LGBTQ people are finally being depicted and centred across genres, but has this filmmaking limited itself?
Queer stories are being told at a rate that almost doesn’t seem real.
Many of us never thought representation or visibility would be like this – queer folks weren’t always awarded enriching stories, characters, or even content for us.
Certainly, there was little depiction of queer folks with intersecting identities.
Now, we’re more faced with the dilemma of too many queer coming-of-age stories and not enough stories about older people.
There should be more focus on telling stories about queer and trans folks beyond adolescence.
Exploring the lives of adults offers a wider range of issues, rather than relying on teen drama that’s often seen in a predominantly straight context.
That doesn’t mean there should be no more queer coming-of-age stories.
What it means is that we don’t necessarily need more content centred around queer teens (who are rarely played by teens, let alone queer ones).
Nevertheless, some of that content is worth watching. Here are some queer coming-of-age movies that managed to do their own thing.
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
This movie won’t be every queer person’s cup of tea – I certainly wasn’t impressed by the scenes that are male gaze-y.
But it may be a thought-provoking watch for queer women in particular.
Setting aside the infamous sex scenes between the two female leads (controversial since the director is a straight white man) and the horrible on-set treatment of the film’s crew, it may be worth a watch.
Blue is the Warmest Colour has some interesting themes, and the intensity is definitely there.
Without question one of the best LGBTQ films ever made.
Award-winning and critically acclaimed, Moonlight broke a lot of ground.
An all-Black film that explores sexuality and identity is rare, and for it to be about queer Black boys and men is even rarer – which says enough about how queer films are still very white.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
We still live in a world where conversion therapy isn’t obsolete and LGBTQ rights are constantly being attacked.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post isn’t an easy watch, but it’s necessary to understand what many queer and trans youths have gone through.
The film explores internalised homophobia, how identities intersect and the trauma that comes with that, and other important topics.
This certainly isn’t a typical queer coming-of-age film.
Comedy that features queer people in a good light isn’t common yet, and mainstream comedy movies are still dominated by straight people.
Thankfully, Booksmart defies the typical coming-of-age comedy.
The movie is pretty hilarious and also has important moments involving queer identity.
There are some blips in certain scenes, but all in all, it’s positive in terms of representation.
The Half of It (2020)
I actually am not a huge fan of this movie and don’t know if watching it again will change that, but I do recognise the representation is important to a lot of queer Asian-Americans.
The Half of It doesn’t deliver fully on any promises, but it does deviate from some norms.
Its small-town location sets the right tone for the topics and story at hand, but it’s best not to go into this movie looking for an explosive queer love story.