The 100 Best Lesbian Movies Of All Time

lgbtqFilms aimed at lesbian, bisexual and queer women have never exactly been noted for their universal excellence. Hollywood is a notoriously sexist machine and it’s hard enough to get a solid film about women made, let alone a solid film about women who prefer the company of other women. While unprecedented progress is being made on television, film lags sadly behind, offering few, if any, portrayals of LGBTQ women.

Curating a ranked list of the best 100 lesbian movies (and otherwise queer movies) of all time was not easy. It involved some rounds of nominations and voting from our own team members, Riese watching so many lesbian movies in such a short period of time that she lost her overall ability to determine “good” from “bad,” a surveyance of other lists and reading a ton of movie reviews to come up with the most objective list possible.

True story: it’s taken us over a year to put this post together. We watched hundreds of LGBT films for women, literally HUNDREDS, to come up with these final rankings.

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.

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, 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.”

You’ll undoubtedly disagree with many of these rankings so don’t forget to express your disagreement in the comments with as much vitrol, all-caps and excessive punctuation as possible. If you don’t accuse us of eating babies for breakfast, it’s unlikely we will consider your assessment reasonable or useful for our purposes.


102. Contracted (2013)

contracted
Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%
Directed by: Eric England
Written by: Eric England
Starring: Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Katie Stegeman, Alice MacDonald

In 2013, Kate didn’t want you to miss this one. She said: “A lesbian is assaulted and raped and contracts a disease as a result. That’s a gigantic trigger warning within itself. What follows is some fairly hardcore body horror that will either have you cheering for a return to “real horror” after a year of Insidious sequels and Paranormal Activity wannabes, or turning away from the screen until you turn it off.”


101. Breaking The Girls (2013)

// our review //

breaking-the-girls
Rotten Tomatoes score: 11%
Directed by: Jamie Babbit
Written by: Guinevere Turner, Mark Distefano
Starring: Madeline Zima, Agnes Bruckner, Kate Levering

Kate thought that there were a lot of pools in this movie, but also: “It’s hard to get around the fact that the only character who is self-identified as a lesbian is also batshit crazy, and she straight up murders people to win the love of her straight crush. That obviously backfires, since everyone knows that we can’t have nice things, even in fictional depictions of lesbianism where, oh, you know, our narratives don’t have to follow conventional stereotypes. Crazy, right? Breaking the Girls is a thriller, though, so even murderous crazy lesbians have more on their plate than meets the eye.”


100. The Baby Formula (2008) (Canada)

baby-formula
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Alison Reid
Written by: Richard Beattie
Starring: Megan Fahlenbock, Angela Vint

Before Canada gifted us with Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Orphan Black, Carmilla, and Ellen Page, it gave us this mockumentary about a lesbian couple that uses an experimental procedure which allows them to make sperm from their own stem cells to impregnate each other with the other one’s baby. While the film didn’t receive many favorable critical reviews, it does boast a heartwarming, happy ending, which, as you know, is a bit of a novelty on a list like this one.


99. joe + belle (2012) (Israel)

joe-and-belle

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Veronica Kedar
Written by: Stav J. Davis, Veronica Kedar
Starring: Sivan Levy, Veronica Kedar

Despite its harrowing premise — a drug dealer and a suicidal sociopath fall in love — Joe + Belle actually ends on a happy note. This after a handful of accidental murders, purposeful police evasions, and one very awkward karaoke night.


98. I Can’t Think Straight (2008)

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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 (real talk: this is not, objectively, a “good movie”), 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.


97. Lost & Delirious (2001)

lost-and-delirious

Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Directed by: Léa Pool
Written by: Judith Thompson
Starring: Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré and Mischa Barton

Most of us agree that this film was terrible, but its not without its merits. Like that cast, and those uniforms?


96. Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together (2011)

jamie-and-jessie-are-not-togehter-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Wendy Jo Carlton
Written by: Wendy Jo Carlton
Starring: Jax Jackson, Jessica London-Shields

Oh, you know, just your standard musical comedy with lesbian main characters. Queer best friends Jamie and Jessie live together, spend all their time together, love each other deeply — but aren’t in love with each other. Spoiler alert: Yes, they are, which they discover as Jessie plans to move across the country to take a role on Broadway in NYC.


95. A Perfect Ending (2012)

perfect-ending
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 an objectively 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.


94. Jenny’s Wedding (2015)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 15%
Directed by: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Written by: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel, Tom Wilkinson, Linda Emond

This was a nice effort — a little behind the times, ultimately, but still — that ended up falling a little flat due to, well… flatness: one-dimensional characters, no real exploration of the source of the parents’ homophobia, a total lack of chemistry between the lead characters. But Rory Gilmore plays a lesbian and if you watch it while making sarcastic commentary about it with your gal pals, you might really enjoy it! Plus, it’s the kind of movie that gives hope to proverbial lonely lesbians in the middle of nowhere.


93. Puccini For Beginners (2007)

// our review //

puccini-for-beginners

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.


92. It’s In The Water (1997)

its-in-the-water-lesbian-film
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Kelli Herd
Written by: Kelli Herd
Starring: Keri Jo Chapman, Teresa Garrett

In It’s In The Water, the whole town of Azalea Springs, Texas loses its damn mind when someone makes an offhand comment about having their water tested for The Gay. This film hits all the 90’s queer g-spots: beards, leather bars, AIDS, and anti-gay protesters foaming at the mouth. Plus some ladies making out in a supply closet, if you’re into that sort of thing.


