Who doesn’t love movies? Especially lesbian movies? We are so fortunate we live in a day and age where there are more lesbian films than ever. A lot has changed since the first lesbian film Mädchen in Uniform was released in 1931. The genre really came alive in the late 20th century though, and we have some oldies but goldies (or shall we say they deserve a gold star?).

And lucky us, there are more lesbian movies made every year! And there is an increasing amount of (queer) female directors creating magic: we live in exciting times!

What we’re excited about especially? Other genres! We want diverse storylines; we need movies where ‘being a lesbian’ is not the only story of the movie. Sure, the lesbian romance movies are cute, but we need more thrillers and horrors (how misogynist was The Perfection?!), more action and sci-fi, more period dramas (spoiler alert: the new Portrait of a Lady on Fire is HOT). Because history can be rewritten through movies, and we deserve to have it all!

Lesbian Tropes
Classic Lesbian Movies
Best Lesbian Romance Movies
New Lesbian Movies 2020

Lesbian Tropes

Let’s list a few lesbian clichés in movies that we should all be aware of while watching a lesbian movie!

  • Bury your gays when queer female characters are killed off.
  • Non-sexual lesbians when gals are just being great pals.
  • Psycho lesbian particularly annoying when it’s their lesbianism driving them mad.
  • Girl-on-Girl for male gaze when lesbian kisses/sex is only to please the male viewer.
  • Sudden-onset homosexuality no buildup, out of the blue a straight girl is a lesbian because she meets a lesbian.
  • Coming out is the story and that’s it. We’re over that.

Glad we settled that, now let’s dive into the best lesbian movies! We’ll start with the classics.


Let’s start off with a few classic lesbian movies. Of course, old lesbian movies aren’t perfect but they paved the way for the lesbian movies that are made nowadays!

  1. Desert Hearts

This is one of the most ground-breaking lesbian movies. Set in the 50s, this lesbian romance movie is still relatable for many queer girls. It’s a love story about a woman that is out, and one that isn’t. Will they get their happily ever after?

Extra special: Desert Hearts is directed by a queer woman, in a time where there weren’t many female directors!

Year of release: 1985
Genre: Romance Drama
Duration: 96 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Desert Hearts - Trailer


  1. High Art

This movie takes place in an artsy (and drugs-y) Manhattan. Young Syd is treated as an intern at her job for a magazine and tries to impress her colleagues by getting her neighbor (a famous photographer that fell of the map years ago) Lucy to do submit her work for the magazine.

Then, the lines begin to blur between their professional relationship, which then becomes sexual. There’s also heroin that blurs the lines. It’s an artsy movie about seduction and it’s great!

High Art is directed by lesbian Lisa Cholodenko.

Year of release: 1998
Genre: Indie Drama
Duration: 103 minutes
Language: English (USA)

High Art - Trailer


  1. Heavenly Creatures

This movie comes very close to the psycho lesbian trope, but it’s one of the classics nonetheless. Yet again set in the 50s, two best friends Pauline and Juliet share a deep love of fantasy. Pauline is diagnosed as homosexual (categorized as a mental illness), but the relationship between the girls is ambiguous. But the two are emotional connection is real.

The movie is based on the true story of the Parker–Hulme murder case in New Zealand. Pauline’s diary was one of the sources of the movie.

Year of release: 1994
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Duration: 109 minutes
Language: English (New Zealand)

Heavenly Creatures (1994) Official Trailer - Kate Winslet, Peter Jackson Horror Movie HD


  1. All Over Me

15-year-old Claude and Ellen are best friends until one summer, they aren’t. We all know how hard it is being a teenager, and this movie addresses it all. Claude loves Ellen in a more-than-friends kind of way, but… it’s difficult.

Then, Claude meets cool girl Lucy (Alice from the L Word!) who turns her world upside down. How this love story ends, you have to see for yourself!

A little side note: it’s refreshing the ‘gayness’ of the movie just happens – it’s not talked about it as much.

