Film is a great way to start learning more about your queer history!
As many of us know, decent queer movies are hard to come by. With so little funding and support for queer cinema in Hollywood, many of the films we love are straight to DVD gems that have underdeveloped characters and uninspired storylines. But biopics are often an exception.
Over the years, the entertainment industry has funded and supported a number of queer films based on real people. And because of that, we've been blessed with incredible true stories and fantastic performances. So here are nine queer biopics you need to see!
Aimée & Jaguar
Aimée & Jaguar charts the unbelievable (but true) story of Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim, two star-crossed lovers who meet during the height of World War II. The two couldn’t come from more different backgrounds: Lilly is a Nazi officer’s wife and Felice is a lesbian Jew. It’s a harrowing yet beautiful story of true love that spanned a lifetime.
In this biopic, Sean Penn stars as a Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and the very first openly gay man to be elected to public office. Penn’s performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
Have you ever been curious about how the legend of Wonder Woman came to be? Professor Marston and the Wonder Women puts the famous comic book character into striking perspective. Based on the real story of William Moulton Marston, the film explores the birth of Wonder Woman and her basis on the loves of his life: his wife Elizabeth and their mutual lover Olive Byrne.
Frida Kahlo was a bisexual Mexican artist who defied social norms and called into question the notion of acceptable femininity. She was revered for her zest for life, her self-portraiture, and her ability to capture the unique beauty of Mexican culture in her paintings. Is it any wonder that the lovely (and lively) Salma Hayek does a fantastic job portraying Kahlo in this 2002 film? A must-see, for sure.
The Imitation Game
With Benedict Cumberbatch leading the cast, The Imitation Game tells the story of real-life cryptanalyst Alan Turing who was instrumental in decrypting German intelligence codes for the British government during World War II. While Turing is uncovering German secrets, he’s hiding a few of his own—his homosexuality is chief among them.
Julianne Moore stars as New Jersey police lieutenant Laurel Hester who’s still closeted on the job and living with her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Elliot Page). When Laurel is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she and Stacie fight long and hard to secure her pension benefits before she dies.
Behind the Candelabra
Michael Douglas plays against type in Behind the Candelabra, a biopic about the life and loves of prodigious pianist Liberace. Douglas stars as Liberace with Matt Damon acting alongside him as Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson.
In an Oscar-winning performance, Rami Malek plays legendary musician and queer icon Freddie Mercury during his time as the frontman and lead singer of Queen.
The 2019 biopic, starring Taron Egerton as openly-gay singer-songwriter and music icon Elton John, tells the story of John's rise to fame and some of the setbacks he's experienced, including a stint in rehab, throughout his decades-long career. The film was notable for showcasing John's relationship with his manager John Reid (played by Richard Madden).