91. Better Than Chocolate (1999) (Canada)

better-than-chocolate
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 90’s. 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.


90. Love My Life (2003) (Japan)

love-my-life
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 is the twelve millionth film about a gay or lesbian youth who comes out to shitty parents. That’s pretty much it.


89. Family (2008)

family-lesbian-movie

Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Faith Trimel
Written by: Faith Trimel
Starring: Fadhia Carmelle Marcelin, Leslie Gilliam

A group of lesbian besties making a pact to come out together? A cast full of people of color? Sign us up.


88. Tru Love (2014)

tru-love-lesbian-movie
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.


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

mein_freund_aus_faro1
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.


86. Girltrash: All Night Long! (2013)

girltrash-lesbian-movie

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.


85. Ashley (2013)

ashley-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Dean Matthew Ronalds
Written By: Domenic Migliore, Giovanni Anthony Silva
Starring: Nicole Fox, Jennifer Bini Taylor, Nicole Buehrer

A yellow tank top immediately spins me into a lesbian mindset, but it isn’t A torturing Ashley — Ashley is doing it to herself. What’s interesting about this is that this movie on Amazon is one of this site’s top outclicks, back from when Kate recommended it in 5 Lesbian Films You Might Have Missed in 2013, perhaps because many people are drawn to stories that contain terrible things like self-mutilation and sexual assault. Or perhaps because you recognize the lead actress from America’s Next Top Model! 


84. Antonia’s Line (1996)

antonias-line-movie
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 love with her genius daughter’s tutor.


83. Female Perversions (1997)

female-perversion

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%
Directed by: Susan Streitfeld
Written by: Susan Streitfeld, Julie Hebert
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Amy Madigan

The lesbian themes in Female Perversions aren’t central to the plot, and the non-linear storytelling is a bit much, but Tilda Swinton’s electric portrayal of the high strung Eve Stephens is outstanding. A lawyer who is one step away from being appointed a judge, Eve is called away to defend her kleptomaniac sister, Mad in this 1997 psychological gut punch.


82. Daphne (2007) (UK)

daphne-movie-poster-2007-1020438152
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.


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

my-mother-likes-women-lesbian-movie
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 fall in love! Hurrah! That love is the sapphic sort. Not-so-Hurrah.

80. Cupcakes (2013) (Israel)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%
Directed by: Eytan Fox
Written by:  Eli Bijaoui, Eytan Fox
Starring: Dana Ivgy, Keren Berger, Yael Bar-Zohar |

As a joke, a diverse group of neighbors disappointed by Israel’s submission to “EuroSong” (a Eurovision parody) write their own song to cheer up a friend, and are shocked when one of them sends the video of it to Eursong and get picked for next year’s competition. It’s a cute and funny film that would be ranked higher if the lesbian character and her girlfriend had a more central role, but regardless: check it out. It’s fun!


79. Affinity (2008) (UK)

affinity-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Tim Fywell
Written by: Andrew Davies, Sarah Waters
Starring: Zoë Tapper, Anna Madeley

Another period lesbian romance based on a novel by the incomparable Sarah Waters. In Affinity, buttoned-up Margret takes to visiting a women’s prison in hopes of forgetting her troubled home life. And we all know the best thing to do at a women’s prison is fall in love.


78. Go Fish (1995)
go-fish-lesbian-movie

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%
Directed by: Lawrence L. Simeone, Rose Troche
Written by: Donnie Jarman, George LePorte, Rose Troche, Guinevere Turner
Starring: T. Wendy McMillan, Guinevere Turner

It’s a legendary lesbian film and one of the first to really get “noticed,” but many modern viewers are stuck scratching their heads about why. Well: while coming out stories are wildly important, it’s always lovely to see a lesbian story that focuses on what happens next. Go Fish is a fun, spunky film about the frustrating experience of finding love, even when it’s right under your nose.


77. The Night Watch (2011) (UK)

night-watch-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by:Richard Laxton
Written by: Paula Milne, Sarah Waters
Starring: Anna Wilson-Jones

Reading Sarah Waters is a prerequisite for getting your toaster, but you can skip the queue if you carve 90 minutes out of your day to watch this faithful adaptation of her 2006 post-war novel Nightwatch.


76. The Hunger (1983)

the-hunger
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.


75. Salmonberries (1991) (Canada)

salmonberries-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
Directed by: Percy Adlon
Written by: Percy Aldon
Starring: k.d. lang, Chuck Connors, Rozel Zech

The stunning Alaskan scenery in Salmonberries almost feels like its own character in this quirky film staring k.d. Lang as an androgynous mine worker seeking her birth family.


74. Miao Miao (2008) (Taiwan)

miao-miao-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Hsiao-tse Cheng
Written by: Even Yi-Fen Tsai, Hsiao-tse Cheng
Starring: Ko Chia-yen, Fan Chih-wei, Sandrine Pinna

Miao Miao is sweet. It’s just so, so sweet. It veers into the too-understated-to-follow territory sometimes, but still sweet. Friends meeting each other and becoming obsessed with each other and then falling in love is wonderful! So why must it all end so sadly? No one knows. It just does.


