National Pride Month kicks off in June, and while there are not quite as many LGBT movies out in the open, there are right many that are noteworthy. Here are just a few of the lesser known, or lesser appreciated movies that feature LGBT characters, both historical and fictional.
1. Howl (2010)
- Allen Ginsberg is a beat poet of the 1950s who is infamous for his obscene poems, one of which went to trial due to its context. "Howl," the film, follows Ginsberg as he tells the meaning behind his poem of the same name, as the poem itself stands on trial for obscenities. The film details the reasoning behind the poem as well as Ginsberg’s own love interest as he tells his story of his many boyfriends and lovers and how they helped to shae "Howl" into the piece it is today and is accompanied by vivid animation as well as readings from the literature itself. The film is directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and stars Aaron Tveit of Graceland, Jon Hamm of Mad Men, and James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. This film is rated R. Click HERE for the trailer.
2. Velvet Goldmine (1998)
- Set in the 1970s and 1980s, young journalist, Arthur Stuart, is assigned the job to investigate the staged assassination of bisexual glam rock singer Brian Slade. Throughout the investigation, Stuart meets Brian’s former lovers, partners, and managers, as well as relives his own self discovery through the information he receives. "Velvet Goldmine" is loosely based off of artists such as David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Iggy Pop, and Brian Eno, and paints a vivid image of the sexual liberation living within the decades where glitter eye make up was the scene. "Velvet Goldmine" also incorporates many aspects of pop culture and classic literature in the music choices as well as using lines from author, Oscar Wilde, as dialogue to emphasize sexuality. and The film is directed by Todd Haynes, and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers of Tudors, Ewan McGregor of Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast, and Trainspotting, former batman, Christian Bale, and Eddie Izzard. "Velvet Goldmine" is rated. Click HERE for the trailer.
3. Carol (2015)
- Also directed by Todd Haynes is "Carol". "Carol" is a 2015 movie adapted from the novel, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. The story follows lesbian couple Therese Belivet, played by Rooney Mara, and Carol Aird, played by Cate Blanchett, in 1950s New York as their lover affair grows. Although the couple love each other dearly, the two are forced to keep their relationship under wraps as Therese is still discovering herself and her sexuality while also handling current flames, and Carol is trying to maintain custody of her daughter in the midst of divorce. Highsmith based the story loosely off of her own life, although she had to release the book under the pseudonym "Claire Morgan". "Carol" is rated R. Click HERE for the trailer.
4. Milk (2008)
- Sean Penn stars as politician, Harvey Milk, as he campaigns to become the first openly gay elected official of California. The film is also based off of the true story of Harvey Milk and his short lived political career, following from his fortieth birthday to his assassination, with readings of his famous “Give them Hope!” speech. The movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and stars James Franco, Josh Brolin, and Sean Penn. "Milk" is rated R. Click HERE for the trailer.
5. The Imitation Game (2014)
- During World War II, mathematician, Alan Turing, is part of a hired group of individuals who are put in charge of defeating the enigma- a Germanic code used for messages during the war. Combined with scenes from Alan’s present, viewers see some of his past as a young boy, as well as how his life turns out after the war has ended. "The Imitation Game" was nominated for numerous awards in the 2015 oscars, including best lead actor, best supporting actress, best score, and best picture overall. It was directed by Morten Tyldum and stars Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch. "The Imitation Game" is rated PG 13. Click HERE for the trailer.
6. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
- Centered around the 1980s aids crisis, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey attempts to bypass the system and distribute drugs illegally to patients in hopes of curing their disease. Woodruff is joined by Rayon, a trans woman who also has the disease and is portrayed by Jared Leto. It should be noted that this casting choice was controversial for a short time, but Leto’s performance is breathtaking and he deserves recognition for the hardships he had to portray. The film is rated a heavy R. Click HERE for the trailer.
7. I Love you Phillip Morris (2009)
- After realizing he is gay, a cop turned Con man, Steven Russell (played by Jim Carrey) is arrested and thrown into prison, only to meet the (second) love of his life, Philip Morris (played by Ewan McGregor). It is based on a true story, following all of Steven’s antics of repeated identity theft as he stops at nothing to be with Phillip, despite Philip's disapproval. "I Love You Phillip Morris" is one of those romantic comedies that is cheesy that can borderline tacky, but the story line is entertaining and leaves you wondering just what comes next for the couple. "I Love You Phillip Morris" is rated R. Click HERE for the trailer.