Coming Out Movies Everyone Should Watch
Coming Out is a complex and overwhelming process for most of us, a process that must only happen when we are ready and should never be rushed. Coming Out is a constant, repeated process, that bears with it many contrasting and powerful feelings, such as fear, enthusiasm, regret, vulnerability, impatience, anger and happiness.
This is why we need solidarity when we decide to come out. It’s not something that we’re supposed to do on our own, without a support system on our side, whether that is our friends, our books or movies.
Reading, watching and listening to other people’s stories is a necessary step in the process of coming to terms with our identity and gaining the confidence we need to make such an important step. Additionally, when making important decisions, we need to remember that we’re not the only ones going through this.
This is where LGBT movies come to help. Living coming out stories through the characters helps empower and prepare us for the big moment.
Here is a list of the 10 best – both classic and more alternative – Coming Out movies you need to watch! Some coming-outs go well, some others not so well, just like in real life, but it’s important to remember that it’s never the end, and you’re never alone!
The Sum of Us (1994)
Starring Jack Thompson and a younger Russell Crowe, The Sum of Us (Dir.: Geoff Burton, Kevin Dowling) is an Australian production that tells the story of a supportive, widowed father and his gay son. The most refreshing thing about this movie (especially considering that it’s more than 20 years old), is that it shows a family based on mutual support and respect for each other’s choices. In this story, the father plays matchmaker both for his son and himself, and his son is there for him when he gets sick. Truly heartwarming and worth watching!
Get Real (1998)
Get Real (dir.: Simon Shore) is a British movie based on the play ”What’s Wrong with Angry?” written by Patrick Wilde. It’s a drama about Steven Carter (Ben Silverstone), a gay teenager in homophobic rural England who has to hide his homosexuality from people around him. He finds the school jock, John Dixon while searching for other gay men in public lavatories. They end up telling the truth about their sexuality to each other and decide to date, but John fears losing his popularity, and countless problems occur, including abuse and the fear of being outed.
But I’m a cheerleader (1999)
But I’m a cheerleader (dir.: Jamie Babbit) is a hilarious satirical lesbian comedy with a happy ending: exactly what this world needs! With a young Natasha Lyonne whose lines and acting will reduce you to tears of laughterin the role of a high school cheerleader and ”good girl” who is prudent and God fearing. Her parents discover that she’s into girls and send her to a conversion therapy camp to ”cure”her of her homosexuality. There Megan (Lyonne) discovers that homosexuality cannot be cured and falls in love with Graham (Clea Duvall, with whom Lyonne would collaborate again in the future). Featuring RuPaul and ridiculous, hyper-gendered aesthetics, this movie is a no-miss for those who snort at patriarchy and heteronormativity, and it conveys an important message: there’s nothing to be ”cured” of.
Geography Club (2013)
Geography Club (dir.: Gary Entin) is the story of a group of high school students who decide to form an after-school club where they will be able to disclose and discuss their feelings about their sexuality. The movie is based on Brent Hartinger’s novel. The children choose a boring-sounding name for their club so that no one else will want to join it and learn their secrets. It is a quite realistic movie that shows what it’s like to be a queer teenager and to struggle to find your way in the world.
Transamerica (dir.: Duncan Tucker) is (yet another) movie where a cisgender actress (Felicity Huffman) plays Bree, a transgender character. At least this time it is not a cis man playing a trans woman, perpetuating the harmful idea that trans women can be played by men, but a cis woman. Still, this is a big debate, and while taking into consideration that trans characters should be played by trans actors, we can watch this movie critically. In Transamerica, Bree is a trans woman who goes on a road-trip with her long-lost son Toby (Kevin Zegers). It explores issues of abuse, self-discovery, sex work and family relationships, rejection and acceptance.
Pariah (dir.: Dee Rees) is a coming-of-age drama about a young African-American girl, Alike (Adepero Oduye). Alike’s friend, Laura, is openly lesbian and Alike slowly discovers she is also a lesbian, but struggles with her mother who disapproves of her life and forces her to be someone she isn’t. Her father is more supportive but fights with her mother about Alike, who leaves home and goes to stay with her friend. Her father tries to convince her to come back but Alike is determined to start off on her own since her mother won’t accept her. An artistic, realistic film that shows there are choices we make even when things don’t go so well.
The Way He Looks (2014)
The Way He Looks (original: Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho, dir.: Daniel RIbeiro) is a Brazilian coming-of-age romantic drama about two boys. Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) is a blind high school student striving for his independence from his overprotective parents, bullying, society’s ableism, and teenage struggles. A new student, Gabriel (Fabio Audi) arrives at his school and Leonardo’s best friend, Giovana (Tess Amorim) develops a crush on him, but at the same time Leonardo and Gabriel start developing a strong emotional bond. It’s a beautiful, touching movie, respectfully exploring issues of disability, sexuality and young love. It will leave you with thoughts and warm feelings!
Secrets and Toys (2014)
Secrets and Toys is a short film (dir.: Quentin Lee) that explores the theme of coming out in a funny, slightly kinky way, realistically portraying lesbian relationships and portraying queer people of color. It follows one girl’s relationship with her mother who discovers her secrets through a series of mistakes.
Appropriate Behavior (2014)
Witty and sarcastic, Appropriate Behavior (dir.: Desiree Akhavan) is a film that successfully explores various themes such as intersecting identities, bisexuality and relationships. It follows the story of Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) who struggles and fails to be as appropriate as a Persian daughter, bisexual, and hip young adult living in Brooklyn she can be. While trying to figure out what went wrong with her ex-girlfriend, she also tries to figure out herself, and how to live outside the box. Realistic, honest, and way too funny!
Almost Adults (2016)
If you love the actresses of the webseries Carmilla, Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman, you’ll be delighted to find that they both star in this movie, this time as best friends instead of lovers! Almost Adults is a coming-of-age comedy that discovers friendship, the messy realities of young-adulthood, and coming out. Mackenzie (Bauman) struggles with disclosing her sexuality to her surprisingly supportive parents and her best friend Cassie (Negovanlis). However, Cassie has her own problems to deal with, and gets really upset when she finds out herself that Elise is a lesbian and hid it from her all this time. Their friendship has to cross a bumpy road like most real-life friendships, and this makes Almost Adults a relatable, funny and interesting film!