10 Fabulous Queer Movies of 2020 You Might Have Missed

Hunker down with these standout films.

These 10 critically acclaimed LGBTQ movies might have flown under the radar, but they’re worth seeking out if you’re looking for quality films.

Our picks include a dark comedy with Evan Rachel Wood and Gina Rodriguez as two Los Angeles con artists in a queer romance; two dramas about transgender women who are undocumented immigrants in New York City; and a documentary about openly gay celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Feast of Versailles event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Happy viewing!

  1. In this Gothic lesbian romance, 15-year-old Lara (Hannah Rae) lives a sheltered life with her widowed father and strict governess on her family estate in 1780s England. That’s until a mysterious teenage girl named Carmilla (Devrim Lingnau), who’s around Lara’s age, takes shelter in her home after having a carriage accident. Based on the 1872 Gothic novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, this movie version (written and directed by Emily Harris) puts more emphasis on sensual drama than on the vampire horror that was in the book.

    Where to watch: Select U.S. virtual cinemas; Film Movement Plus

  2. Denise Ho, Hong Kong’s first openly lesbian pop star, says her outspoken criticism of China’s Communist control of Hong Kong has gotten her banned her from performing in China, dropped by her record company, and canceled by numerous sponsors. This new documentary (directed by Sue Williams) takes an inside look at Ho’s activism with the Umbrella Movement, and includes footage from her performances in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

    Where to watch: Digital video; Video on Demand; DVD; Kino Now

  3. Tina Carerra (trans actress Carlie Guevara, in her feature-film debut) is a vibrant, 20-something New Yorker who lives in the Bronx with her grandmother while trying to make ends meet as a rideshare driver. Tina also happens to be a trans woman and an undocumented Dreamer immigrant from Mexico. This emotionally moving drama (directed and co-written by Flavio Alves) shows how Tina’s trans identity affects her relationship with her straight boyfriend, her decision to fully transition, and her journey to becoming an activist for trans rights.

    Where to watch: Digital video; VOD

  4. This candid documentary, filmed from 2007 to 2017 by director Gustavo Sánchez, chronicles the lives of four trans entertainers in New York City: Amanda Lepore, Sophia Lamar, Chloe Dzubilo, and T De Long.

    Where to watch: Digital video; VOD

  5. In writer-director Miranda July’s quirky, Los Angeles-set dramedy, the Dyne family—patriarch Robert (Richard Jenkins); his wife, Theresa (Debra Winger); and their 26-year-old emotionally repressed daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood)—are eccentric, small-time con artists who bring another con artist named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) into their fold. Old Dolio and Melanie slowly develop romantic feelings for each other that Old Dolio tries to resist.

    Where to see it: Select U.S. theaters

  6. In this slow-burn drama (written and directed by Romas Zabarauskas), an openly gay corporate attorney named Marius (Eimutis Kvoščiauskas) in Lithuania falls hard for a semi-closeted, bisexual, male Syrian refugee named Ali (Doğaç Yildiz), who lives in Serbia and works as a cam model. They first connect online, then hook up in person, and Marius tries to help Ali get out of Serbia.

    Where to watch: DVD; Dekkoo

  7. Transgender filmmaker Isabel Sandoval wrote, directed, and edited this quietly effective drama, in which she stars as Olivia, a semi-closeted trans woman working as a caregiver for an elderly woman in Brooklyn. Olivia is also an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines, and she’s desperate to get a green card by marrying an American citizen. Along comes her employer’s troubled adult grandson, Alex (Eamon Farren), and Olivia gets romantically involved with him without telling Alex about her true identity when they first begin dating.

    Where to watch: Netflix

  8. Openly gay TV producer-host Ellis Haizlip co-created the PBS TV variety series Soul!, which was on the air from 1968 to 1973. Soul! was the first nationally televised variety series for African Americans and pushed boundaries with some of its controversial programming. Melissa Haizlip (Ellis’ niece) directed this inspiring, informative documentary.

    Where to watch: Select U.S. virtual cinemas

  9. In 2018, out celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi presented a Feast of Versailles dessert extravaganza at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This documentary, directed by Laura Gabbert, provides an inside view as Ottolenghi preps for the event and assembles a dream team of chefs, including Dominique Ansel, Bompas & Parr, and Ghaya Oliveira.

    Where to watch: Select U.S. theaters; Digital video; VOD

  10. Set in England during World War II, his tearjerker drama follows cranky lesbian writer Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton), who reluctantly becomes a foster parent to a teenager named Frank (Lucas Bond) on government orders. Alice is still heartbroken over her closeted romance with her college roommate, Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who ended their relationship years ago. Their love affair is shown in flashbacks in Summerland, which was written and directed by Jessica Swale.

    Where to watch: Digital video; VOD

Main image: Gugu Mbatha-Raw (L) and Gemma Arterton in Summerland.

Writer and editor whose work has appeared in AXS.com, Examiner.com, Lifetime, People, and Billboard.