Directed by late female director Alex Sichel, written by her sister Sylvia!

Year of release: 1997
Genre: Teen Dram
Duration: 90 minutes
Language: English (USA)

All over me (1997) - Trailer LGBT Movie


  1. Bound

If you’re looking for a sexy thriller, this is it. There’s crime, there’s violence and there’s SEX. Yes, lesbian sex. Not just some lesbian kissing, not some suggestive sex, but within 20 minutes of the movie, there’s hot lesbian sex. The movie is also feminist, Violet is a badass woman, she’s a sex worker and proud of it. Yeah, this one’s a goldie!

Created by the Wachowskis (two sisters who are both trans women), known for The Matrix trilogy.

Year of release: 1996
Genre: Neo-noir crime thriller
Duration: 109 minutes
Language: English (USA)



  1. Go Fish

Groundbreaking and low budget (hence filmed in black & white), Go Fish is something special. Created by lesbian couple Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche, Go Fish is an all-female picture about Gen X lesbian life around Chicago’s Wicker Park.

The movie isn’t globally received very well. Actually, a lot of people say it’s a bad movie. So if you’re not into experimental films, this is not one for you!

Year of release: 1994
Genre: Indie Drama
Duration: 94 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Go Fish Official Trailer #1 - Walter Youngblood Movie (1994) HD


  1. Mulholland Drive

Initially, I only wanted to include movies from the 20th century in this classics-list, but since a large portion of this movie was shot in 1999, this movie still counts in my opinion!

A woman hides out in a residence after surviving a car crash on Mulholland Drive (but has amnesia). The residence is Betty’s aunt’s LA home. Betty helps Rita (a name chosen from a movie poster) find out who she is and their connection grows. And then they sleep together!

The movie’s tagline is “a love story in the city of dreams” and that love story is between two women! Yet, the lesbian narrative is not the focus of the movie – because it’s a David Lynch movie, it’s all pretty lucid!

Year of release: 2001
Genre: Neo-noir Mystery / Psychological Thriller
Duration: 147 minutes
Language: English (USA)

MULHOLLAND DRIVE - Official Trailer - From David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts


  1. Thelma & Louise

Technically not a lesbian film, but this movie has been celebrated for it’s great female lead characters. It surely made a big impact on many (queer) women.

It was one of the first movies to talk about rape. And to make the main characters two women? Crazy! So what’s it about? Thelma and Louise go on a crazy road trip as a break from their lives.

They kill a man, lose money to a sexy young criminal, and become fugitives. Susan Sarandon admitted that her character possibly would’ve become a lesbian!

Year of release: 1991
Genre: Comedy Drama
Duration: 129 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Thelma and Louise - Original Trailer | MGM


Wanna watch more? Check out the best LGBT Netflix shows!

  1. But I’m a Cheerleader

Where to start with this one? For the most part that we were watching this movie we thought: wait, what is this?

Teenager Megan (played by Natasha Lyonne, who we all know as Nicky from OITNB) is send to conversion therapy True Directions because her family and friends think she’s a lesbian.

It’s a campy* movie, but it is on purpose and it’s quite smart actually! If you’re looking for a more serious movie about conversion therapy, we recommend The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

But I’m a Cheerleader is directed by queer female director Jamie Babbit. And RuPaul makes an appearance as an “ex-gay”.

Year of release: 1999
Genre: satirical romantic comedy
Duration: 85 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Trailer: But I'm A Cheerleader


*Campy (adjective)
in the style of camp: absurdly exaggerated, artificial, or affected in a usually humorous way


  1. With Every Heartbeat / Kyss Mig / Kiss Me

This is Roxanne’s favorite movie, and was already in her DVD collection before she knew she was gay (I know, how could she not know?). The story in short: Mia is engaged to Tim, but falls in love with Frida and of course, it’s all complicated.

