While many of 2020’s most buzzworthy LGBTQ movies won’t be out until Pride season or beyond, springtime serves us a tasty, inspired amuse-bouche for film lovers. Here, we present our picks for the most promising titles set to land in the coming weeks (finger crossed!), from popcorn rom-coms and twisted thrillers to cerebral documentaries and edgy festival faves.
Note: All release dates are subject to change due to recent events.
Last seen dodging a masked slasher in Hulu’s 2019 homo horror romp Into the Dark: Midnight Kiss, Scott Evans and Augustus Prew reunite to play boyfriends in actor Mike Doyle’s directorial debut. Originally titled Sell By, this homicide-free ensemble rom-com follows a painter, Adam (Evans), and his influencer boyfriend, Marklin (Prew), as they hit an existential bump in the road five years into their relationship. As they wonder, Is this all there is?, their friends and chosen family deal with their own set of crises. April 3
Will & Grace star Sean Hayes plays his first female (!) role in this indie comedy about a rudderless, jobless, single, middle-aged cis woman named Susan, who attempts to turn her life and self-centered attitude around. Hayes also co-wrote the script, while Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney, Jim Rash, and J.R. Ramirez round out the cast. We’re… intrigued? April 3
Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin
In his latest doc, which made its world premiere at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, German director Werner Herzog pays tribute to Bruce Chatwin, a bisexual English writer and explorer who died from AIDS complications in 1989. Retracing his work and some of his actual journeys (while wearing Chatwin’s own rucksack), Herzog offers a thoughtful and affectionate portrait of his friend and “kindred spirit.” April 8
When he expresses a desire to have a child, young lawyer Dan (Udi Persi) inadvertently unleashes long-buried demons and self-destructive impulses in Yoav (Oded Leopold), his partner of 15 years. A Best Feature winner at Chicago and Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ film festivals last year, writer-director Yuval Hadadi’s intense Israeli drama looks riveting (though it may not be the best flick for a first date). April 17
Promising Young Woman
A highlight of January’s Sundance Film Festival, Killing Eve showrunner Emerald Fennell’s darkly comic, #MeToo-era thriller is the story of Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a young barista who moonlights as a rage-fueled vigilante targeting male would-be rapists. Laverne Cox plays Cassie’s coffee shop manager, Gail, and Jennifer Coolidge portrays her mom. This could be the exact sort of star-studded catharsis we all need right now. April 17
Circus of BooksPIFF
One of West Hollywood’s most iconic gay gathering and cruising spots in the 1980s and ’90s, the now defunct Circus of Books stocked both hardcore porn and a surprisingly well-curated selection of books and magazines. In her new Netflix doc, the store owners’ daughter, Rachel Mason, delves into its history, mixing archival footage and interviews with the likes of Alaska Thunderfuck, a former employee. April 22
Janelle Monáe stars in this time-bending horror-thriller about an African-American author, Veronica (Monáe), who finds herself transported back to a plantation in the Antebellum South. The film was inspired by a nightmare experienced by co-writer/co-director Gerard Bush, who told HuffPost, “I think it’s going to catalyze a national dialogue around who we are as a people, not just then, but today in 2020.” April 24
The Half of ItNetflix
Queer Chinese-American filmmaker Alice Wu finally follows up her GLAAD Award–nominated 2005 lesbian romance, Saving Face, with this YA-friendly Netflix original. Described as “a modern-day Cyrano meets Pygmalion,” it stars Leah Lewis as Ellie Chu, an introverted A student drafted by the school jock, Paul (Daniel Diemer), to write love letters to a girl (Alexxis Lemire) they’re both crushing on. Let the love triangle begin! May 1
Legally Blonde 3Tracy Bennett/MGM Pictures
Originally slated to open on Valentine’s Day 2020, the third go-around for Elle Woods was officially announced back in 2018 via Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram. Although pretty much everything about its plot is being kept secret, the original movie’s screenwriters and producers are reportedly back, and the actress has suggested a few of her co-stars will also return (Jennifer Coolidge seems all but guaranteed!). To miss this would feel like a crime. May 8
Main image: Oded Leopold (left) and Udi Persi in 15 Years.