For years, lesbian stories have been underrepresented and underappreciated in Hollywood. That’s why lesbian cinema has become so important. These films break boundaries by telling stories about the experiences of lesbian women in poignant, thought-provoking ways. They capture the nuances of love, relationships, and sexuality that are often overlooked in mainstream movies. Here are some must-watch films in lesbian cinema.
1. “Carol” (2015): Directed by Todd Haynes, this film is based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. It tells the story of an unlikely romance between an older woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett) and a younger woman named Therese (Rooney Mara) in the 1950s. The film is visually stunning and the performances by Blanchett and Mara are outstanding.
2. “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (2013): This French film tells the story of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a high school student who falls in love with a blue-haired artist named Emma (Léa Seydoux). The film is known for its explicit sex scenes, but it’s also a beautiful portrait of a young woman coming to terms with her sexuality.
3. “The Handmaiden” (2016): This South Korean film by Park Chan-wook is a twisty, erotic thriller about a young woman named Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) who becomes a handmaiden to a wealthy heiress named Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee). As the two women grow closer, secrets are revealed and nothing is as it seems. The film is visually stunning and cleverly plotted.
4. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019): This French film tells the story of Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a painter who is hired to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), a young woman who has just left a convent. As Marianne and Héloïse get to know each other, they start to fall in love. The film is meditative, beautifully shot, and features two stunning performances from Merlant and Haenel.
5. “But I’m a Cheerleader” (1999): This cult classic indie film by Jamie Babbit is a dark comedy about a teenage girl named Megan (Natasha Lyonne) who is sent to a conversion therapy camp when her parents suspect she’s a lesbian. The film is a satirical take on the harmful practice of conversion therapy and has become a beloved classic among queer audiences.
Lesbian cinema has become an important part of the film canon, providing representation for a group that has been historically ignored by Hollywood. These films break boundaries by exploring the complexity of lesbian relationships and telling stories that are often universal in their themes of love, loss, and self-discovery. So if you’re looking to explore this genre, these films are a great place to start.