During 2014 we watched a lot of LGBT cinema and as is always the case the quality of the films we saw varied wildly.
What was encouraging to see is how the genre is thriving with strong offerings from directors and writers all over the world. The films we saw for the most part had strong core themes that were relatable and engaging.
We’ve gone back through all of the LGBT films we saw in 2014 and picked out our Top 10 favourites. Keep reading to find out which ones made the cut.
Please note all films had to be released either in cinemas or on DVD in 2014 to make our Top 10.
10. In The Name Of
What’s it about? Father Adam (Andrzej Chyra) is relocated to a rural village where he runs a refuge for youths with troubled pasts. It is there where he meets handsome local outsider, Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) and soon Adam struggles to reconcile his attraction to the young man and his spiritual calling. To the village, his energy and enthusiasm are appreciated and the locals accept him as one of their own. Everybody wants to be close to him, feeding off of his vitality and power, but no one knows that Father Adam harbours his own secret.
What we said: “In The Name Of is a slow-burner but one with plenty to enjoy. Despite the unsatisfactory ending In The Name Of addresses some thought-provoking issues and is elevated by its central performances. Szumowska’s direction gives the film a cinematic flair not often seen in gay cinema and she is definitely a master of her craft.” Read the full review
9. Bruno and Earlene Go To Vegas
What’s it about? Headstrong Earlene (And Then Came Lola star, Ashleigh Sumner) meets the handsome and mysterious Bruno (Boys on Film star, Miles Szanto) at Venice Beach. These outsiders quickly become friends and when Bruno’s latest scam goes wrong, it forces them to go on the run. On their journey, they meet a sexually confused carjacker, a pair of Scottish ex-strippers and a tap-dancing drag queen, all of whom settle into a little place deep within the Nevada desert. This gaggle of runaways and rebels teach Bruno and Earlene that it is not about the destination, but the getting there that counts.
What we said: “Bruno and Earlene is an admirable debut effort from Savory. Despite the film’s shoe-string budget the cinematography is absolutely stunning presenting a really polished result. On the whole the performances are strong and Savory gets the best out of his ensemble cast. We’re excited to see what he does next but would say a stronger focus on making a more cohesive story is crucial for his next endeavour.” Read the full review
8. The Last Match
What’s it about? Reiner and Yosvani (Reinier Diaz and Milton Garcia) are best friends and soccer mates. Handsome Reinier, in order to support his mother, wife and their baby – as well as his gambling habit – prostitutes himself at night to older male foreigners along the waterfront. Meanwhile, the shy Yosvani is reluctantly engaged to a girl and lives with her and her bombastic loan shark father. After a furtive kiss at a nightclub, the two young men, barely containing their pent-up desire, follow up with a lusty roof top encounter – where the two quickly fall hard for each other. And as their love intensifies, the challenge is not with them but with the unforgiving outside world… a world they so desperately want to escape from.
What we said: “The Last Match may not be the most original film in the gay cinema genre but it’s a worthwhile watch with plenty to admire. It serves as a timely reminder that we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where being gay is more accepted by society. There are lots of elements here that have been seen in other films and the subject of forbidden love is one often explored, particularly in gay cinema. That having being said The Last Match is a surprisingly touching film that we thoroughly enjoyed and heartily recommend.” Read the full review
7. Love or Whatever
What’s it about? By and large, things are going well for Corey (Tyler Poelle). He’s a successful young therapist who recently purchased a gorgeous pair of engagement rings. Corey plans to propose to his long-term boyfriend Jon (David Wilson Page). Jon, however, might not be ready for such an important life-long commitment. In an effort to sew his wild oats, Jon begins having an affair with a woman (Jenica Bergere). Worse yet, it turns out that she’s one of Corey’s patients! The formerly happy couple is soon broken apart and Corey is devastated—that is, until his brassy, lesbian sister Kelsey (Jennifer Elise Cox) introduces him to the wonders of social media and how easy it is for gay men to get laid these days. Faster than you can log into Grindr, Corey begins seeing a hunky guy named Pete (Joel Rush). Pete seems to have everything a young, successful gay guy could ask for, but when Jon comes crawling back for forgiveness, Corey finds himself with a very difficult decision to make.
What we said: “Love or Whatever is an enjoyable rom-com that has its heart in the right place. Strong performances from the cast elevate the film above average and give it a zippy pace that makes it breeze by enjoyably. Love or Whatever is a classic rom-com more in the tradition of Cinema 175’s films Is It Just Me? and eCupid. If you liked those films, you’ll love this one.” Read the full review
6. Getting Go, the Go Doc Project
What’s it about? College boy Doc (Tanner Cohen, Were The World Mine) is obsessed with a well-known NYC go-go dancer, nicknamed Go (Matthew Camp). He befriends his hunky crush with the intention of shooting a movie about what it’s like to live in his skin. Camera in hand, he follows his subject across the city: into bars, onto rooftops and dance floors and ultimately his bedroom. But as they grow closer, flirtation blurs the line between subject and filmmaker until a steamy night together solidifies deeper feelings. Cory Kruekeberg’s explicit directorial debut explores the thrill and danger of getting exactly what you wished for.