73. Drool (2009)

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

Drool is one of the heavy hitters on this list. It’s not kidding around. A dark comedy that touches on abuse, assault and murder, but manages to be fun about it all.


72. Red Doors (2007)

red-doors
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, Mia, falls in love with another girl named Julie. Even though both women are successful doctors, they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their parents’ demands on their romantic lives.


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

chinese-botanist-daughter
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.


70. Itty Bitty Titty Committee (2007)

Itty-Bitty-Titty-Committee-lesbian-movie
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.


69. Gray Matters (2006)

gray-matters-lesbian-movie
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.


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

kinopoisk.ru
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.


67. Mädchen in Uniform (1931) (Germany)

// our review //

maedcheninuniform_poster

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!


66. Camp Takota (2014)

// our review //

camp-takota-hannah-hart
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Chris Riedell, Nick Riedell
Written By: Lydia Genner, Michael Goldfine, Mamrie Hart
Starring: Hannah Hart, Grace Hellbig, Mamrie Hart

My Drunk Kitchen‘s Hannah Hart plays a lesbian counselor at Camp Takota. Together with her best friend Maxine and her estranged friend Elise, they want to save the camp from impending foreclosure and chase their dreams in new directions. It’s a cute film aimed at teenagers with a refreshingly non-chalant inclusion of a queer character.


65. The Truth About Jane (2000)

the-truth-about-jane-lesbian-movie
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!


64. Cloudburst (2013)

cloudburst-lesbian-movie
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.


63. Bumblef*ck USA (2014)

// our review //

bumblefckusa-lesbian-movie
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.


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

whos-afraid-of-vagina-wolf

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.


61. Monster (2004)

monster-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Written by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern

Based on the real-life story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, Monster is an Academy Award-winning crime drama about a prostitute who killed six men during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Charlize Theron plays Wuornos, and Christina Ricci plays Tyria Moore, Wuornos’ girlfriend. It’s an excellent film, but it’s not ranked higher because its portrayal of lesbiansim isn’t exactly the most flattering!

60. The Journey / Sancharram (2005) (India)

the-journey-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Ligy J. Pullappally
Written by: Ligy J. Pullappally
Starring: Suhasini V. Nair, Shruiti Menon, K.P.A.C. Lalitha

In an Indian village where arranged marriages are just a way of life, Kiran falls in love with her friend Delilah.


59. Reaching For The Moon (2013)

// our review //

reaching-for-the moon
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
Directed By: Bruno Barreto
Written By: Julie Sayres, Matthew Chapman
Starring: Miranda Otto, Gloria Pires, Tracy Middendorf

Reaching For The Moon is based on the relationship between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares, whose passionate, tumultuous love affair took place in Petrópolis between 1951 and 1967.


58. Yes or No (Yak Rak Ko Rak Loei) (2012)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: : Sarasawadee Wongsompetch
Written by: : Sarasawadee Wongsompetch
Starring: Sucharat Manaying, Suppanad Jittaleela

This Thai film looks at a relationship between two students from different backgrounds: Kim, a masculine-of-center lesbian, and Pie, who hails from a traditional family that doesn’t approve of gay people. Despite Pie’s prejudices toward Kim, they grow closer and closer and ultimately fall in love.


57. Personal Best (1982)

personal-best-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%
Directed by: Robert Towne
Written by: Robert Towne
Starring: Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, Patrice Donnelly

Fun fact: This is the movie Ellen cited as making her gay when she came out on her sitcom in 1997. This classic film tells the story of track and field star Chris Cahill who meets an more experienced athlete at the ’76 Olympic trials. Their gal pal-ness quickly turns to romance. Like most older lesbian films, it doesn’t have a happy ending.


56. Spider Lilies / Ci Qing (2007) (Taiwan)

Spider-Lilies-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Zero Chou
Written by: Zero Chou
Starring: Rainie Yang, Isabella Leong

Spider Lilies won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film at the Berlin Film Festival. It tells the story of Jade, a cybersex worker, and Takeko, a tattoo artist, who awaken each other’s repressed sexuality and fall in love. Take that, cursed tattoo!


55. The Secret Diaries of Ms Anne Lister (2010) (UK)

secret-diaries-of-miss-ann-lister-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: James Kent
Written By: Jane English
Starring: Maxine Peake, Anna Madeley

Following the success of Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet, BBC filmed another queer period piece, this time about real-life lesbian lady Anne Lister. Lister was a Yorskshire landowner in the 19th century and an early industrialist. She also loved the ladies. The screenplay is based on the 4,000,00o Lister wrote in her diaries in her lifetime. (The lesbian exploits were written in cipher!)


54. Laurel Canyon (2002)

laurel-canyon-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%
Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko
Written by: Lisa Cholodenko
Starring: Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale plays Alex, a young MD student who leaves her husband to get into a polyamorous relationship with her husband’s mom and his mom’s boyfriend. Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko says the film was inspired by the Joni Mitchel’s “Ladies of the Canyon.”


53. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Heavenly-Creatures-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh
Starring: Kate Winslet, Melanie Lynskey, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent

Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed film details the obsessive (and ultimately) fatal relationship between Juliet and Pauline, who meet when they are 13 years old and fall in immediate love with each other. They spend most of their time writing about their fictional world, Borovnia, and projecting themselves into it. In real life, Juliet grew up to become famous novelist Anne Perry.


52. Karmen Gei (2001) (Senegal)

karmen-gei
Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%
Directed By: Joseph Gaï Ramaka
Written By: Joseph Gaï Ramaka
Starring: Jeinaba Diop Gai, Magaye Niang, Stéphanie Biddle

Pansexual “social outlaw” Karmen surprises her captors at a women’s prison when she seduces warden Angelique and flees for the Dakar underworld. Eventually, a love triangle emerges between Karmen, Angelique and police corporal Lamine and things get progressively more complicated from there.


51. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) (France)

// kate’s review //

blue-is-the-warmest-color-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Directed By: Abdel Kechiche
Written By: Julie Maroh, Abdel Kechiche, Ghalya Lacroix, Ghalia Lacroix
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos

Perhaps the most controversial lesbian film of this century, Blue Is the Warmest Color was decried as pornography by some, an exploitative film dominated by the male gaze by others and heralded as the greatest queer film of all time by others. It is based on the graphic novel of the same name, and while it embraces the coming of age queer themes of the source material, it zigs in a completely different direction in the end.


50. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) (Sweden)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Directed By: Niels Arden Oplev
Written By: Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg, Nicolaj Arcel
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace

Adapted from Stieg Larsson’s best selling trilogy of novels, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo focuses on bisexual hacker Lisbeth Salander, who suffers brutal sexual abuse at the hands of her foster care supervisor and ultimately becomes the investigative partner of Mikael Blomkvist, a famous newspaper reporter who is hired by an eccentric millionaire to solve the decades old case of his missing granddaughter. Their trail leads them to (surprise!) more sexual abuse. (Larsson’s novel was titled Men Who Hate Women in the native Swedish version.)


49. Pretty Persuasion (2005)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%
Directed By: Marcos Siega
Written By: Skander Halim
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, Jane Krakowski, Selma Blair

Evan Rachel Wood sparkles like a narcissistic little diamond in this mindfuck of a Mean Girls film. Pretty Persuasion hits all the triggers—sexual assault, racism, and suicide to name a few—and plenty more taboos besides. It’s got some important things to say about agency and sexuality, if you can make it through the racist rants to get there.


48. Lianna (1983) (Canada)

lianna-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Directed By: John Sayles
Written By: John Sayles
Starring: Linda Griffiths, Jane Hallaren, Jon De Vries

Lianna is dated, absolutely. It hails from the same year Mr. T joined The A Team, for crying out loud. But the story of self-discovery and general gal-palling stands the test of time, even if you do have to put up with some really (really) bad hair to get to it.


47. Young and Wild / Joven y Alocada (2012) (Chile)

young-and-wild-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Marialy Rivas
Written By: María José VieraGallo, Marialy Rivas, Pedro Peirano, Maria-Jose Viera Gallo, Sebastián Sepúlveda
Starring: Alicia Rodríguez, Aline Küppenheim, María Gracia Omegna

Despite being raised by strict Evangelicals, Daniela gets kicked out of her church for being a fornicator. Young and Wild may be a Chilean film, but its authenticity is universal. Nothing is tied up in a neat little bow, but then life rarely is. Daniela is sexy, gorgeous, and likes to kiss pretty girls. Count us in.


46. The Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls In Love (1995)

incredibly-true-advetures-of-two-girls-in-love-lesbian-movie

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
Directed By: Maria Maggenti
Written By: Maria Maggenti
Starring: Laurel Holloman, Nicole Ari Parker

Before she was The L Word‘s Tina Kennard, Laurel Holloman landed on our screens as Randy Dean, an underachieving high school student who falls in love with an affluent girl from her high school. It’s so sweet and the ending is so happy it’s hard to believe this movie even exists, let alone was filmed a decade before The L Word.


45. Fingersmith (2005) (UK)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Aisling Walsh
Written By: Sarah Warers
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ropert Evans, Elaine Cassidy, Imelda Staunton , Michelle Dockery

Based on Sarah Waters’ beloved novel, BBC’s critically acclaimed Fingersmith tells the story of a couple of Victorian lesbians who spend their whole lives loving and scamming each other. Maud and Sue are the original Pretty Little Liars!


44. BFFs (2014)

// our review //

BFFs-movie-poster
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Andrew Putschoegl
Written By: Andrea Grano, Tara Karsian
Starring: Larisa Oleynik, Sean Maher, Pat Carroll

This fun buddy-movie-slash-romcom “takes female-driven to a whole new level,” according to out comedian Brittani Nichols, who wrote in her review of the film, “It’s a narrative that opens the doors for the discussion of sexual fluidity without making it corny or annoying and the best part of all is it’s funny.” It’s the story of two friends who fake being a couple to use a free trip to a Couples Retreat and discover while pretending to be girlfriends that there might be more to their friendship than they previously considered.


