LGBT History on Screen

Pride group shot
Pride group shot

These films have all been selected as they individually highlight various issues and discussion points surrounding LGBT History from around the world. As the visibility of LGBT characters in cinema increases, we feel these films help contribute to awareness, empathy and understanding of LGBT issues for young people, as well as forming part of a proud beacon through which to celebrate equality and diversity. All of the titles highlighted come complete with their own film guides, designed to expand upon the issues raised in the films, from same sex parenting to gender reassignment.

52 Tuesdays

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration110 mins

52 Tuesdays(2013)

Australian coming-of-age drama about a sixteen-year-old’s weekly meetings with her mother, who is undergoing gender reassignment.

This Australian coming-of-age drama focuses on universal issues around the sometimes fractious relationship between parents and their children, through the story of Billie, a spiky sixteen year-old exploring her identity and James, her mother who is undergoing gender reassignment. This unusually structured film tackles the issues it raises in an accessible and frank fashion.

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GBF (G.B.F.)

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration93 mins

GBF (G.B.F.) (2013)

Tanner is outed as gay by his classmates and becomes the focus of three popular clique leaders anxious to mould him into their very own G.B.F.

Coming out can still be traumatic for young people, but when you are outed via social media, the effect can be even more stressful. This charming teen comedy explores the topic with panache and good humour, raising important discussion points around social stereotypes and highlighting the importance of constructing your own identity rather than allowing others to do it for you.

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Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)(2014)

Brazilian romantic drama about a blind student whose relationship with his best friend is threatened by the arrival of a handsome new boy in school.

This young love story from Brazil focusses on a blind teenager whose close bond with his best friend is disrupted when handsome new boy Gabriel arrives at their school. With the two boys taking their developing sexuality in their stride, the tentative exploration of romance is played out with excruciating accuracy, and the conclusion is one of quiet defiance.

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Philadelphia

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration120 mins

Philadelphia(1993)

Powerful drama made in 1993 when it was daring to make a Hollywood film about AIDS, about a top lawyer sacked when his firm learns he has the disease.

At the time of its release, this film was the first major Hollywood title to directly deal with the issue of HIV/AIDS. Through the canny casting of A-listers to help lend accessibility, this courtroom drama is ideal for exploring sensitive issues around homophobia (both overt and more subtle), as well as human rights more broadly, using audiences emotions to provoke debate.

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All About My Mother

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration99 mins

All About My Mother(1999)

Uplifting tale of Manuela, a mother who decides to relocate to Barcelona after her son's sudden death.

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is one of the most distinctive filmmakers working today. Many of his films are lavish, colourful representations of femininity, gay identity and gender fluidity. This film is arguably his masterpiece, an unashamedly melodramatic, profoundly moving depiction of grief and those on the margins of mainstream society.

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Rebel Without a Cause

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration106 mins

Rebel Without a Cause(1955)

Classic 1950s film about a moody troublemaker - played by legendary actor James Dean, who died in a car crash a month before its release.

When this iconic teen film was released, homosexuality was rarely discussed directly in films. But watching it now reveals a clear romantic longing from Sal Mineo’s Plato towards James Dean’s Jim. The film tenderly hints at a love that could not at the time speak its name. Unfortunately, the bullying Plato is subjected to ensures that the film remains all too topical today.

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The Birdcage

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration114 mins

The Birdcage(1996)

Comedy about a gay cabaret owner and his drag queen partner who agree to play it straight when meeting the parents of their son’s fiancée.

A father agrees to play straight to appease the parents of his son’s fiancé, and asks his partner – a celebrity drag queen – to make themselves scarce. Inevitably things go awry, resulting in a farcical family dinner, and ultimately loud and proud messages about being yourself and embracing diversity. This charming comedy is ideal for celebrating pride and identity.

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Tomboy

CertU

Age group7+

Duration79 mins

Tomboy(2011)

A beautifully understated, naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that’s both touching and gently humorous.

A touching French film about a 10 year-old girl living a dual existence as a boy, Tomboy is ideal for introducing young people to issues around gender identity. The film is quiet and gentle in tone and does not presume to make any further assumptions about the character, beyond an initial exploration of identity and self-discovery, presented in a universal, sensitive way.

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The Kids Are All Right

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration102 mins

The Kids Are All Right(2010)

Comedy-drama about two teenagers growing up with two mothers who decide to track down their surrogate father.

This laid back comedy tells the story of a lesbian couple raising their two teenage children, before their lives get disrupted when their anonymous sperm donor arrives on the scene, threatening their established domestic setup. The film wittily examines the idea of what “normal” or “unconventional” family units are, without ever feeling like a political polemic.

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The Imitation Game

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration109 mins

The Imitation Game(2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as pioneering mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, who was highly influential, but persecuted for being gay.

This biopic of code breaker Alan Turing largely draws on his stellar professional achievements, but does not shy away from presenting the shockingly callous treatment he was subjected to as a result of his homosexuality. It provides a sobering reminder to young people of discrimination and persecution seen in our recent history, and which remains relevant today.

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Pride

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration115 mins

Pride (2014)

Uplifting comedy about an unlikely moment in recent British history, when in 1984, gay rights activists offered to support the striking miners.

Set in the 1980s, Pride tells the true story of a group of lesbian and gay activists who supported a community of striking Welsh miners in a show of unity and strength. Crowd-pleasing, and with a rocking soundtrack, the film powerfully demonstrates the importance of political protest, adding a poignant story about a young lad struggling to come out to his parents to the mix.

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