Lesbian Films & Television Series
A selection of good lesbian movies and television shows
Lesbian films are a small, powerful and growing genre. Ranging from passionate love story, to dry documentary, to a few rare television shows, there are some splendid offerings available.
A lot of the really good lesbian films are found in International Film Festivals, so don't ignore a film just because it has subtitles.
The classics tend to be great films, but low on openly lesbian content and the cliché of 'the lesbian never gets a happy ending' is sadly prevalent, but slowly disappearing. For yuri (Japanese lesbian) anime, visit the yuri manga and anime page.
Recent Lesbian Feature Films - Some recent films worth mentioning
In this time-bending, sexy, lesbian romp with an irreverent nod to the popular art-house classic Run, Lola, Run a talented, but distracted photographer, Lola, (Ashleigh Sumner) on the verge of success in both love and work, could lose it all if she doesn t make it to a crucial meeting on time. But, as usual, Lola is late. With her job and girlfriend Casey (Jill Bennett) on the line, she has three chances to make it right. In a desperate race through the streets and backrooms of San Francisco, time grows short will Lola make it?
With a pop sensibility that mixes live action, animation and still photography AND THEN CAME LOLA explores love s age old question in a fresh new way; If we try, try again, will we finally get it right?
The story of an 'ordinary' married couple, their problems, their two kids... and the sperm donor the kids bring back into their lives.
A delightful wander through Barcelona among Gaudi's beautiful architecture. Based on the book of the same name by Barbara Wilson.
Syd (Radha Mitchell) is an editor at a painfully pretentious art magazine; by chance, she becomes acquainted with lesbian photographer Lucy (Ally Sheedy) and her weirdo German girlfriend (Patricia Clarkson, in a strange Dietrich-like role). Syd becomes captivated with Lucy and her work and, smelling a career move, offers to feature her in the next issue of the magazine. The two become attracted, but their relationship is fraught with perils--Syd loses her rather square boyfriend, Lucy's girlfriend takes a hike, the avaricious management at the magazine pressures Syd, and, most importantly, the pair begins to travel down the road of heroin addiction.
Featuring lesbian singer kd lang, this is either a stunning and spiritual film, or a pretentious and boring one - reviews are sharply divided!
In the harsh and lonely Alaskan wilderness, an unlikely relationship blossoms. k.d. lang portrays Kotz, an androgynous young Eskimo. She is attracted to Roswitha (Rosel Zech, Aimee and Jaguar, Lola), a German expatriate and the town librarian. Although Roswitha initially rebuffs the younger woman, Kotz's innocent persistence gradually wins her over. Together, they find the freedom to face old demons and express their hidden yearnings. A classic and haunting love tale from the director of Bagdad CafÃ©, Percy Adlon.
Renowned for (among other things) having one of the best lesbian sex scenes in lesbian cinema,Desert Hearts is definitely worth a second look!
When college professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno in 1959 to get a quickie divorce, the last thing on her mind is romance. A prim intellectual, crippled by a sterile marriage ("We're a professional couple") and hiding behind her education, she moves into a ranch belonging to Frances Parker (Audra Lindley) and tries to keep to herself. But Parker's beautiful, sassy tomboy of a stepdaughter proves to be quite a distraction, and a love affair slowly blossoms. Cay (Patricia Charbonneau) refuses to be bound by convention or by expectations of how a nice girl should behave, and her devil-may-care attitude both attracts and terrifies the nervous professor.
In ,a feisty young woman returns to her home to attend her fatherÂ´s funeral, sheÂ´s shocked to learn that her family has sold half of the shares in their Indian restaurant. Inspired by her colorful friends and budding new romance, she works towards saving the establishment and besting its competition. Nina's Heavenly Delights
Bloomington is a coming-of-age drama about a former child actress attending college in search of independence and who ends up becoming romantically involved with a female professor. Their relationship thrives until an opportunity to return to acting forces her to make life-altering decisions.