43. Four-Faced Liar (2010)

// our review //

four-faced-liar-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Jacob Chase, Samantha Housman
Written By: Marja-Lewis Ryan
Starring: Marja-Lewis Ryan, Daniel Carlisle, Todd Kubrak

Four-Faced Liar spends most of its time hanging out in an area that makes me every so slightly uncomfortable: straight girl in a committed relationship with a guy starts fooling around with the nearest lesbian. Too often, the lesbian is a screeching vulture flapping around the edges while the straight girl actually ends up with the boy, but Four-Faced Liar is actually nuanced enough to make it work.


42. Concussion (2013)

// our review //

concussion-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%
Directed By: Stacie Passon
Written By: Stacie Passon
Starring: Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff, Jonathan Tchaikovsky

When you were watching Mad Men, did you wish Maggie Siff would get off Don Draper’s D and get under a hot girl? If so, Concussion is the film for you!


41. Stud Life (2012) (UK)

stud-life-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Campbell Ex
Written By: Campbell Ex
Starring: T’Nia Miller, Kyle Treslove, Robyn Kerr

Not even an obviously teensy budget can break this gorgeously acted film about a stud finding love, grappling with shifting friendships, and figuring out what it means when the rules you set for yourself are the very things that stop you from getting what you want most.

40. Fire (1996) (India)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Directed By: Deepa Mehta
Written By: Deepa Mehta
Starring: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Kulbhushan Kharbanda

I’ve heard it said that the best way to write a good story is to put your favorite character in a tree and throw rocks at them. For Radha and Sita, two Indian women stuck in loveless and demeaning marriages, rocks are the least of their problems. One of the first Indian film to explicitly portray homosexuality, Fire has faced an avalanche of controversy. Banned books (and films!) do it better.


39. Valencia (2013)

// our review //

valencia
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Peter Anthony, Sharon Barnes
Written By: Peter Anthony, Sharon Barnes
Starring: Shawna Elizabeth, Annie Danger, Tanya Wischerath

A once in a life time collaboration, Valencia The Movie/s is what happens when twenty-one (!) queer filmmakers each create a short film depicting one chapter of Michelle Tea’s 2000 Lambda Literary Award winning novel of the same name. It’s almost too cool to be believed, and Gabby declared it “the most masterful dyke-centric artsy-weirdo film I’ve ever seen.”


38. Water Lilies (2008) (France)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%
Directed by: Céline Sciamma
Written by: Céline Sciamma
Starring: Pauline Acquart, Adèle Haenel, Louise Blachère

Perhaps more than any other film on this list, Water Lilies perfect captures the heart-wrenching truth of sexual awakening, jealousy, and lust. And if that’s not enough to make you sit down with this gorgeous French film, how about the fact that Adele Haenel, who won a Ceasar award for her portrayal of Floriane, fell in love with her female director Celine Sciamma on the set of Water Lilies and they’re still together to this very day?


37. Farewell, My Queen (2012) (France)

farewell-my-queen
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Directed By: Benoît Jacquot
Written By: Chantal Thomas, Benoît Jacquot, Gilles Taurand, Gilles Taurant
Starring: Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, Virginie Ledoyen, Xavier Beauvois

If you’re looking for a fictional account of the last days of Marie Antoinette, in which she seduces the young woman who reads to her, well, this movie is for you!  It features Diane Kruger and a pre-Blue Is the Warmest Color Léa Seydoux as Sidonie Laborde, Marie Antoinette’s reader.


36. Rent (2005)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%
Directed By: Chris Columbus
Written By: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin

Based on the long-running Broadway musical of the same name, Rent explores the lives of several East Village artists — many of them queer — living during the AIDS crisis in New York City in the late ’80s. The show-stopping “Take Me (Or Leave Me)” is a rousing number between Maureen, a bisexual performance artist who loves to flirt and get wild, and her girlfriend, Joanne, a lawyer who loves lists and stability.


35. Mullholland Drive (2001)

mullholland-drive-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
Directed By: David Lynch
Written By: Joyce Eliason, David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller

It’s tough to describe this neo-noir mystery beyond alerting you that it’s a David Lynch film with a non-linear narrative and lots of twists and turns: complicated, weird, smart, compelling. Naomi Watts plays Betty Elms, an aspiring actress new to Los Angeles who becomes friends with Rita, an amnesic played by Laura Harring, who’s been hiding from the world in Elms’ aunt’s apartment. Everything that happens next is too intense and bizarre to sum up, but rest assured: women have sex in this movie.


34. Set it Off (1996)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%
Directed By: F. Gary Gray
Written By: Takashi Bufford, Kate Lanier
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox

Four women fed up with the options available to them as black women band together to damn the man and perform their own bank heists. Queen Latifah plays lesbian character Cleo, and the film also shows the relationship between her and her girlfriend, Urusula. AfterEllen called it “one of the greatest girl-power/female-solidarity flicks around and a true trend-starter from 1996.”


33. Foxfire (1996)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 30%
Directed By: Annette Haywood-Carter
Written By: Elizabeth White
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Hedy Burress, Jenny Lewis, Jenny Shimizu

If My So-Called Life took Dawson’s Creek out behind the gym and put a baby in it, that baby was a slightly unhinged Angelia Jolie, it would be called Foxfire. Jenny Shimizu plays a lesbian and Angelina Jolie’s character is pretty queer, too — the set of this film is where those two actresses fell in love and Jolie realized she was bisexual. The story of the close bonds groups of female friends from, especially in the face of adversity, is something we all understand on a bone-deep level.