What we said: “Getting Go is a film that will genuinely surprise you. It gives a realistic insight into the life of a go-go dancer as well as exploring the viewpoint of a fan who wants to be close to his object of lust. With realistic performances and some surprising twists, the film is one we heartily recommend and it’ll make you think twice next time you look at a go-go dancer as a hunk of meet rather than a person.” Read the full review
5. My Straight Son
What’s it about? Diego, a young and successful photographer, lives in the glamorous but shallow and excessive world of fashion. A tragic accident turns his world upside down; his partner Fabrizio is now in a coma. Unexpectedly, and right at this inopportune time, Diego’s estranged son Armando shows up. Now, both of them have to adapt to each other; Armando to the unknown, homosexual world of his father, and Diego to the closed attitude of his teenage son.
What we said: “My Straight Son is a poignant and at times moving watch. It bravely tackles subjects that are still taboo in Venezuela, and indeed many parts of the world, but it does so without feeling preachy. Ferrari gives us a good look into the lives of a group of people from all walks of life battling their own issues. My Straight Son is a little gem of a movie that deserves to be seen by a much wider audience than it has been so far.” Read the full review
4. A Man His Lover and His Mother
What’s it about? Is there anything more complex than a gay man’s relationship with his mother? When gay writer Lorenz returns from Berlin to his native home, a small town in Switzerland, he thinks his only concern is taking a break from writer’s block. But he is confronted by some uncomfortable problems; his mother, Rosie, is growing unable to live without help. She is an infuriating but blisteringly honest individual (beautifully played by veteran Sibylle Brunner) who refuses to accept a life without cigarettes and alcohol. Mario, son of an old family friend, reveals himself to be a fan of Lorenz and his devotion becomes an issue after an unexpected one-night stand. Lorenz’s sister is fed up with looking after their mother and some family skeletons are revealed. With Mario helping to look after Rosie, all the problems seem to be meshing together, making resolution ever more difficult.
What we said: “A Man, His Lover and His Mother is a superb movie and one that is an incredibly rewarding viewing experience. The tightly woven storylines offer a few surprises and reach a satisfying, and very emotional, conclusion. There is plenty of humour along the way too and this is one of the most touching gay movies that we’ve seen in some time.” Read the full review
3. Snails in The Rain
What’s it about? Boaz (Yoav Reuveni) is a linguistics student committed to his loving girlfriend, Noa. But soon Boaz is questioning his life when he begins receiving a series of obsessive love letters from another man. They expose the inner world of their author, who is deeply closeted — and knows plenty about him, including Boaz’s past attraction to other men.
What we said: “Snails in the Rain is an interesting exploration of sexuality and obsession. With a strong central performance from Yoav Reuveni the film has garnered lots of critical-acclaim. It’s refreshing to see a different take on sexuality conflict that doesn’t fall into the usual pitfalls and clichés. Snails in the Rain is an intelligent, intriguing and satisfying drama with a dark edge that will keep you gripped.” Read the full review
What’s it about? After a blow to the head, Abby decides she can’t do it anymore. Her life just can’t be only about the house, the kids and the wife. She needs more: she needs to be Eleanor.
What we said: “Concussion is a film that really makes you think about your life and you’ll be surprised that you can relate to Abby. Whilst we don’t suggest everyone will have an epiphany to become an escort, it will make you think about how satisfied you are with your life and also that life is too short to put up with things that take away rather than add to it. Writer/director Stacie Passon has crafted a fantastic film that will really get you thinking long after the credits roll. Her characters are well-rounded and her story-telling concise but powerful. After watching Concussion we can’t wait to see what she does next.” Read the full review
1. Open Up To Me
What’s it about? Maarit has successfully managed to live a double life – a male body transformed into an attractive and intelligent woman. However, this new life has come at a considerable price, as many transgendered individuals have come to discover. Estranged from her wife and daughter, Maarit feels like a stranger in a cold but familiar world, that is, until the day she meets Sami. In the midst of a marital crisis, Sami has come to seek the help of Maarit’s employer, a therapist. In the therapist’s absence, Maarit feels compelled to help the man, even if it means impersonating the therapist to get through to Sami.
What we said: “Open Up To Me is a well-written and well-directed film that brings home the realities of how hard it is to be transgender and try to lead a ‘normal’ life. The film draws you in thanks to Halinen’s superb direction and the performances of Klemola and Franzen really escalates the whole affair. Open Up To Me is a really affecting film that we recommend you check out.” Read the full review