We love films, and we love even more those films which are about us and in which we see our own lives and the situations we encounter. This is why we decided to translate Autostraddle’s list of the noteworthy *lesbian films of the last decade. Altogether 50 films were collected, and of those the last 10 follow below. Then each month we’ll continue with the rest.
When people found out that we’re writing about the best 50 lesbian* films of the last decade, their first question was: really, were there that many?
The answer: yes, of course! It’s just that it didn’t seem to be the case because films with such themes often don’t get the attention they deserve. Nobody supports them with money or recognition, but that’s exactly why we would like to put the spotlight on these works.
50. Women Who Kill (directed by Ingrid Jungermann, 2016)
The director has a series based on humor, but in her first film in the thriller genre she shows with masterful touch and observation skills how dreadful it can be if one doesn’t trust the other. The main character superbly portrays at once a secretly attractive murderous beast and a trouble woman looking for love. The film is also multifaceted, although fundamentally a thriller, sometimes it depicts the lesbian* romance humorously and dramatically.
49. The Summer of Sangaile (d. Alante Kavaite, 2015)
The film is about a queer teenager growing up, who loves planes, but is afraid of heights. The lighting, the photography, the costumes, and the light all beautifully reveal to us how difficult it is for Sangaile. We see her in a true light, with her anxiety, mental problems, and a complex personality going through a difficult time and doing serious things, but even so the film doesn’t judge her. The main characters don’t fit perfectly together, but that’s the point: teenage love doesn’t last forever, but even a few months are enough to change a person.
48. Wild Nights with Emily (d. Madeleine Olnek, 2018)
Nowadays, Emily Dickinson has become a hot topic. Besides the series about her life, a film has already been made about her with Molly Shannon as the protagonist, and this version is even stranger and better accentuates the poet’s lesbianism. Faced with the notion that Emily Dickinson would have been an old maid, in this film we can see her as funny, warm-hearted, and wise all at once, and as someone full of vitality and genius.
47. Grandma (d. Paul Weitz, 2015)
Why is this such a lovable film? Two words: Lily Tomlin. If you’re already a fan of this lesbian actress, then you can’t miss out on this film which is one of her best roles. If you’re not, then now is the time to to follow the story of a lesbian grandmother who wants to help her granddaughter. It’s a serious, yet heartwarming film, in which also features Lavern Cox in a funny role.
46. Annihilation (d. Alex Garland, 2018)
Annihilation is a sci-fi embedded horror film during whose almost two hour screen time the time planes and mood change many times. The beautifully constructed narrative culminates in one of the most eerie scenes of the decade, which can be interpreted in many ways. The music is breath-taking and the acting is great (Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez’s acting is especially outstanding), which holds the film together in spite of everything strange.
45. Kiss Me (d. Alexandra-Therese Keining, 2011)
The film’s story is really cliché (a woman who is engaged to a man falls in love with another woman), but it is so well written and the actors are so good that this can be forgiven. We’ve already seen things like this when one someone is completely confused and the other impatiently waits for them to decide…while it’s annoying elsewhere, here it explains the character’s motivations. It’s a funny and sexy comedy, nothing more, but it’s good.
44. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (d. Marielle Heller, 2018)
For the sake of change, Melissa McCarthy plays a serious role based on true events, which suits her well and which critics rave about. The protagonist Lee Israel is portrayed in a way in which in which usually only men are: the film focuses on suffering, creativity, and anxiety, while avoiding issues such as the difficulty of forgiveness in a relationship or issues surrounding publishing books such as sexism and financial insecurity.
43. Atomic Blonde (d. David Leitch, 2017)
We’re always about lesbian* female roles featured in any genre of film, even if it’s a confusing, yet exciting and enjoyable action film.
The fight scenes have cool choreography and the story is really stereotypical, but still the queer love thread is still outstanding in it. And yes, Charlize Theron and the coats she wore in the movie are worth mentioning.
42. Hearts Beat Loud (d. Brett Haley, 2018)
Coming of age stories about lesbians or black women tend to be sad stories. Hearts Beat Loud, however, is a story about love, a supportive environment, and happiness. The protagonist’s first real relationship doesn’t involve anyone being rejected by their parents—just two teenagers who are into each other and music. It’s so refreshing and cute that we don’t mind the film’s imperfections.
41. Summertime / La belle saison (d. Catherine Corsini, 2015)
It’s hard to decide whether this film is a masterpiece or when the two main characters are so beautiful and go so well together that we fall under their spell. But it doesn’t matter! Even if the story sounds cliché, since the two French lesbians find each other in feminism, this shouldn’t hold anyone back, because the photography is so wonderful and the acting is fantastic. Ok, so are the sex scenes!
Translated by Amy Soto