32. Boy Meets Girl (2014)

// our review //

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Directed by: Eric Schaeffer
Written by: Eric Schaeffer
Starring: Michael Welch, Alexandra Turshen, Michelle Hendley

Mari found “Boy Meets Girl” imperfect, but also groundbreaking and heartwarming: “Ricky is sweet and smart and quirky and cute, and I dare you all not to have a crush on her by the end of the film. She’s also a whole person, with feelings and dreams and heartbreaks and desires all her own that don’t necessarily have anything to do with being trans. While she is feminine, she’s far the hyper-femme stereotypes, with a definite tomboy spirit. She’s perhaps one of the most nuanced, least stereotypical trans characters that has ever been portrayed in film.”


31. High Art (1998)

high-art-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko
Written By: Lisa Cholodenko
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson

Syd’s boyfriend James isn’t nearly as intriguing as the tragically talented lesbian drug addict photographer Lucy who lives in her building — with her girlfriend, German actress Greta. A relationship between Syd and Lucy begins brewing, changing both of their lives forever.


30. D.E.B.S. (2004)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%
Directed by: Angela Robinson
Written by: Angela Robinson
Starring: Jordana Brewster, Sara Foster, Meagan Good

Carly said of this queer take on a crime caper, “D.E.B.S. is like the Little Engine That Could of lezzy films. D.E.B.S.’s small budget and subsequent green screen overdose gives it a campy and silly look which I totally love. The script & the acting are decent and the soundtrack is fantastic. Unfortunately it’s pretty tame as far as the girl-on-girl action goes, but what we do see is adorable and feels realistic. Did I mention Jordana Brewster? Yow. If you like girls with guns, you’ll love this coming-of-age girl-meets-girl love story, set amongst spy missions and national security.”


29. Codependent Lesbian Space Aliens Seeks Same (2012)

codependent-lesbian-space-alien-seeks-same-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Directed By: Madeleine Olnek
Written By: Madeleine Olnek
Starring: Susan Ziegler, Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan

It’s super weird and super super smart. Even after it’s over, you’re not sure what you watched, but you’re glad you watched it.

Note: We did not include the film Foxy Merkins, by the same creators, as several of our writers found it to contain horrifying racist violence.


28. The Fish Child / El Niño Pez  (2009) (Argentina)

the-fish-child-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Lucía Puenzo
Written By: Lucía Puenzo
Starring: Inés Efron, Mariela Vitale

La Guayi is working as a live-in maid for Lala’s wealthy Argentinean family when Lala falls in love with her — and grows increasingly jealous of and angry at La Guayi’s other paramours. When Lala’s father is killed and Lala flees her home in search of La Guayi, she begins learning the truth about the girl she’s so obsessed with. Based on Lucía Puenzo’s novel of the same name, the film is a dark and engrossing drama.


27. Stranger Inside (2001)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Cheryl Dunye
Written By: Catherine Crouch, Cheryl Dunye
Starring: Yolonda Ross, Davenia McFadden, Rain Phoenix, Mary Mara

Stranger Inside is a hard, gritty, look at life inside a women’s correctional facility, and it’s not all Norma toast and Laverne Cox doing your hair. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it almost made me miss Piper.


26. The Watermelon Woman (1997)

the-watermelon-woman-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Directed By: Cheryl Dunye
Written By: Cheryl Dunye
Starring: Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker

The Watermelon Woman is the first feature film to be directed by an out black lesbian, which is reason enough to give it a shot. But beyond that, it’s a warm and sexy film that explores several lesbian relationships while peeling back some of the layers of how we think about race, how we have historically thought about race, and the intersectionality of both of those with queer culture. Not too bad for a film made with a $300,000 budget.


25. Drifting Flowers (2008) (Taiwan)

drifting-flowers-movie-lesbian
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed by: Zero Chou
Written by: Zero Chou
Starring: Pai Chih-Ying, Serena Fang, Chao Yi-lan, Yi-Ching Lu

Drifting Flowers seamlessly weaves together three stories—stories of love, of jealousy, of loss, to create a lush and visually stunning film. It can edge towards cliché at times, but it’s filled with so many tender and funny moments that a little cliché is easy to forgive.


24. Loving Annabelle (2006)

loving-annabelle-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Katherine Brooks
Written By: Olivia Bohnhoff, Katherine Brooks, Karen Klopfenstein
Starring: Diane Gaidry, Erin Kelly, Ilene Graff

A Catholic boarding school teacher falls in love with one of her students. It’s the plot of Mädchen in Uniform with more on-screen lesbian sex shenanigans and electric guitars.


23. The Runaways (2010)

// our review //

runaways
Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%
Directed By: Floria Sigismondi
Written By: Floria Sigismondi
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon

Based on Cherrie Curie’s memoir Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway, the film explores the relationship between Currie and Joan Jett during the time they spent together on the road in their all-girl 1970s rockband. It passes The Bechdel Test many times over.