I was afraid it would be a campy movie, but it does a really great job! There are a few flaws, but it gets a lot right. The characters have depth and aren’t caricatures. The fiancé Tim isn’t a bad guy and Mia’s bisexuality is totally valid.

It might help that a woman directed the movie, and probably that it’s European. Like this kind of story? Check out Imagine Me & You.

Year of release: 2011
Genre: drama
Duration: 103 minutes
Language: Swedish (Sweden)

Kiss Me (Official Trailer)


  1. Carol

Carol is a lesbian love story made by gay filmmaker Todd Haynes. It was named the best LGBT film of all time in 2016 and clearly, this is a good one. It’s a period drama, set in 1952. It’s a love story: girl (Therese) meets girl (Carol), they bond and fall in love.

But of course, it’s complicated. The LGBT community criticized the movie for being made for the ‘male gaze’ still – but we have to say: we have to take this win!

The movie is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 semi-autobiographical romantic novel “The Price of Salt”

Year of release: 2015
Genre: romance melodrama
Duration: 118 minutes
Language: English (British/American)

Carol Official US Trailer #1 (2015) - Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett Romance Movie HD


  1. Rafiki

There are not enough movies about black lesbians. So imagine the rave when Rafiki came: a movie about two Kenyan girls who fall in love, directed by a female Kenyan director! The film has, sadly, been banned in Kenya for its homosexual theme. They see the film as “promotion of lesbianism”.

The story is about Kena and Ziki, two girls and daughters of two rival politicians who are running for the local elections. They fall in love but it’s a forbidden one. It’s not a very original storyline, but this is such a special movie – an African lesbian love story! – you have to see it!

Year of release: 2018
Genre: romance drama
Duration: 83 minutes
Language: English / Swahili (Kenya)

Rafiki Trailer #1 (2019) | Movieclips Indie


Want to see more lesbian movies from the African continent? Watch The World Unseen and While You Weren’t Looking

  1. Freeheld

Lesbian age gap isn’t a common movie topic, but we’re so glad Freeheld made a movie about it! Laurel, a detective from New Jersey, is dying of cancer and needs to fight for her 19-year younger domestic partner Stacie to receive her pension rights. It’s a movie about the inequality LGBT people face.

The movie was unfortunately less radical than the screenwriter intended – degayed to please a mainstream audience – but it’s absolutely a movie worth watching!

Freeheld is based on the true story of Laurel Hester. And Ellen Page (actress who plays Stacie) came out as a lesbian shortly before the movie came out.

Year of release: 2015
Genre: drama
Duration: 103 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Freeheld Official Trailer #1 (2015) Ellen Page, Julianne Moore Drama Movie HD


  1. Princess Cyd

Cyd moves in with her aunt in Chicago for the summer when she runs into a cute barista with a badass short haircut. Cyd realizes she’s not straight but before you write this movie off: it’s not what the plot makes it seem!

More than Cyd’s sexuality, Cyd’s relationship with her aunt – Miranda – is the focus of the movie. Miranda is a middle-aged writer who is happily single and childless; she’s a real gem.

There’s no coming out drama, there are no specific labels, and the movie is just really cute, so go watch it!

Year of release: 2017
Genre: drama
Duration: 96 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Princess Cyd Trailer #1 (2017) Official HD Movie Trailers


  1. Saving face

Finally a Asian lesbian love story! Also directed by a Chinese-American lesbian (Alice Wu), this movie is about a Wil who’s juggling life as a surgeon and being part of a close-knit Chinese family who doesn’t acknowledge her being a lesbian.

But then Wil falls in love with Vivian – a ballet dancer – a girl she once kissed when she was little. The story actually focuses more about Wil’s relationship with her mother, but I can’t tell you too much or I will spoil things!

Year of release: 2004
Genre: romantic comedy
Duration: 97 minutes
Language: English, Mandarin & Shanghainese (USA)

Saving Face Official Trailer!


Wanna watch more? Check out the best LGBT Netflix shows!

