2017 was good year for gay stories on the big screen, and it could be bigger when after the Oscars! Despite the controversy with Call Me by Your Name, it remains a standout movie worthy of this list. BUT there are many other solid films deserving more praise — movies exploring gay stories less acceptable for mainstream audiences.
On the outskirts of Brooklyn, Frankie, an aimless teenager, suffocates under the oppressive glare cast by his family and a toxic group of delinquent friends. Struggling with his own identity, Frankie begins to scour hookup sites for older men. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he begins meeting men at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences. Eliza Hittman’s award-winning Sundance hit is a powerful character study that is as visually stunning as it is evocative.
It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Francis Lee’s star-crossed romance between a Yorkshire shepherd and a Romanian immigrant (Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareaneau). God’s Own Country is the standout British gay film of 2017.
Trudie Styler’s wonderful film adaption of the of Billy Bloom, one-of-a-kind: a fabulous, glitter-bedecked, gender-bending teenager whose razor-sharp wit is matched only by his outrageous, anything-goes fashion sense. When his glamorous mother is forced to send him to live with his straight-laced father, Billy discovers that he’s like a diva-out-of-water at his new ultra-conservative high school. Undaunted by the bullies who don’t understand him, the fearless Billy sets out to make a big statement in his own inimitable way.
Freak Show premiered in 2017 at the Berlin International Film Festival, but has only just arrived in cinemas and VOD this year (so we will consider this a film to watch for 2017 AND 2018!).
Dome Karukoski’s bio-pic about the icon of gay erotica Touko Valio Laaksonen (Pekka Strang) who made graphic reality of his sexual desire, creating visual fantasies for gay men everywhere.
Paris: 05:59: Theo & Hugo
By Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, Theo & Hugo is the love story of the year for its PREP-era consciousness and focus on emotional intimacy enacted actors by Geoffrey Couet and Francois Nambot.
Jerome Reybaud turns a romantic break-up into a rediscovery of personal, national, cultural unity—between two men (Pascal Cervo, Arthur Iqual) and the iconographic countrywomen (Marie France, Fabienne Babe, Nathalie Richard, Laetitia Dosch, Liliane Montevecchi) who share their experience.
Robin Campillo’s epic parade of AIDS activism in ‘80s Paris. Its array of emotions, personalities and politics is tragic and euphoric.