Press play on movie date night with these popular gay romances that set the mood and get your Gay Card punched.
By Mike Fleming
We’ve been running down genres of films to help you attain, keep or renew your Gay Card, but none of those lists are as likely to get you some lovin’ as this one.
True, those previously touched upon unintentionally gay horror flicks and historically pertinent documentaries are a must for every gay who’s any gay, but Romance Movies can get you laid. And isn’t everyone at least a little interested in that as well on Netlfix & Chill night? Thought so.
More Gay Card points are collectible here, by the way, but we digress.
Once again, we solicit the help of gay film critics at Pride.com and NewNowNext, with insights by Fusion.net. Rather than sticking to the “classics,” they include some thoroughly modern more recent choices, and we chose our favorites. Of course, the list is by no means exhaustive and sticks to what’s available on Netflix, but it’s a great place to start when you’re looking to cozy up this winter.
The Way He Looks
A new classmate transforms the daily life of a blind teenager who longs for independence and disrupts his relationship with his best friend.
With its clean YA plotting, keen observations, and measured pacing, this movie feels like a finely crafted John Green adaptation. Like much of Green’s best work, this movie perfectly captures what it’s like to be a high school student. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I cried real, happy tears during this movie, and it’s one of the few on this list that I’m excited to watch again.
While training for an important sporting event, teen athletes Sieger and Marc strike up a friendship that soon develops into something more passionate.
Like its protagonist, Boys is sweet and quiet. And though it’s tackling familiar ground, it’s picturesque and poignant in its depiction of a first love. The movie evokes the intoxication you feel from those few hours you spend in isolation with another human, so perfectly in sync without ever having to say a word, and the look of contentment in your eyes after a perfect first kiss.
This frank drama centers on the relationship between two gay men who contemplate turning a passionate one-night stand into something more meaningful.
A true spiritual successor to Linklater’s Before Sunrise series (this time, with no Melania pornbots in sight). While the intimacy of the movie apparently reads as boring to many a Netflix user, it’s that same invasive closeness that makes watching these two flawed men connect so sharp and captivating. While many straight reviewers very quickly fell over themselves to write that this movie was “more than just a gay romance,” this movie is very much intrinsically—impossibly—gay in ways that may not be recognizable to someone who hasn’t spent a weekend falling hopelessly in love with a person who views their sexuality wildly differently from how you view your own.
A male prostitute maintains a stoic approach to sex and love until a regular customer tempts him to reconsider by sharing a meaningful story.
This movie feels very 2006, if that means anything to you at all. Q. Allan Brocka of the Eating Out series co-wrote this adaptation of the eponymous novel by Matthew Rettenmund, and working with an existing story seems to have given Brocka a helpful narrative structure that his Eating Out movies so sorely lacked. Derek Magyar as our central sanctimonious sex worker does his best Ian Somerhalder circa Rules of Attraction here, but the shtick wears pretty thin early on, and its ending is fairly contrived.
Henry Hart returns to Big Eden and winds up confronting his unrequited passion for his high school best friend and his feelings about being gay.
This movie, more than any other on this list, nails the feel of an old-school, turn-of-the-millennium romcom. At first glance, you’d think this movie about a successful New York artist returning to his small town would see him battling homophobia, but Big Eden depicts a kind of post-everything utopia that could only exist in the ‘90s. Nearly everyone in this rural town is not only accepting of the gay triangle brewing in their midst, but actively invested in it. As in any classic romcom, the outcome of this love triangle is clear from the start, but each relationship is as exquisitely detailed as it would be in a Nora Ephron film.
North Sea Texas
A teen boy living in a small town on the Belgian coast finds his ordinary life take an unexpected turn when a handsome traveler blows through town.
While I understand how difficult summing movies up in just a few sentences must be for whomever Netflix employs to write these synopses, that description makes very little sense, as there are few unexpected turns in this story. A gorgeous, shorter version of Boyhood (but gay), this movie’s romance, such as it is, is less of a two-sided affair and more a reflection of the desperate kind of love you feel for someone as you’re coming of age and first becoming aware of your feelings.
When childhood friends reunite, their bond has become even stronger—although the paths they’ve taken with their lives present a challenge.
This isn’t completely without merit, but the Canadian public-access production values and some truly bonkers choices on the part of the director and writer make Ragtag tough to get through. There are definitely some glimmers of an interesting story here, but with all its handicaps, the success really rests in the hands of the two stars and their chemistry. They weren’t quite strong enough to carry this thing across the finish line.
In the Grayscale
As an architect, he knows what he wants. But in love and desire he’s a man of two different worlds.
A visual love letter to the city of Santiago, the capital of Chile, this is yet another “married gay not sure if he’s gay” story, which is a tired trope, and would constitute less of a conflict if bisexuality was acknowledged as a possibility in any of these movies. The gay relationship is sweet and convincing, but the beats here are familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a movie of this kind. All that aside, though, In the Grayscale does have the distinction of having one of the best, and to my eyes most realistic, gay sex scene of any movie on this list.
A year after college graduation, a pact reunites four gay men and a lesbian friend in New York City for a fateful Gay Pride weekend.
By this point in our little countdown, you may have noticed just how oppressively white the casts of most of these movies seem. Trust me, it’s exhausting—which is why this movie is such a nice breath of fresh air. Unlike Bear City, this is not a movie explicitly about being black and gay. It’s just a movie that happens to feature an all-black cast, and lets these characters exist like real, human people of color are wont to do. But a pedestrian, at times preachy script bogs down an otherwise winning cast. While there are definitely weak links here, Jussie Smollett (Empire) and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (unREAL) are standouts.
Visit fusion.net for ‘Every single LGBT romance movie streaming on Netflix, ranked.’