  1. Pariah

A beautiful movie about a young Afro-American woman called Alike. It’s a coming of age story about a girl figuring out her gender expression and how to accept her sexuality. She meets a girl and falls in love, gets hurt, and finally builds up the courage to choose freedom.

There aren’t nearly enough lesbian-themed movies in black cinema yet, which is why this movie and Rafiki are so incredibly important!

Pariah is directed by Dee Rees, a black lesbian, who admitted the movie was semi-autobiographical.

Year of release: 2011
Genre: teen drama
Duration: 86 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Pariah (2011) Official HD Movie Trailer


  1. Loving Annabelle

A Catholic boarding school teacher (Simone) falls in love with one of her students (Annabelle)… Yes, this is absolutely an erotic movie about lesbians and you want to see it! Lesbian director Katherine Brooks admitted the teacher/student story from the first lesbian movie, Mädchen in Uniform, was her inspiration.

Year of release: 2006
Genre: romantic drama
Duration: 76 minutes
Language: English (USA)

loving annabelle trailer


  1. My Days of Mercy

A lesbian death-row romance! It’s not a very light movie, but it’s also not as heavy as you might expect. The movie isn’t your average lesbian romance; it’s actually only a part of it.

Lucy’s (Ellen Page) father is on death row. Together with her sister and little brother, Lucy became death-penalty activists. At one of the protests, she meets a girl and so their love story begins. It’s not necessarily complicated in the usual ways, so it’s interesting to watch.

The sex scenes are great and lesbian director Tali Shalom Ezer story telling is very well done.

Year of release: 2017
Genre: social drama
Duration: 108 minutes
Language: English (USA)

MY DAYS OF MERCY Official Trailer (2019) Ellen Page, Kate Mara Movie HD


  1. The Handmaiden / 아가씨

South-Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook decided to adapt an English novel, Fingersmith, but put it in an Asian setting in the 1930s. It’s a movie about sex and deceit.

Rich Lady Hideko as a handmaiden hires pickpocket Sook-Hee, but Sook-Hee has an ulterior motive. It’s all very excessive and the movie has received the critique of being filmed for the male gaze (the director is a man, which never helps) but it does fit the movie.

The lesbian sex scenes are excessive and pornographic, but it’s also a reflection of the original book: both are about women learning their own desires through male pornographic tradition. And this movie is truly a spectacle!

There are three chapters, three perspectives, and we for sure did not see the plot twist coming.

Year of release: 2016
Genre: erotic psychological thriller
Duration: 145 minutes
Language: Korean & Japanese

The Handmaiden - Official Trailer


  1. Imagine Me & You

Before there was Kiss Me, we had Imagine Me & You. The movie starts with Rachel’s wedding day, which is also the day she meets Luce – it’s a love at first sight situation.

The two immediately share a bond and well, you guess it: it complicates Rachel’s marriage. It’s really a cheesy rom-com with a lesbian love story as the focus, and we love it!

Year of release: 2005
Genre: romantic comedy
Duration: 94 minutes
Language: English (UK)

Imagine Me & You Trailer [HD]


  1. Booksmart

This teen comedy is everything teenage me wished for! They get the representation right, it is incredibly funny, inclusive, humorous, self-aware, and so cute.

Best friends Molly and Amy realize they missed out on a lot of high school stuff because they were so serious about getting A’s. All the characters feel three-dimensional; no one is simply a teen caricature.

Amy’s a lesbian but that doesn’t make her character simply ‘the gay one’. Molly is straight and their friendship isn’t about their different sexual orientation – the movie actually does a great job in making them equally important. The lesbianism is a non-issue and it isn’t fetishized – it’s so refreshing!

Booksmart is written by four women and directed by Olivia Wilde.