A solid romance made on a budget in a hurry - let down by a rushed ending and an unsuitable set, it still stands well in the context of other lesbian films.
Successful in her teaching job at a conservative religious college, Camille (Pascale BussiÃ¨res) looked forward to marrying her adoring, minister boyfriend (Henry Czerny) and settling down to the conventions of family and career. But a chance encounter with a beautiful, irresistibly sensuous young female circus performer named Petra (Rachael Crawford) is about to transform Camille s predictable life into an electrifyingly erotic adventure.
One room. Two women. Infinite possibilities. Like the erotic classic Last Tango In Paris, the new drama Room In Rome is a controversial, boundary-breaking film about two women who bare their bodies and their souls during one memorable night in a hotel in Rome. Writer-director Julio Medem (the international smash hit Sex & Lucia) returns with this provocative tale of Alba and Natasha. Two strangers meet, tentatively flirt and then head to Alba s hotel room where they exchange life stories amidst passionate bouts of love-making.
While preparing for her wedding, Tala meets Leyla, a shy Muslim. Although they come from different worlds, the attraction is immediate and Tala must decide whether to stay true to her culture or to her heart. Starring Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth and Nina Wadia.
An incredible film, Lost and Delirious follows threeboarding school roommates - two lovers, and their shy friend Mouse. When they are discovered, betrayal and heartbreak follow, as does sacrifice and love, as Mouse tries desperately to get her friends back together.
Lili Taylor and Courtney Love star in this stunning portrait of a pair of stifled New Jersey housewives who become lovers.
Another lesbian classic, My Summer of Love is a powerful, emotional and unsettling film. This unconventional love story is an engrossing exercise in mood and psychology, set in a bleak but invitingly sunlit village in Yorkshire. It's there that lonely, working-class teenager Mona (Nathalie Press) encounters rebellious rich-girl Tamsin (Emily Blunt), and their unlikely friendship grows intimate... but is it really love? Or is Tamsin (who was suspended from boarding school) merely indulging her clever penchant for emotional manipulation during a lazy summer of privilege?
Rising star Erin Kelly (Waking Madison) is Annabelle, a precocious Senator's daughter who falls for her Catholic school teacher, Simone (Diane Gaidry, The Dogwalker).
After Simone is assigned to control the rebellious student, she instead finds herself drawn into Annabelle's world. As their attraction builds, the two women must cope with the reactions of those around them. Writer-Director Katherine Brooks unveils this smoldering tale of forbidden love with intelligence, wit and sensitivity.
Lesbian Coming Out Films - Films that focus on the actual coming out
It's in the Water
is a charming little indie set in the sleepy, conservative Southern town of Azalea Springs. Gentle and light hearted, it follows the gradual realisation of Alex that she isn't quite straight and her ultimate coming out.
A cliched, cheesy, yet brilliant and touching film about a teenager falling in love and coming out to her mother.
Light Lesbian Romance and Comedy - Funny and light hearted lesbian films
A promising comedy that goes awry all too early, But I'm a Cheerleader concerns a misunderstood high school kid (Natasha Lyonne) whose parents send her to a harsh, homosexual-rehabilitation camp despite a lack of evidence that she's gay. Ruled with an iron fist by a fascist counselor (Cathy Moriarty), the clinic only drives Lyonne's character toward an attraction to a rebellious tomboy.
Piper Perabo lights up the screen as Rachel, a blushing bride whose perfect nuptials take a surprising turn at the altar. An innocent glance between Rachel and an unexpected wedding guest is all it takes to spark a 'love at first sight' romance with a surprising twist -- the object of Rachel's affection is a smart and sensuous... woman! Their shocking romance causes quite a stir amongst her family and friends as Rachel is forced to choose between her husband and the girl of her dreams. Say 'I do' to the wonderfully witty film that Cosmopolitan calls "a refreshing romantic comedy."