22. The Kids Are All Right (2010)

// our review //

the-kids-are-all-right
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko
Written By: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson

Nic and Jules are a successful lesbian couple living in Los Angeles with the two kids they each had from the same sperm donor. The kids track down the sperm donor and he weasels his way into their lives and into Jules’ pants. The movie has a (gay) happy ending, and critics loved it. It was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Queer women, however, engaged in heated debates about the film all over the internet. It is loved and loathed by our community in equal measure.


21. All Over Me (1997)

all-over-me-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Directed By: Alex Sichel
Written By: Sylvia Sichel
Starring: Alison Folland, Tara Subkoff, Wilson Cruz

Ah, the 90’s. When riot grrrl was in full swing and hating your best friend (who makes out with you) for having a boyfriend was all the rage. Come for the amazing soundtrack, stay for Leisha Hailey with pink hair.

20. Tipping the Velvet (2002) (UK)

tipping-the-velvet-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Geoffrey Sax
Written By: Andrew Davies
Starring: Rachel Stirling, Keeley Hawes, Anna Chancellor, Jodhi May, Hugh Bonneville

This film adaptation of the beloved classic Sarah Waters historical novel Tipping the Velvet is a classic in its own right. It follows Nancy Astler from her girlhood of shucking oysters through subsequent stages of coming into her self and sexual orientation, including a run with her friend Kitty as drag performers.


19. Life Partners (2014)

// our review //

life_partners
Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%
Directed By: Susanna Fogel
Written By: Joni Lefkowitz, Susanna Fogel
Starring: Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Kate McKinnon, Gabourey Sidibe

Leighton Meester is absolutely adorable in this comedy about two co-dependent best friends — one straight, one gay — who have to learn a new way to navigate their relationship after one falls in love.


18. Desert Hearts (1985)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Directed By: Robert Louis Stevenson, Donna Deitch
Written By: Jane Rule, Natalie Cooper
Starring: Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley, Andra Akers

This was one of the first mainstream movies to have a lesbian storyline, which means it was pretty controversial and is a bonafide CLASSIC. Based on the classic novel by Jane Rule, this understated drama is the story of straightlaced Columbia professor and divorcee Vivian, who escapes her life and ends up falling for cowgirl Cay. Rachel wrote of the film, “One of the best and most moving things in the entire movie is the way that, through the voices of all the women in the film, heterosexual relationships are subtly critiqued – not for the sake of some big gay agenda, but because this is set in 1958 and truthfully there was a whole lot the institution of marriage just didn’t do for women back then. Being gay isn’t presented as the answer to relationship or matrimonial issues, but there is a way in which Vivian and Cay’s relationship feels honest and genuine because it’s outside of the structures of patriarchy that can sometimes make it hard to really respect or support a partner of the opposite sex.”


17. If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)

If_These_Walls_Could_Talk-2-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Jane Anderson, Martha Coolidge, Anne Heche
Written By: Alex Sichel, Sylvia Sichel, Anne Heche, Jane Anderson
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Nia Long, Vanessa Redgrave, Sharon Stone, Chloë Sevigny

Like the original film, this HBO-produced sequel follows the lives of three different couples who live in the same house in different time periods. Only, this time, they’re lesbians! You know that clip of Michelle Williams and Chloë Sevigny making out that you always see all over Tumblr and YouTube? Yeah, that’s from this.


16. Appropriate Behavior (2014)

// our review //

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Directed By: Desiree Akhavan
Written By: Desiree Akhavan
Starring: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer, Anh Duong

This film is so witty and smart and cool I can hardly believe it’s real! Written by and starring bisexual actress Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behavior starts when its protagonist’s relationship ends, sending her into a spiral as she tries to figure out what she’s doing with her life and how that fits in with what her family wants for her.


15. The Hours (2002)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
Directed By: Stephen Daldry
Written By: David Hare
Starring: Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman

Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book by Michael Cunningham, The Hours uses “Mrs. Dalloway” as a point of connection for three interconnected stories happening in three different time periods, including Virginia Woolf’s own. There are so many brilliant lines and quotable monologues that the story is just the icing on this highly literary cake. (And we’re making the cake so Daddy knows that we love him, remember.)


14. The Secrets/Ha-Sodot (Israeli) (2007)

the-secrets-ha-sodot-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Avi Nesher
Written By: Avi Nesher, Hadar Galron
Starring: Adir Miller, Ania Bukstein, Fanny Ardant, Guri Alfi, Michal Shtamler

In Israel, two orthodox students f*ck the patriarchy and learn a lot about themselves in the process. It’s tender and feminist and complicated and heart-wrenching and unlike any lesbian movie you’ve seen before.


13. Mosquita y Mari (2012)

// our reviews //

mosquita-y-mari
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Directed By: Aurora Guerrero
Written By: Aurora Guerrero
Starring: Fenessa Pineda, Venecia Troncoso, Laura Patalano

Fans of Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe will love this tender, earnest story of friendship, attraction, and family. As Gabby wrote, the film “find[s] the bits that makes us who we are and blast[s] them onto a screen.”


12. My Summer of Love (2004)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Directed By: Pavel Pavlikovskiy, Pawel Pawlikowski
Written By: Pavel Pavlikovskiy, Michael Wynne, Pawel Pawlikowski
Starring: Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews

My Summer of Love won not only a BAFTA, but also a place in all of our hearts for casting Emily Blunt as a lesbian with some pretty intense love scenes. A twisted lesbian with a warped sense of a good time, but some people are into that. Each to their own, ladies.


