Happy Pride Month to everyone but the brands adding rainbows to their logos
Nobody panic, but they took Moonlight off Netflix.
Maybe it's for the best — who amongst us really needs to go into yet another bout of Barry-Jenkins-fueled melancholy after deciding, against our interests, to turn on Moonlight for the thousandth time? Probably none of us. If that's the journey you need to be on right now, however, don't worry, Moonlight is currently streaming on other platforms, so godspeed.
But if you're a Netflix loyalist looking for something to watch this Pride Month, where does that leave you?
From its original titles to its movies on demand, there's a wealth of queer representation on Netflix. While the bar is low and diversity is still lacking in a lot of areas, there are more shows than ever with queer storylines and queer characters.
But not all queer films are created equal. Some feel like pandering from major studios, some use predictable tropes as substitutes for storytelling and character development, and some are just plain … bad.
But there are some gems, even on Netflix — to laugh with, cry to, marvel at, or put on as background noise to numb your existential dread. Just us? Maybe. But here are some queer titles streaming on Netflix now:
Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
Disclosure is a 2020 documentary chronicling Hollywood's contemporary and historic representation of trans people. Through interviews with prominent trans celebrities in the industry, the documentary explores how Hollywood has told trans stories through the years.Directed by Sam Feder, the acclaimed Sundance film provides a refreshingly comprehensive conversation about trans representation. By centering trans voices in its archival trip through the past and meditation on the present, Disclosure offers hope for the future of representation through genuine, community-centered storytelling.
The FX show Pose is historic for its casting and portrayal of LGBTQ BIPOC communities — trans actors in particular. Its main cast is predominantly trans and Black, and its storyline explores the ball scene of the '70s and '80s with both celebration and mourning.
The show has earned its place in the canon and is currently in its third and final season on FX. Meanwhile, its first two seasons are streaming on Netflix in all their glory.
Premiering in late May 2021, the new Halson biopic is a limited series by none other than Ryan Murphy. Murphy has become known for centering queer stories; and, though often a little idealistic and sometimes a little problematic (othertimes nauseatingly obnoxious … we're looking at you The Politician) in his approach, his productions are unabashed celebrations of queer lives.
After his success with limited series adaptations of biopics such as OJ and Gianni Versace, Halston explores the rise and fall of one of America's most iconic, queer designers — complete with all the sex, drugs, and rock & roll one can expect from both a Ryan Murphy production and a Studio 54 era series.
The Boys in the Band
Based on the 1968 play of the same name by Mart Crowley, The Boys in the Band is a 2020 adaptation of the original play and 1970 film. The now-canon story takes place over one night, a birthday party in which a group of gay friends in New York City convene, confess, conflict, and ultimately find some sort of catharsis.
Another Ryan Murphy production, the fast-paced, dialogue heavy adaptation stays true to the original with its cast of almost exclusively openly gay actors — a shockingly rare phenomenon in mainstream queer cinema — such as Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins.
Each actor puts on the show of their lives, culminating in a satisfying, theatric experience replete with '70s era outfits and enviously quick witticisms.
The Half Of It
Why, I implore you, why is anyone talking about The Kissing Booth or To All The Boys I've Loved Before when The Half of It exists? If the answer is Lana Condor, maybe they're valid, but I don't sleep on Leah Lewis, protagonist of the Alice Wu feature film.
YA movies are often sorely lacking in quality — both After and The Kissing Booth were acquired from the teen-story sharing site Wattpad, if that indicates anything about their quality. But every few years, a gem emerges from the wreckage of our teenage dreams; and in 2020, that movie was The Half of It. The underrated teen romantic comedy starts with a classic premise: guy asks girl for help winning the heart of a different girl. But the story unravels in unique, heartwarming ways.
Lewis carries the film with her gentle stoicism, her slow coming of age, and the entirely unforced way she executes the subtle layers of the story — from its Cyranic set up to its Sapphic realization and her self-actualization, as well as the immigrant experience in a small town. One of the most slept on romances on Netflix, The Half of It is a perfect thaw to our cynical hearts.
Set in an all boy's boarding school, Handsome Devil sets itself up as an opposites-attract romance — the angsty protagonist and his rugby player roommate.
But by resisting cliches, what emerges is not a cringey, overdone romance formula, but a truly endearing story of camaraderie and queer friendship.
The Netflix Original series Special is a semi-autobiographical feat by writer, director, and star, Ryan O'Connell. Chronicling a dramatized version of his life as a gay man with cerebral palsy, the show swings effortlessly from hilarious to heartwarming with its complex characters and dramatic plot lines. It's the perfect series for a Pride month binge.
PariahOfficial Trailer: Pariah | Pariah Movie | Focus Features
If you're really missing Moonlight's magnetic dramatic energy, Pariah is a worthy substitute. Pariah is an an award-winning story about a Black lesbian teenager growing up in Brooklyn, looking for friendship and someone to confide in.
With beautiful cinematography and careful storytelling, Pariah confronts issues like self-actualization, first love, and strained parental relationships with beauty and grace.
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