Sultry crime boss Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, The Fast and the Furious) is back in the states and the D.E.B.S.- an elite team of paramilitary college co-ed superspies- are hot on her trail. But when their top agent, gorgeous Amy Bradshaw (Sara Foster, The Big Bounce), mysteriously disappears after coming face to face with the attractive young villainess, the D.E.B.S. begin a full-scale search for Lucy's secret lair, never suspecting that Amy may not want to be rescued after all, in this smart and sexy spy spoof about love at first gun sight.
In this feisty, fun and fantastical comedy two women in love become pregnant at the same time (with sperm created from one another s stem cells) and embark on a wild adventure - with a bit of unexpected family drama as their parents respond to the news! Featuring a pair of tremendous performances from co-stars Megan Fahlenbock and Angela Vint, THE BABY FORMULA is a hilarious and unique movie. Amidst all the laughs THE BABY FORMULA is as poignant and uplifting as a newborn babe (or two)!
A cheesier version of Imagine Me & You.
In this hilarious romantic comedy, Gray (Heather Graham) helps her brother (Tom Cavanaugh) find the love of his life. But the night before her brother's wedding, Gray's world is turned upside-down when she discovers that she has feelings for his fiancÃ© (Bridget Moynahan)! With the help of a sarcastic co-worker (Molly Shannon), a sympathetic cab driver (Alan Cumming), and her therapist (Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek), Gray is forced to figure out who she really is.
More Lesbian Comedy!
This warm romantic comedy by newcomer Maria Maggenti is a gay coming-of-age story framed by Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Randy (Laurel Hillman) is a stoner, lesbian teenager who happens to be failing math and dating a married woman. One day, fellow student Evie (Nicole Parker) drives up to Randy's gas station in a Range Rover and flips her world upside down.
When 48-year-old widow Hwei-Lan Gao (Joan Chen) informs her less-than understanding father she's pregnant, he banishes her from Flushing until she remarries or proves Immaculate Conception. With nowhere else to go, Hwei-Lan moves in with her grown daughter, Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a Manhattan doctor who doesn't want a roommate, especially since she's met Viv (Lynn Chen), her sexy young lover. So Wil does what any dutiful child with an expectant, unmarried mother on her hands would do: she proceeds to set Hwei-Lan up with every eligible bachelor in town.
Silly, fun and sweet, Fishnet is a 2011 film festival offering, following the story of Burlesque dancers and lesbian lovers, blonde snarky Trixie and adorable, sweet Sulie. When Trixie shoots a mob boss by mistake, they flee to Sulie's parents in conservative Texas and end up creating a local Burlesque show.
Better Than Chocolate is another of those classic lesbian films that gets mentioned a lot. It's a fun, steamy, if somewhat predictable, tangle of relationships, love and coming out.
Anora Fleece has got it rotten. Her husband is abusive, her children are disrespectful, and she lives in the middle of nowhere feeling like a nobody. Then Imogene Cochran moves into the neighborhood. Imogene sells Kathy K. Kosmetics make-up for the cocoa skinned woman. The neighbors don t like cocoa skinned anything, but that doesn t stop Imogene and Anora from becoming friends and, eventually, more than friends. When Anora s husband, Cheb, finds them, all hell breaks loose, but the tables are turned when Anora accidentally shoots Cheb dead. Anora and Imogene then pile the kids in the Kathy K. car, throw the corpse in the trunk and ride off on a family road trip to bury Daddy.
Lesbian Documentaries - Real life films, and films based on real stories
On the 11th Annual National Day of Silence, Erin Davies was victim to a hate crime in Albany, New York. Because of sporting a rainbow sticker on her VW Beetle, Erin's car was vandalized, left with the words "fag" and "u r gay" placed on the driver's side window and hood of her car. Despite initial shock and embarrassment, Erin decided to embrace what happened by leaving the graffiti on her car. She took her car, now known worldwide as the "fagbug," on a 58-day trip around the United States and Canada. Along the way, Erin discovered other, more serious hate crimes, had people attempt to remove the graffiti, and experimented with having a male drive her car. After driving the fagbug for one year, Erin decided to give her car a makeover.