Year of release: 2019
Genre: coming-of-age comedy
Duration: 105 minutes
Language: English (USA)

BOOKSMART Trailer (2019) Lisa Kudrow, Olivia Wild, Teen Movie


  1. The Kids Are All Right

There aren’t many movies (yet) about lesbian moms. So this movie about a middle-aged lesbian couple that is confronted with the sperm donor of their children, directed by lesbian director Lisa Cholodenko  (yeah, the one from High Art!), sounded really great.

But two mainstream stars play lesbians, their relationship feels very hetero-normative, and the worst part: one of the lesbians sleeps with the sperm donor! Of course, this enforces the idea of lesbian need a man for a ‘good f*ck’.

On the other hand, I can find myself in the fluidity of sexuality and think this is a way of including queer women in movies who aren’t identifying as lesbian. And again: lesbian moms, that’s rare.

Year of release: 2010
Genre: comedy-drama
Duration: 107 minutes
Language: English (USA)

The Kids Are All Right - Official Trailer


  1. Fucking Åmål / Show Me Love

This Swedish movie is similar to All Over Me. It’s about two girls (but they’re not friends) who develop feelings for each other. But this is a European movie and doesn’t take place in Hell’s Kitchen but in the small town of Åmål.

The movie doesn’t shy away from showing how awful teenagers can be but also showcases a cute lesbian teenage romance. We have to say; we don’t agree with the English title – the movie isn’t as sweet as that!

Year of release: 1998
Genre: coming-of-age comedy
Duration: 89 minutes
Language: Swedish (Sweden)

Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love) Trailer (1998)


  1. The Four-Faced Liar

The plot is familiar: the friendship of a group of friends (two couples and a lesbian friend) gets complicated when Molly falls in love with lesbian Bridget. Molly is bored in her own relationship and that’s where the troubles start.

The independent movie (adapted from a play) is marketed as a comedy about a drama and that feels accurate. The characters feel real, annoyingly real, and the movie is refreshing. It’s really good quality – something that is still rare in lesbian cinema!

TW: there’s a scene about attempted sexual assault in minute 36 & 37 of the movie.

Year of release: 2010
Genre: comedy-drama
Duration: 87 minutes
Language: English (USA)

The Four-Faced Liar - Official Trailer (HD) (2010)


  1. Her Smell

This documentary-like movie tells the story of (fictional) female rock star Becky Something (of the band Something She) who is self-destructive and risks losing everything. She’s a monster.

She’s under the influence and ruins everything. Her all-female band is replaced by the Akergirls (one of whom is Cara Delevingne, a queer woman playing a queer woman).

Also: androgynous Agyness Deyn plays Becky’s guitarist! It’s not an easy film to watch, as it’s very raw, but it’s definitely a good one.

Year of release: 2018
Genre: music drama
Duration: 135 minutes
Language: English (USA)



  1. Disobedience

Disobedience tells the story of forbidden love, a story about lesbian orthodox Jews in London of the 1920s.

Ronit flies home for her father’s funeral, where she sees Esti again, with whom she shared a romance in the past. The two picked up where they left off and it’s all very sexy and hot, yet tragic.

The ending isn’t a very happy one, unfortunately, but it could be worse!

Year of release: 2017
Genre: romantic drama
Duration: 114 minutes
Language: English (USA, UK, Ireland)

DISOBEDIENCE | Official Trailer


  1. Blue Is the Warmest Color / La Vie d’Adèle

This movie is such a big deal. It is the most discussed lesbian erotic movie for sure. There was a huge problem with this movie: the male director. Although some male directors can pull it off, lesbian sex in movies directed by men is not the kind of sex lesbians are looking for. It’s the kind of lesbian sex scenes men are looking for. And in Blue is the Warmest Color the director got representation mixed up with exploitation.

The plot was really promising: a young woman (Adèle) explores her sexuality and falls in love with Emma (part 1), who later learns how to navigate through their relationship (part 2). And they’re French!

But there is a lot, a lot of pornographic sex. I remember watching this movie around the time I was exploring my sexuality and I must admit: I was scared about lesbian sex after watching this movie.

