Gay & Lesbian Movies Online

About Gay & Lesbian Movies

Films that fall into the gay and lesbian genre have same-sex relationships as their primary focus. Although the film often have the same kind of romantic relationships at their heart that traditional heterosexual romances do, the particular social and cultural challenges that confront homosexual relationships often intrude into their plots as well.

In early mainstream film history, homosexuality was rarely addressed openly, and it was almost never presented in a positive way. Sexuality of any kind was something of a taboo topic, of course, but openly gay characters were virtually unheard of. Homosexuality was never mentioned explicitly, and when it was hinted at, it was surrounded by stereotype and mockery. Gay characters-who were identified as such through subtext and stereotypical behavior-were, more often than not, either buffoons, menacing villains or damaged figures who meet a tragic end.

Gay and lesbian stories began to get occasional respectful treatment in Hollywood films toward the end of the twentieth century. In 1993, Tom Hanks starred in Philadelphia as a lawyer who loses his job after being diagnosed with AIDS; it marked one of the first times that a mainstream Hollywood film depicted a gay central character in a realistic and positive way. Brokeback Mountain, released in 2005, was significant in that it portrayed a romantic relationship between two men in a frank, unsensational way and was a mainstream commercial success.

Despite Hollywood's increasing acceptance of gay and lesbian stories, however, the majority of same-sex-relationship films are still released outside of the mainstream studio system. Independent filmmakers whose films are targeted niche audiences are more likely to address subjects that big studios might be uncomfortable with, and cultural differences allow some international filmmakers to explore topics that Hollywood has traditionally steered clear of.

About This Genre