Top 10  Great Lesbian Movies You Need To Watch

10. Carol (2015)
This new Todd Haynes film set in early 1950s New York City is generating a lot of buzz. Autostraddle calls it “the best lesbian movie ever made” and Frank Rich wrote a great op-ed piece about Carol and the invisibility of lesbian culture. It’s based on the famous Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, written at a time when there were little to no lesbian representations and no happy endings for gay people if they were written about at all.

9. Tipping the Velvet (2002)
Sarah Waters is the queen of lesbian period pieces. The BBC has adapted four of her novels into books, and three of them are on this list. Tipping the Velvet (the title is a euphemism for cunnilingus) is the Holy Grail of historical lesbian fiction. It is a sad, beautiful and hopeful story.

8. Farewell, My Queen (2012)
While every movie I’ve discussed till now is overtly (dramatically) gay, the lesbianism in this one is more implied (booo). However, it is a really beautiful film and it stars my wife Léa Seydoux of Blue is the Warmest Color fame. Agathe-Sidonie (Seydoux) is the official reader to Queen Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) during the last weeks leading up to her execution.

7. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)
Anne Lister was a fascinating woman. In the mid 19th century, Lister lived in Yorkshire, England as a landowner, mountaineer, and industrialist who kept secret diaries written in code, detailing her various romantic affairs with women. The BBC mini-series (starring Maxine Peake) is based on her affair with married woman Mariana Belcombe (Anna Madeley).

6. The Hours (2002)
Speaking of heavy stuff, The Hours is a great movie if you like feeling hopeless. Seriously though I don’t think I know any queer woman who hasn’t cried over this movie. Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf is enough to sob over, but combined with Meryl Streep’s storyline about caring for her best friend dying of AIDS, and Julianne Moore’s closeted, suicidal housewife character.

5. Cracks (2011)
You might remember Eva Green from the 2003 film The Dreamers (at least I do because she was topless in every other scene). In this movie, Green plays an eccentric teacher at an elite 1930s girl’s boarding school in South Africa. Miss Gribbon (Green) is beloved by all her students for the tea parties she hosts in quarters where she regales them with outlandish stories of her travels in far away lands.

4. Fingersmith (2005)
Sarah Waters is nothing but consistent in her love of mid 19th century lesbian drama. Fingersmith follows Sue (Sally Hawkins), a thief living in the London slums with child trafficker Mrs. Sucksby (played by the great Imelda Stauton). When a drunken man who gambled all his money away wanders into their tavern one night, he presents them with a scam that could make them all rich. 

3. The Kids Are All Right 
The Kids Are All Right is a 2010 American comedy-drama film directed by Lisa Cholodenko and written by Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg. A hit at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, it opened in limited release on July 9, 2010, expanding to more theaters on July 30, 2010.[3] It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 16, 2010.

2.  Bound (1996)
No lesbian film list is complete without the Wachowski siblings’ dazzling sexy noir/crime caper/slapstick comedy Bound. It was their pre-Matrix breakout film, a titillating Playboy hybrid thriller mashed up into a lesbian feminist love story. The Wachowskis don’t just play with the male gaze, they flip it sunny side up and get feminist writer Susie Bright in as their lesbian ‘sexpert’.

1. Tomboy (2011)
Laure/Mikael is 10 years old, her/his family has moved to a new town and we follow her/his adventures over one summer as s/he negotiates the early complexities of selfhood: playing a game of football, finding s/he is attracting the attention of local girls and facing the ultimate test of wearing a bathing suit. In France, the film was received as a family film and went on to be shown in primary and secondary schools as part of classes about cinema.

Exit the Premises by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license 

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