Open the wine, plate the strawberries, exchange the cards, and then cuddle up on the couch for some romance.
This Oscar-winning, ground-breaking film, adapted from Annie Proulx’s short story, is so beloved that to this day it remains a cultural touchstone with regard to same-sex relationships — on and off screen. Featuring breathtaking performances from lead actors Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, it stunningly depicts love’s endurance and is one of the great romantic stories of the 21st century, gay or straight. (Lee’s gay-themed “The Wedding Banquet,” from 1993, is also a wonder to behold.)
Guido Santi and Tina Mascara’s loving documentary tribute to writer Christopher Isherwood and visual artist Don Bachardy, who were together for three decades, is a true love story. And what makes it even more special is the fact that Chris and Don were together and visible as a couple at a time when such a thing still bordered on the scandalous. And yet their partnership was celebrated and honored. (Designer turned director Tom Ford’s film adaptation of Isherwood’s “A Single Man,” starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, was one of the best films of 2009.)
Released in 1986, a landmark year for LGBT film (including titles such as “Parting Glances” and “My Beautiful Laundrette”), “Desert Hearts” is still considered the pinnacle of lesbian movies. Based on the novel by lesbian writer Jane Rule, “Desert Hearts” unfolds on a Reno dude ranch following the divorce of Vivian (Helen Shaver). While there, Vivian encounters Cay (Patricia Charbonneau) and some unexpected feelings as they embark on a passionate affair of the (desert) heart.
Before she acted as one of the co-creators of “The L Word,” Rose Troche made a little indie film called “Go Fish” and turned the lesbian movie audience on its head. Filmed in black and white, with a cast of actors and non-actors (read: friends of the director), “Go Fish” is a free-flowing story of the desire to find a mate that captures the lesbian zeitgeist of the mid-1990s. Oh, and did I mention that it’s funny? Yes, that’s right – it’s a lesbian rom-com.