Starring multi-award winner Sharon Gless (Burn Notice, Queer as Folk, Cagney & Lacey) in a tremendous performance, Hannah Free tells the moving story of the lifelong love affair between two very different women. Weaving between past and present, the story reveals how they maintained their love affair despite a marriage, a world war, infidelity, and family denial. Additional actors include Maureen Gallagher, Ann Hagemann, Kelli Strickland, Taylor Miller (All My Children) and Jacqui Jackson.
A fantastic documentary of the world famous and bisexual model, Gia Carangi, who went from high school to the cover of British Vogue in less than two years
Narrated by international swimming legend Diana Nyad (National Public Radio), TRAINING RULES examines how women s collegiate sports, caught in a web of homophobic practices, destroyed the dreams of many of its most talented athletes. Specifically, the documentary examines the Penn State s women s basketball program under 26 year veteran Rene Portland. She had three rules in her program: No drinking, No drugs, No lesbians. After years of discrimination documented here, Portland was sued by a player and Penn State was forced to confront the issue.
Lesbians and the Military - Don't Ask, Don't Tell and how it affected real women
Highly decorated film has won 17 Awards so far! The remarkably hard-bodied actress/aerialist Dreya Weber (The Gymnast) stars as Alex, a decorated Marine officer who is unexpectedly discharged from her wartime duty. Returning to her conservative home town she agrees to coach and counsel the precocious teen rebel Saffron (Paris Pickard). Alex is the no-nonsense role model and authority figure that Saffron needs, and in true Karate Kid style she inspires the young woman s transition from slacker to boot camp-ready Marine recruit. But as Saffron is finally finding the strength to grow up, Alex must find new courage to face her own demons.
Margarethe Cammermeyer was an army medical officer in line for a career promotion during the first Bush Administration, but suddenly faced discharge proceedings after admitting to being a lesbian, the real-life Cammermeyer became a focus of national attention on the issue of gays in the military. This sensitive production focuses on Cammermeyer's decision to fight institutional bigotry.
Love and Murder: Lesbian Psychological Thrillers - When life and love gets a little too dark... Mostly based on real stories
Set in 1932 France, this film is supposedly based on a true story. When the already passionate bond between the sisters becomes sexual, it sets up a series of events that lead to tragedy. Sister My Sister is a nifty little piece of suspense and psychological horror that features taut direction, a smart script, spotless production values, and a topnotch cast.
Set on the same story of the Papin sisters as Sister My Sister, Murderous Maids focuses more on the sex and murder than the psychology.
Class struggle, incest, and murder are at the heart of France's most horrific crime of the 20th century. In "Murderous Maids," director Jean-Pierre Denis paints a provocative portrait of the notorious Papin sisters that is sympathetic yet unapologetic. The sisters, Christine and Lea, are forced into servitude by their self-absorbed mother and become increasingly outraged by the injustice of their position. The sisters find solace in each other, and their relationship becomes all-consuming. When their secret is threatened, they lash out.
A starkly original film-going experience based on a true life story, this film from New Zealand director Peter Jackson (Dead Alive, The Frighteners) is a stirring drama that offers up the unexpected. The story concerns two girls, outcasts who become best friends, whose bizarre fantasy life becomes more intense as their bond becomes increasingly more obsessive. When the mother of one of the girls tries to intervene and split the girls apart, they kill her and stand trial for murder in what is to this day still a celebrated and controversial case. Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Melanie Lynskey create two sympathetic and yet uncomfortably eerie characters in riveting portrayals. Featuring some startling and unique moments of visual brilliance as well as a disturbing love story between the two girls, Heavenly Creatures is at once both unsettling and beautiful to behold. --Robert Lane
A 1996 murder mysterystarring Brooke Langton and Sarah Buxton, with a fairly strong lesbian element. This film isn't available on DVD (though it's currently on YouTube).