11. Kyss Mig/Kiss Me (Swedish) (2011)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
Directed By: Alexandra-Therese Keining, Therese Keining
Written By: Alexandra-Therese Keining
Starring: Liv Mjönes, Krister Henriksson, Lena Endre, Joakim Nätterqvist, Josefine Tengblad

Oh, you know, just your average 33-year-old straight-engaged woman who accidentally falls in love with her soon-to-be stepsister when she meets her for the very first time. Mia’s dumb boyfriend Tim never stood a chance.


10. Pride (2014)

// our review //

pride-lesbian-movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Directed By: Matthew Warchus
Written By: Stephen Beresford
Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West

A British historical dramedy based on the true story of LGBT activists who came together to support British miners during their 1984 strike. The B-story of the film focuses on the real-life activist group, Lesbians Against Pit Closures.


9. Bound (1996)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Directed by: The Wachowskis
Written by: The Wachowskis
Starring: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Violet and Corky decide the best way to be together and break free from their pasts is to steal $2 million of mafia money. The plot and the violence are cartoonishly over the top, but the lesbian sex scenes are for real. They were choreographed by the legendary Susie Bright, who received a cameo in the film for her help teaching Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon how to scissor.


8. Gia (1997)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Directed By: Michael Cristofer
Written By: Jay McInerney, Michael Cristofer
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Michael Cole

Like so many lesbian movies on this list, this HBO biographical film about model Gia Marie Carangi is sexy and sweet and also harrowing and miserable. The love scene between Elizabeth Mitchell and Angelina Jolie, though, is one for the record books. It’s the reason half the lesbians over the age of 35 realized they’re gay.


7. Aimee & Jaguar (2000) (Germany)

aimee and jaguar lesbian movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Directed By: Max Färberböck
Written By: Erika Fischer, Max Färberböck, Rona Munro
Starring: Juliane Köhler, Maria Schrader, Heike Makatsch, Johanna Wokalek

Set in Berlin during World War II, Aimee & Jaguar is a fictional account of the real lives of  Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim. One is a Jewish mother working with an underground organization to fight the Nazis; the other is the wife of a Nazi soldier. Their relationship is intense and wonderful and unspeakably tragic. You’ll have to watch Imagine Me & You ten times after you watch this to feel better.


6. Pariah (2011)

pariah lesbian movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Directed By: Dee Rees
Written By: Dee Rees
Starring: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Wendell Pierce

Despite violent opposition from her mother, who wants her daughter to dress femininely and be straight, 17-year-old Alike prefers to express herself with androgynous clothes and liking girls. When her mother refuses to accept her, she has to choose between staying and trying to gain her mother’s approval or leaving for college early to start a new life. We were big fans of this one.


5. Show Me Love / Fucking Amal (1999) (Sweden)

fucking amal lesbian movie
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Directed By: Lukas Moodysson
Written By: Lukas Moodysson
Starring: Alexandra Dahlstrom, Rebecca Liljeberg, Rebecka Liljeberg

In the small town of Amal, Sweden, two girls with very different personalities find that they have a pretty big thing in common. (Spoiler alert: It’s liking girls.) Elin is a popular, social butterfly. Agnes is an openly gay depressed recluse. The two of them decide to take a five-hour ride to Stockholm to solve all their problems, and fall in love along the way.


4. Circumstance (2011) (Iran)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%
Directed By: Maryam Keshavarz
Written By: Maryam Keshavarz
Starring: Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai

In Tehran, Atafeh and her orphaned best friend, Shireen, fall in love, despite her brother’s growing obsession with Shireen and the religious beliefs of her family. This story is full of youth but also sexuality, and family and rules and an underworld where people can be who they are. The two girls at the center are being torn really strongly in a few directions, sometimes almost violently so, but can’t seem to untangle from each other or from their familial obligations.


3. Imagine Me & You (2006)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%
Directed By: Ol Parker
Written By: Ol Parker
Starring: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode, Anthony Head, Celia Imrie

In a sea of depressing, soul-crushing lesbian films, Imagine Me & You stands alone as the mainstream rom-com where the girl gets the girl. Even the straight dudes are good guys in this movie!


2. Saving Face (2005)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Directed By: Alice Wu
Written By: Alice Wu
Starring: Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen

A multi-generational romantic comedy about a lesbian surgeon and her pregnant, unwed mother trying to find the courage to follow their hearts instead of their family’s expectations. There is nothing to dislike about this movie and if you haven’t seen it, you should remedy that immediately.


1. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

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Rotten Tomatoes score: 34%
Directed by: Jamie Babbit
Written by: Brian Wayne Peterson and Jamie Babbit
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, RuPaul

We’re surprised that the critics didn’t fall for this charming, campy, smart and timeless lesbian movie because we sure did. But I’m a Cheerleader is so many things: a cute love story, an exploration of the coming out experience, a delightfully wacky take on the real-life horrors of gay conversion therapy and, above all, hilarious. It’s also legendary for its battle with the MPAA, who wanted to slap an NC-17 on the film ’cause apparently girl-on-girl culture and female masturbation are downright obscene. After a few rounds of edits, it earned an R, hit movie theaters, and began its legendary claim on our hearts.

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