get the wrong impression about if the only info they had was from this list.

    For example, Pride is one of my new favorite movies but it has very little lesbian content, and I think the description here is misleading. Yes, there’s a bit about the lesbian subgroup, but it’s mostly portrayed as ladies being ridiculous and divisive. I would not recommend the movie at all for someone looking for a good lesbian movie, although I’ve been recommending it all over the place as just a great movie, despite how it treats the lesbians.

    Also surprised that Lost and Delerious didn’t make it on here, i get the objections to it but also I think it’s the first movie I saw that showed teenage girls being in love in a really tender and believable way…and also fairly realistic sex between them. Plenty of these films have terrible endings.

    But thanks for doing all this work! I agree on the top ten for the movies I’ve seen, and will need to finally see the others now. This is a super great resource.

  39. How about Women who kill (2016) by Ingrid Jungermann? it got a 100% on rotten tomatoes. And I saw someone mention Even cowgirls get the blues, if nothing but for the soundtrack by k.d.lang.

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