Historical Lesbian Drama Films - Old fashioned and historical lesbian films set in past centuries
Based on the book by Sarah Waters, Fingersmith is the story of a girl who works her way into the affections of an heiress as part of an elaborate con. Originally broadcast on the BBC, this riveting three-part tale of illicit passion and betaryal is by turns harrowing and quite erotic
This three-part BBC production chronicles lesbian love, betrayal, and redemption in Victorian England. Tipping the Velvet follows Nan Astley as she escapes the life of an oyster girl for the stage, and then the streets of London, discovering lesbianism along the way. Based on the book by Sarah Waters.
A child's lie has life-shattering consequences in this OscarÂ®-nominated* daring adaptation of Lillian Hellman's celebrated play from legendary director William Wyler. When two headmistresses discipline a malicious little girl, the vindictive child twists an overheard comment into slander and accuses her teachers of questionable behavior. Soon the scandalous gossip engulfs the school's community, with repercussions that are swift, crushing and tragic
An early feminist classic, Maedchen in Uniform
was originally banned in Germany and censored in the U.S. Set in a strict boarding school, the tale of a lonely girl's crush on a female teacher proved too sensual for many. With Eleanor Roosevelt's help, U.S. condemnation was reversed, and the film was later named best film of the year by the New York press. Today considered one of Germany's greatest films, the all-female production stands out for its sensitive acting and tender portrayal of female love.
This 1958 remake of the historic 1931 film improves upon the original considerably offering up a wonderful, poignant and extremely rare 1950s portrayal of youthful lesbian longing and truly forbidden love (while Manuela is head over heels infatuated with her teacher, the teacher is affectionate but entirely restrained). The film is gorgeously shot and features a remarkable production design a late- 50s palette of blues and grays provides the atmospheric backdrop for this tale of suppressed passion.
In 1943, while the Allies are bombing Berlin and the Gestapo is purging the capital of Jews, a dangerous love affair blossoms between two women. One of them, Lilly Wust (Juliane KÃ¶hler), married and the mother of four sons, enjoys the privileges of her stature as an exemplar of Nazi motherhood. For her, this affair will be the most decisive experience of her life. For the other woman, Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader), a Jewess and member of the underground, their love fuels her with the hope that she will survive. A half-century later, Lilly Wust told her incredible story to writer Erica Fischer, and thebook, AIMEE & JAGUAR, first published in 1994 immediately became a bestseller and has since been translated into eleven languages. Max FÃ¤rberbÃ¶ck's debut film, based on Fischer's book, is the true story of this extraordinary relationship. The film was nominated for a 1999 Golden Globe Award and was Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Both actresses received Silver Bears at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival for their portrayals of "AimÃ©e" and "Jaguar".
This film received rave reviews in 2011 film festivals.
In nineteenth century Yorkshire wealthy orphan Anne Lister lives with an aunt and uncle, anxious for her to marry well and blissfully unaware that she is a lesbian,recording her thoughts and exploits in a coded diary. When her lover Mariana Belcombe makes a marriage of convenience to rich old Charles Lawton,she feels betrayed and,although Mariana visits and has sex with her,the relationship is going nowhere. Helped by old flame Tib she makes a play for innocent Miss Browne but sees she is barking up the wrong tree and diverts herself by renovating the family hall. A drunken Tib almost exposes her secret and scornful mine-owner Christopher Rawson,whose marriage proposal she rejects,tells her that her sexuality is a subject of local gossip. Undeterred Anne meets Ann Walker who becomes her new 'wife' and they open a coal-mine ,living happily together. An end title tells us that Anne Lister died prematurely in 1840 on holiday in Russia.
This smartly written drama based on the relationship between literary maven Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas is more of an imaginary portrait than a docudrama. The story is derived from impressions filmmaker Jill Godmilow gathered from Stein’s writing, ingeniously weaving fact with fiction to create a fascinating bio-drama. During a three-month period in 1936, Stein and Toklas play host to literary giants such as Ernest Hemingway and some of the most renowned names in 20th-century literature. Featuring an impressive cast, Waiting for the Moon tells the story of a unique friendship and evokes the ambiance of a fascinating moment in literary history.
