2017 was a fantastic year for LGBTQ+ cinema. From ‘Call Me By Your Name’ to ‘A Fantastic Woman’ to ‘Battle of the Sexes’ to ‘120 BPM’, both mainstream and independent films proved that the industry is developing rapidly in terms of its approach to sexuality and gender. 2018 looks set to continue this, with a number of upcoming films featuring LGBTQ+ themes. Though we’ll have to wait and see if this year can improve on the last, the future looks bright (and rainbow) if the following films are anything to go by.
Please note that reviews linked to in this thread may contain spoilers.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Jennifer Ehle, John Gallagher Jr., Forrest Goodluck
Release Date: 22nd January 2018 (Sundance Film Festival)
Premise: One of quite a few conversion therapy films this year, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ tells the story of a young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) who, after being caught with the prom queen, is sent to a “de-gaying” camp by her conservative family. Though things will become much more clear after the film’s imminent Sundance debut, at the moment hopes are high – director Desiree Akhavan’s previous work includes the much treasured ‘Appropriate Behaviour’. The cast is also promising, with ‘American Honey’ breakout star Sasha Lane in her second cinematic appearance, and the always trustworthy Jennifer Ehle co-starring.
Director: Greg Berlanti
Cast: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel
Release Date: 16th March 2018 (USA), 6th April 2018 (UK) (other release dates here)
Premise: Here is a film that is hopefully going to shake up the young adult movie scene – a sweet, funny, coming-of-age story that revolves around a gay teenager, and is actually marketed at that very age group. For too long, LGBTQ+ movies have been reserved for older audiences, creating a vast array of heterosexual romcoms that can often be alienating for gay youth. ‘Love, Simon’ provides an alternative, and even boasts a cast that will be easily recognisable to the intended audience, including Nick Robinson (‘Jurassic World’) and Katherine Langford (’13 Reasons Why’).
Vita & Virginia
Director: Chanya Button
Cast: Elizabeth Debicki, Gemma Arterton
Release Date: None yet
Premise: Literary lesbians start crying now! The most under-appreciated love affair in British history is finally getting a film adaptation. Based on the true story of the romance between iconic author Virginia Woolf and prolific socialite Vita Sackville-West, the film will presumably follow the pair through the 1920s, when they first began their relationship. It will be especially interesting to see how Button chooses to interpret the written evidence of their affair; the passionate letters between the two are wholly romantic, though not necessarily a basis for the “sexual and playful” Woolf that the director wishes to achieve. Historical accuracy may well be circumvented here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Director: Joel Edgerton
Cast: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe
Release Date: 28th September 2018 (USA)
Premise: ‘Boy Erased’ is the second of the conversion therapy films featured on this list, and the one carrying the bigger star power. Lucas Hedges proved himself to be a fantastic actor in ‘Manchester by the Sea’, and it will be great to see him properly flex his acting muscles again, this time as the gay son of a Baptist preacher. In addition, Nicole Kidman is fresh off her 2017 high and will be looking to stun audiences once again, whilst Joel Edgerton will take on the dual responsibility of directing and acting. All in all, it’s safe to say that ‘Boy Erased’ is in capable hands.
We the Animals
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
Cast: Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Gabriel
Release Date: 20th January 2018 (Sundance Film Festival)
Premise: Another Sundance debut, ‘We the Animals’ follows three brothers as they grow up together. The two elder sons, Manny and Joel, develop into variations of their abusive father, whilst the youngest, Jonah, struggles with his differences – partially caused by the fact that he is gay. Early Sundance reviews are positive, highlighting the delicacy with which preteen sexuality is handled, and the mesmerising, other-worldly environments created by director Jeremiah Zagar and cinematographer Zak Mulligan. Though a small film, and one that could easily fly under the radar of mainstream audiences, ‘We the Animals’ holds much promise in its quiet observation of developing identity.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Bella Thorne, Kathy Bates, Ben Schnetzer, Jacob Tremblay
Release Date: None yet
Premise: Everyone’s favourite millennial director is back, and he’s providing the gays with the good stuff once again. ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’ stars Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington as the titular character – a closeted American TV star who strikes up a friendship with an eleven-year-old fan Rupert Turner (played by Hollywood wonder-child Jacob Tremblay). When their correspondence is exposed, however, Donovan’s world is turned upside down. 10 years on, an adult Turner looks back on his friendship with the now deceased Donovan, and considers the impact he had on his life. It’s a multi-faceted and potentially controversial premise, and likely will provide a myriad of twists and turns; there are so many avenues that such a story could take, and with a talent like Dolan, this is certainly one to watch out for.
Director: Craig William Macneil
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chloë Sevigny, Jay Huguley, Fiona Shaw, Jamey Sheridan
Release Date: 19th January 2018
Premise: ‘Lizzie’ has already been described as “the classiest lesbian axe murderer movie ever” which, to be honest, should be all the detail you need to anticipate its cinematic release. The film recreates the much debated 1892 Borden murders. A controversy for over 100 years, all that is certain about the crime is that Abby and Andrew Borden (Lizzie’s father and step-mother) were slaughtered in their home. Hence, ‘Lizzie’ provides an opportunity to really play around with history. Blissfully, director Craig William Macneil and writer Bryce Kass appear to have chosen to focus quite heavily on the relationship between Lizzie Borden and her maid Bridget Sullivan, played by Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart respectively. Early reviews have not been entirely positive, with some describing the storytelling as ham-fisted, but the premise itself – a retelling of Lizzie Borden as a sapphic feminist destroying the patriarchy – is so brilliant that this gutsy class romance has to be worth seeing regardless of its flaws.
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola
Release Date: 27th April 2018 (USA), 24th August 2018 (UK)
Premise: ‘Disobedience’ is technically a 2017 film, but most of us have been waiting so long for Rachel-on-Rachel spitting action that I’m including it here. Set in North London, Rachel Weisz plays Ronit, a young woman returning home to an Orthodox Jewish community that largely disapprove of her lifestyle. A reunion with her childhood friend and former lover Esti (played by Rachel McAdams) proves to create even more difficulty for Ronit, as she struggles with the emotional distance between them. Director Sebastián Lelio has already impressed audiences of late with last year’s ‘A Fantastic Woman’ and some brilliant reviews courtesy of a premiere at TIFF 2017 suggest that this will be another great addition to the world of LGBTQ+ cinema.
Which 2018 LGBTQ+ releases are you excited for? Let us know at @muchadocinema!