My proposal? Let’s make a reboot with a lesbian director and lesbian actresses; I would definitely want to see that!

Year of release: 2013
Genre: coming-of-age romance
Duration: 179 minutes
Language: French (France)

Blue Is The Warmest Color - Official Trailer



  1. Wild Nights with Emily

This movie rewrites history! Based on the private letters of poet Emily Dickinson, this movie tells the elaborate love story of Emily and her sister-in-law, Susan.

Rediscovering history like this (because of course there were lesbians in the 19th century too) is amazing, especially when it’s packaged this well. It’s funny how the movie doesn’t feel like other forbidden love stories; it is funny, passionate, ambitious, and charming!

Extra points for this movie for having a lesbian director (Madeleine Olnek).

Year of release: 2018 (USA: 2019)
Genre: comedy/period drama
Duration: 84 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Wild Nights With Emily Trailer #1 (2019) | Movieclips Indie


  1. Bombshell

Based on the true story of women at Fox News trying to expose CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.

The movie is dramatized, obviously, and in the movie, one of the women, Kayla (played by Margot Robbie), is sexually fluid and has sex with Jess (played by real-life lesbian Kate McKinnon, love her!).

The movie is pretty fun, powerful men are taken down, but let’s not forget the women doing it, are still bad white chicks in essence (because of the whole Fox News white supremacy stuff and their personal gain of the whole stunt they pulled).

The best story, the lesbian story, is actually the one thing that never happened in real life, but it makes the whole movie!

Year of release: 2019
Genre: drama
Duration: 109 minutes
Language: English (USA)

Bombshell Trailer #1 (2019) | Movieclips Trailers


  1. Charlie’s Angels

Technically this movie might not gay enough, but we need more lesbian action movies, so let me add this one! And it has queer actress Kristen Stewart in it and is directed by a woman (Elizabeth Banks), so I have to give it credits.

Queer fans have actually dubbed this movie Charlie’s Gayngels. And we love that!

This reboot sets the main, female, leads in a sexually fluid era, with Kristen playing queer angel Sabina Wilson – the movie doesn’t label her per se though!

Year of release: 2019
Genre: action comedy
Duration: 118 minutes
Language: English (USA)

CHARLIE'S ANGELS - Official Trailer (HD)


  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire / Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

It is about female painter Marianne in the 18th century, who is hired to paint Héloïse, who is to be married off to an Italian nobleman against her will. And this is one of the best lesbian stories we’ve seen!

And not in the patriarchal, creepy male gaze kind of way. Queer female director Céline Sciamma makes it about the female gaze – literally, the two women look at each other a lot – and it’s not only ‘oh I feel sexy when you look at me like that’.

It’s about looking and really seeing each other. There’s no feeling of audience/creepy watchers, it’s purely about desire and intimacy between two women. And unlike any other French movie – there is not a lot of nudity or sex. And yet, it’s so sexy!

Year of release: 2019 (USA: 2020)
Genre: historical drama
Duration: 120 minutes
Language: French (France)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire [Official Trailer] – In Theaters December 6, 2019
  1. Ammonite

Ammonite tells the lesbian love story of Charlotte Murchison and fossil hunter Mary Anning, in 1840s England. Queer, male, director Francis Lee defended the critique that Anning’s sexuality was never confirmed with:

So obviously, we’re excited about this movie!

Year of release: 2020
Genre: period drama
Duration: ??? minutes
Language: English (UK / Australia)

  1. Happiest Season

A lesbian Holiday movie with Kristen Stewart? YES PLEASE! Directed by Clea DuVall (yeah, the girl from But I’m A Cheerleader!), this movie is about a girl, Abby, who is planning to propose to her girlfriend Harper at Harper’s family’s annual holiday party.

But Harper hasn’t come out to her conservative parents yet…

Year of release: November 19, 2020
Genre: romantic comedy
Duration: ??? minutes
Language: English (USA)