Movie Reviews

10 Underrated Movies From LGBTQ+ Directors | Screen Rant

If fans of Heartstopper are looking for more film and television content telling LGBTQ+ stories or made by members of the community, these films are all excellent choices. In recent years, many prominent LGBTQ+ filmmakers have come to the forefront as Hollywood has become more diverse.

Related: 10 Best Indie Video Games With LGBTQ+ Protagonists

Many iconic films over the years have been made by LGBTQ+ filmmakers and people would never know, with The Matrix being probably the most mainstream example. One’s sexuality or gender identity should not define a film. Instead, it should be celebrated, along with their work!

But I’m a Cheerleader was way ahead of its time. Tackling conversion therapy and embracing one’s sexuality wasn’t a common thing to be put to film. The film stars Natasha Lyonne as a girl sent to conversion therapy by her parents where she falls in love with another girl there.

The film bombed at the box office and was heavily criticized by reviewers. However, queer audiences loved the film and celebrated it. In the following years, it has received a massive cult following and a second life on streaming.

Cloud Atlas is one of the Wachowskis’ top-ranked films but somehow mysteriously flies under the radar. Lead by an amazing ensemble cast, the film explores the relationships between characters through different time periods. Sitting at a massive budget of $146.7 million, Cloud Atlas stands as one of the most expensive independent films of all time (per Forbes).

The film is set in six different time periods; 1849, 1936, 1973, 2012, 2144, and 2321. Completely different from one another and set in different locations, each period has a very distinct visual look. Although the film wasn’t a hit in theaters, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Visually beautiful and wonderfully acted, Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine is one of the most interesting and original films of all time. A reporter tracks down a former rockstar who faked his own death and seeks answers. Featuring a star-studded cast with Christian Bale, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, and Ewan McGregor, the film really makes great use of their talents.

Told in a non-linear fashion, the film received mixed reviews at the time as the film played with controversial themes for the time including bisexuality. The New York Times lauded the film calling it “a dazzlingly surreal rock version of Citizen Kane” in a quote that perfectly sums it up.

It’s definitely not what one would call an amazing movie but White House Down checks all the right boxes for a fun action film. Getting Roland Emmerich on board for this film was probably one of the best choices as he excels at big, bombastic action.

Related: Roland Emmerich’s 10 Best Action Movies, Ranked By IMDb

Over the years, the film has faded into obscurity due to the fact it was released at the same time as Olympus Has Fallen, another White House terrorist attack film. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx have great chemistry and the film is very fun in tone, almost feeling like an ’80s action flick. While the writing may be flawed, White House Down fully delivers in thrills and laughs.

Happiest Season was a surprise hit for Hulu. Based on personal experiences, Clea DuVall wrote the film as a way for others to see her experiences on-screen. In an interview with The Wrap, DuVall said, “In a lot of ways, this movie is autobiographical just in that I’ve been both characters at different times in this movie.”

The film is an honest look at what it’s like to come out to one’s family and does a brilliant job at it. The film features fantastic dramatic moments as well and really allows Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis to shine. Talks of a sequel have been ongoing due to the film’s success.

Hearing Tom Ford is also a filmmaker is probably news to many but he is just as talented in film as he is in fashion. Featuring a star-studded cast, Nocturnal Animals is an extremely creepy and dark neo-noir film. Succeeding his directorial debut, A Single Man, with Nocturnal Animals really shows how versatile he is.

Of course, the entire cast is impeccably dressed in his designer clothes. The film is really interesting as the main story is about a newly-single woman who receives her ex-husband’s novel and begins seeing the eerie similarities between the book and their marriage. It’s told in a unique way that goes back in forth between the novel and the real world.

Happy Death Day should be regarded as just as original as Scream. In a way that Scream revolutionized the horror-comedy, Happy Death Day leaned heavily on comedy but added an interesting sci-fi twist. The film borrows the time loop concept from Groundhog Day, which sees the main protagonist Tree die over and over again as she attempts to stop her killer.

Christopher Landon continues to be one of the best comedy horror filmmakers in recent years with the two Happy Death Day films under his belt as well as Freaky. Landon is comparable to a modern-day Kevin Williamson.

After becoming renowned for her independent mumblecore films, Lynn Shelton soon graduated into bigger films, while still keeping the sensibilities of her older work. Laggies is a really interesting look into growing up as an adult and coming to terms with adult responsibilities.

Related: Ranking All Of Lynn Shelton’s Movies, According to IMDb

Although the premise is mainly played for laughs as Keira Knightley pretends to be a 16-year-old to hide from facing her upcoming marriage by staying with a friend. She soon falls in love with her teenage pal’s father. The acting is phenomenal and can be very relatable for people going through a quarter-life crisis.

Easily one of the most famous indie and arthouse directors, Gus Van Sant had built a very expansive catalog of unique films covering very different topics. Elephant is the second film of his “Death Trilogy”, which features three different stories detailing people’s last days.

Elephant is based on the infamous 1999 Columbine High School Massacre. Sant’s reasoning for making the film was by trying to give a real-life senseless act, meaning. The film does a fantastic job at not glorifying the event but instead shows the harsh reality of what it would look like without the glamor of Hollywood. It’s a sad, dark reflection of the shooting.

At the time of its release, Falling Down received very mixed reviews for its controversial subject matter. Now considered by some to be Joel Schumacher’s best film, the movie has been totally re-evaluated in recent years. Like But I’m a CheerleaderFalling Down was also super ahead of its time.

Starring Michael Douglas as Bill Foster, the film shows the character going down a dark path as he has a really bad day. The film plays with interesting themes as it shows Foster, a traditional American conservative, have to deal with a changing, evolving America. Foster has a battle against the system, which he feels he no longer is a part of. It’s a very fascinating watch showing the grim reality of gun violence in the United States.

Next: 10 Best Action Films Directed By LGBTQ+ Directors

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