The past few years have been a watershed moment for LGBTQ representation in film. From Sean Baker’s Tangerine to Todd Haynes’ Carol and the 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight, those are the films that just come top of mind.
And 2017 was another incredible year with the highly-buzzed and widely-praised Call Me By Your Name, along with Beach Rats — lesser-seen but worth seeking out — and the French entry for the Foreign Language Academy Award BPM (Beats Per Minute), which sadly got snubbed from the shortlist.
2018 is already proving to be another worthy year, even with the LGBTQ releases announced so far. We’ve put together a list of the 2018 queer films we’re most looking forward to.
This article is part of Hypable’s 12 Days of Fandom, a celebration of 2017 and a preview of 2018. See new content every day from December 14 through Christmas!
This Sundance documentary from Imagine Dragons’ frontman Dan Reynolds has already been picked up by HBO, so expect it to hit the service later this year. It follows the indie rocker as he heads to Utah and confronts the Mormon Church’s treatment of its LGBTQ members.
10. ‘Freak Show’
Starring Laverne Cox, Bette Midler, Abigail Breslin and more, this crowd-pleaser from debut director Trudie Styler made a splash in the LGBT film festival circuit and is available on VOD starting January 12. It tells the story of teenager Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) who makes a run for homecoming queen at his highly conservative high school.
9. ‘Saturday Church’
This tender coming-of-age story follows the shy and effeminate Ulysses who questions his gender identity and religion living with his conservative aunt. He encounters a vibrant transgender community who introduces him to a program for LGBTQ youth where he is able to escape his everyday life and find his true passion. The film from first-time filmmaker Damon Cardasis is also available on VOD starting January 12.
8. ‘Studio 54’
Another pick out of Sundance this year, this documentary from Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City) delves into the storied history of the famed Studio 54 during its whirlwind few-year tenure in New York City, the epicenter of gay subculture in the 70s.
This is the first film from Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) you’ll find on this list, this being the director’s English-language debut. It created a stir out of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival for a scene where Rachel Weisz spits in Rachel McAdams’ mouth, but more than just pure titillation, the film appears to be a powerful drama about same-sex love.
6. ‘Alex Strangelove’
From writer/director Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins, Wilson), this tender coming-out tale and raunchy teen comedy hybrid hits Netflix in June. The movie follows Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) as he’s about to take his high school girlfriend to prom and lose his virginity. But when a boy named Elliot (Antonio Marziale from YouTube’s The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo) shows up, it throws everything Alex thought he knew about himself into disarray.
Based on the debut novel from Ariel Schrag, who has been chronicling queer life through her series of autobiographical comics, this coming-of-age tale follows Adam, a teen who spends the summer in New York City with his older sister who’s part of the city’s lesbian and trans activist scene. Upon meeting who he believes to be the girl of his dreams, she mistakes him for being trans, and he can’t find a way to break the truth to her.
If the story is handled with the same wry humor and delicacy found in the novel, it could be something really special. The project was originally to be directed by Desiree Akhavan, who garnered acclaim with her 2014 feature debut Appropriate Behavior about a bisexual Brooklynite. However, due to a scheduling conflict directing another project (see #3), the film is now helmed by Transparent producer Rhys Ernst, which will mark his feature directorial debut.
4. ‘A Fantastic Woman’
While the film received a qualifying run for the Academy Awards, the now Oscar-nominated film will hit theaters in February 2018. The Chilean film from director Sebastian Lelio (Gloria) stars transgender actress Daniela Vega in a powerhouse performance as a waitress and night club singer whose life is thrown into turmoil after the death of her older boyfriend. Visually sumptuous and packing an emotional wallop, this is definitely one to watch for once it gets a wider release next year.
3. ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’
The Sundance-bound indie from writer/director Desiree Akhavan (gushed about previously at #5) stars the American Honey breakout Sasha Lane alongside Chloe Grace Moretz. The film is an adaptation of Emily Danforth’s coming-of-age novel about a girl in 1993 forced into gay conversion therapy after getting caught with the prom queen. The premise, the cast, and the talent behind the camera has me excited for what should prove to be a radical coming-of-age tale.
2. ‘Boy Erased’
The second film coming out next year about gay conversion therapy is the sophomore effort from actor/director Joel Edgerton (The Gift). Primed for awards season with a September release by Focus Features, the film boasts a stacked cast. Among them are Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Russell Crowe, and — get this — Xavier Dolan and Troye Sivan. The film is based on Garrad Conley’s memoir and will likely prove to be a big conversation topic come next fall.
1. ‘Love, Simon’
Update: Available now via iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Imagine a John Green movie — but gay. I will admit to being only perfectly whelmed by the trailer with what appears to be a fairly formulaic high school coming-of-age comedy. The source material, however — the adored YA novel Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda — still gives me hope for something singular and unique.
There is something to be said about a major studio releasing this film. It really is the first of its kind, and that’s a huge step forward for LGBTQ representation. It may not be the best queer film to come out of next year, but it very well might turn out to be the most important. Imagine as a young gay kid having access to see a movie like this at your local movie theater, no matter where in the country you lived — now that’s a game-changer.
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