Entertainment » Movies

5 Queer Films Better Than 'Call Me By Your Name' (& Where to Stream Them)

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Friday Jan 12, 2018

It isn't surprising that so many in the community are swooning over "Call Me by Your Name" - here is a movie adaptation of a popular novel that more than delivers with fine craftsmanship, lush visuals and seductive chemistry between its two lead, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Many are calling it the best movie of the year. It already cleaned up with awards from critics groups and is likely to get several Oscar nominations later this month. On top of that, the film has also done very nicely at the box office in limited release, making it the most successful LGBTQ film released in some time.

But what of other films that explore queer romance? I can count at least ten films that do a better job at delving into the love lives of LGBTQ people than "Call Me By Your Name." (Sorry, can't call myself a big fan of the film.) Below are five personal favs available for streaming that you may have missed or may want to watch again that fill that fill that need to swoon.

James Wilby and Hugh Grant in "Maurice.

Maurice (1987)

Buoyed by their success with "A Room With a View," the producing team of James Ivory and Ismail Merchant followed up with another adaptation of an E.M. Forster novel, this time the deeply personal work that wasn't published until after his death. The closeted Forster suppressed "Maurice," first written in 1913, and it was not published until 1971, due to its subject - a gay love story set in Edwardian England that dared to have a happy ending. Ivory's lush film version features James Wilby as the titular character, a member of the aristocracy dealing with his attraction for a college chum (played by Hugh Grant) and a working class youth (Rupert Graves) amidst the virulent homophobia of England in the years following the Oscar Wilde scandal. It is not surprising that Ivory's film brings to mind "Call Me by Your Name" - the 90-year old Ivory did the adaptation of André Aciman's novel and is a front-runner to win his first Oscar for his adaptation.

Where to stream: Available for rental/purchase on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and more.

John Paul Pitoc in "Trick."

Trick (1999)

This delightful comedy, directed by Jim Falls, takes a story line that would have been right at home in a Doris Day comedy from the 1960s, updating it to New York at the end of the last century. Innocent Gabriel (Christian Campbell), an aspiring Broadway composer, meets hottie Mark (John Paul Pitoc), a more experienced go-go boy, at a club. They attempt to hook up, but are thwarted at every attempt by self-involved friends, selfish roommates, angry ex-tricks (the furious and terrifying Coco Peru) and just some bad luck. What made "Trick," which also stars Tori Spelling, so special was that it was one of the first LGBTQ romances that gleefully looked at gay romance in the shadow of HIV.

Where to stream: Available for purchase on iTunes

Tom Cullen and Chris New in "Weekend."

Weekend (2011)

Andrew Haigh turned heads with his intimate film about two men whose lives changed forever after they hook up one night. Boyish Russell (Tom Cullen) meets the more-worldly Glen (Chris New) on a Friday night in a provincial British gay club. Over the next 48 hours the pair hang out, take drugs and have sex, gradually realizing there is much more to their relationship than initially thought. Haigh was said to have made the film as a reaction to most LGBTQ film he had seen; movies that never represented his experiences as a gay man. ("I haven't got muscles and I don't live in West Hollywood," he told the New York Times in an interview.) And the quiet authenticity he brings to the film, which he also wrote, makes it an evocative romance. ""Weekend,' which is about the risks and pleasures of opening up emotionally in the presence of another, remains true to the unsettled, open-ended nature of the experience it documents. And for exactly this reason - because Mr. Haigh avoids the easy payoff of either a happy or a tragic ending - it is one of the most satisfying love stories you are likely to see on screen this year," wrote A.O. Scott in reviewing the film in the New York Times.

Where to stream: Available on FilmStruck and for rental/purchase on iTunes, Amazon and YouTube.

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in "Carol."

Carol (2015)

Todd Haynes' 2015 film "Carol" was picked in a poll by the magazine Sight and Sound as the best LGBTQ film ever made. There is certainly a case to be made for that citation. Adapted from a pulpy 1952 novel by mystery writer Patricia Highsmith ("Strangers on a Train"), the film follows the romance a middle-aged suburbanite named Carol (Cate Blanchett), and a younger artist (Rooney Mara). Haynes and his screenwriter Phyllis Nagy skillfully texture the evolving love affair between these women with a commentary on gay oppression during the early years of the Eisenhower administration. A rich, resonant film buoyed by superb performances by Blanchett and Mara.

Where to stream: Available to watch on Netflix, Showtime Anytime and DirectTV. Available for rental/purchase on iTunes and Amazon.

Geoffrey Couët and François Nambot in "Paris 05:59: Théo and Hugo."

Paris 05:59: Théo and Hugo (2016)

Those who may be disappointed with the antiseptic sex scenes from "Call Me by Your Name" need only to look at this French drama by the team of Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau. They begin their film (told in real-time) in a Paris sex club where its titular characters meet in an orgy. That expressionistic sequence (naked men bathed in red neon) gives way to gritty reality when Hugo (François Nambot) tells Théo (Geoffrey Couët) that they had unsafe sex. Théo, it turns out, is HIV-positive, which sends the couple to a hospital emergency room for prophylactic therapy. Despite Hugo's initial anger, the pair stick together and spend the duration of the film wandering the dreamy, gold-lit streets of Paris (beautifully photographed by cinematographer Manuel Marmier) getting to know each other in this modern romantic fairy tale that begins in sexual fury and ends with tender kisses.

Where to stream: Available to stream on Hulu. Available for purchase on Amazon.

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


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