Lesbian Foreign Language Films - Some amazing films that aren't in English
Some of the best lesbian films have come out of foreign film festivals, so don't skip this section!
Japanese films are a distinctive and rare genre in the English-speaking world. These have all received good reviews - but if you're looking for actual yuri anime, then Visit the Yuri Anime & Manga page as well.
Opposites attract in this charming love story from Japan. Ichiko is a happy go lucky girl who falls in love with serious Eri, a fellow student at the university. Ichiko wants to tell the world about their love---beginning with her father. But gay romance is not quite as easy as Ichiko envisions. When she comes out, she learns surprising family secrets. And Eri's studies soon are keeping them apart.
Behind every tattoo there is a secret. Webcam girl Jade (Taiwanese pop icon Rainie Yang) makes her living tantalizing online voyeurs. But behind her sassy faÃ§ade, Jade carries the powerful memory of her childhood crush on Takeko, a young woman who now works at a nearby tattoo parlor. Jade goes to Takeko seeking a tattoo of a spider lily, hoping to rekindle their love. Takeko refuses to give her the tattoo, which symbolizes a family secret. She also spurns Jade's advances - at first . . .
Japanese. Official Selection at the Berlin Film Festival.
Teddy Award-winning Director Zero Chou (Spider Lilies) weaves three poetic tales as the lesbians in Drifting Flowers seek their true identity. In the first story, Jing, a blind singer, falls in love with her band s tomboy accordionist Diego. In another time and place, Lily, an elderly lesbian and Yen, her gay friend, create an unexpected bond and support each other in a time of crisis. Finally, we see Diego before she joined the band, when as a teenager she came to grips with her identity.
Also known as F**king Amal, this is the story of being fourteen and in love, and trapped in the back of nowhere. A powerful and painful film with wonderful chemistry.
From the novel Minchia di Re by Giacomo Pilati (based on a real story) comes a scandal hidden in 19th century Sicily between two young women, Angela and Sara. Angela isn t like other girls her age, she fears nothing and nobody. She can t hide her feelings for Sara. To maintain the forbidden relationship, she changes her outward appearance to disguise herself as a man. The chains that had imprisoned her existence suddenly disappear and she becomes powerful, but in her heart she never denies her identity as a woman. As intense and compelling as only young love can be, the two women challenge the rules of society in order to be together.
Gasoline is the tender love story of two young women, Stella and Eleonora who are from opposite ends of the social spectrum. When the accidental death of Eleonora's mother occurs, the two women must flee and dispose of the body in order to stay together. Gasoline is the directorial debut of Italian filmmaker Monica Stambrini, who also served as co-screenwriter, and stars Maya Sansa and Regina Orioli in the lead roles.
During a summer in Paris, a love triangle develops between three girls in this provocative and perceptive portrait of teen angst and nascent sexuality. The awkward Anne, the bad girl Floriane and the gawky Marie play an intense game of emotional chess as they wrestle with love, friendship and their desire for one another.
Naomi, the brilliant and pious daughter of an ultra orthodox rabbi finds herself at a crossroads of life choices when her mother dies and she is expected to immediately marry her father's prodigy. Distressed yet determined, she begs that her father allow her one year to study at a women's religious seminary in Safed, the birthplace of the Kabala in order to prepare herself for the sacrifices she will make as a wife. Her father relents and Naomi's life begins to take an unexpected turn.
Antero, a speed skater, and Venla, a psychologist, are a modern, long-time unmarried couple in Finland. But their relatioship is in crisis: Venla wants them to finally marry and have a family. Antero is fine with marrying, but definitely does not want children, particularly as he believes it will interfere with his success in sports. Fearful of losing Venla, Antero proposes, but secretly, he also gets a vasectomy. Frustrated and angry-and determined to have a child-Venla concocts a plan to have an "after hours" insemination at the fertility clinic where she works. But to her surprise, she begins to develop feelings for Satu, the sympathetic female doctor in on the scheme.