Steve Rogerson follows up his article on the ten best lesbian movies of all time with a further selection, all of which could have made the original list, from the extremely popular Better Than Chocolate to more recent offerings such as Blue is the Warmest Colour and La Belle Saison. From history to mystery, they are all worth a watch.
Ten more great lesbian movies
A look at a selection of ten more of the best lesbian films of all time
Some more great lesbian movies
Photo by Steve Rogerson
This is a follow-up to the article Ten Best Lesbian Movies of All Time, first published in December 2010. Unsurprisingly, a number of people disagreed with the selection in that piece and suggested alternatives to watch. Many of these have now been watched and here is another selection for the fans of this type of movie.
But what type of movie is a lesbian movie? For this article, the definition given in the first article still works and that is a film in which a lesbian relationship or the subject of lesbianism is central to the plot.
The films here are listed in alphabetical order.
Better Than Chocolate (1999)
Maggie (played by Karyn Dwyer) is horrified when her newly separated mother Lila and her teenage brother come to stay, especially as mother has no knowledge of the true nature of her relationship with Kim (played by Christina Cox). Lila (played by Wendy Crewson) discovers a box of toys under Maggie’s bed, which starts to awaken her own sexuality. To add to the mix of this sexy, romantic comedy, the lesbian bookshop at which Maggie works is under threat from the authorities and local skinheads.
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
Also known by its French title La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2, this is based on Julie March’s graphic novel “La Bleu est une Couleur Chaude”. The film tells the story of teenage Adèle (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) exploring her sexuality when she falls for the slightly older and more experienced Emma (played by Léa Seydoux). They fall in love but as the years pass their differences tell on the relationship leading to a moving tale of love and heartbreak. The film received unfair criticism because of the explicitness of the some of the sexual scenes. It won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
La Belle Saison (2015)
Young country woman Delphine (played by rock singer Izïa Higelin) leaves her parent’s farm to live in 1971 Paris and gets caught up in the women’s right movement where she meets and falls in love with activist Carole (played by Cécile de France). When Delphine’s father is taken ill, she returns to help her mother run the farm, and Carole joins her. The love story is set against the prejudice of the day, which puts strain on all the relationships. This French film premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it won the Variety Piazza Grande Award. The title translates to Summertime and it was released under that name in English speaking countries.
Kyss Mig (2011)
The title of this Swedish movie translates to Kiss Me, and it has been released with that title in a number of English speaking countries. Shortly after Mia (played by Ruth Vega Fernandez) announces her engagement to Tim (played by Joakim Nätterqvist), she finds herself increasing attracted to Frida (played by Liv Mjönes). Frida is openly gay and also in a relationship but the bond between Frida and Mia starts to grow strong with effects on both their lives. Liv Mjönes received a Guldbagge best supporting actress nomination for her role as Frida.
Room in Rome (2010)
Spanish Alba (played by Elena Anaya) invites Russian Natasha (played by Natasha Yarovenko) back to her hotel room in Rome. Though the pair spend a lot of time having sex, the mystery of the film comes from the dialogue between the two revealing titbits about each other and their lives outside the room. The director was Julio Medem and the Spanish film is based on the 2005 Chilean film En La Cama, but with two women rather than a man and a woman.
She Monkeys (2011)
Emma (played by Mathilda Paradeiser) joins an equestrian acrobatic teams and makes friends with fellow teenager Cassandra (played by Linda Molin). Cassandra clearly wants more than friendship and Emma is tempted, but when Cassandra gets picked for the team and Emma doesn’t, problems start. There is a rather distracting subplot of Emma’s younger sister starting to come to terms with her own sexuality, but that doesn’t spoil the main story of young love and competitiveness.
Sister My Sister (1994)
Two sisters – Christine (played by Joely Richardson) and Lea (Jodhi May) – are servants of Madam Danzard (Julie Walters) and her daughter Isabelle (Sophie Thursfield). Based on a true story, the sisters’ relationship with each other moves from sisterly love to something more intimate. As the intensity of their love increases, they start to neglect their duties, increasing the tension in the house building to a disastrous conclusion.
The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
Starring Sidse Babett Knudsen as Cynthia and Chiara D’Anna as Evelyn, the film tells the story of two lepidopterists who play mistress and servant role-playing games with a high sexual content of an increasingly fetish nature. But who is really in charge? That question starts to strain the relationship. The film is a little slow moving but deliciously enticing. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Philadelphia Film Festival. It was directed by Peter Strickland. The title of the film is the name of a butterfly.
The Girl King (2015)
This tells the story of Swedish queen Kristina, from the death of her father when she was a child though her turbulent rule. Played by Malin Buska, she threw convention to the wind, dressing in male clothes and refusing the wishes of her advisors to marry and give birth to an heir. Instead, she was guided by her desires for her lady in waiting Belle – Countess Ebba Sappre (played by Sarah Gordon) – and the teachings of René Descartes (played by Patrick Bauchau).
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)
This BBC made-for-TV movie is based on the true diaries of Anne Lister, a 19th century Yorkshire landowner. Maxine Peake played the title role and the script was written based on a decoded version of the diaries; Peake wrote her diaries in code to disguise the more sexual entries. The code was a strange mixture of unusual phraseology, mathematical symbols and Ancient Greek. After her lover Marianne chooses to marry a wealthy man, Anne Lister goes in search of other female company.
Which is best?
There are some very good films in this selection, but my favourite is Blue is the Warmest Colour. Feel free to suggest not just your own favourite in the comments but other films that should have been included in either this or the first selection. If there are enough, this series may become a trilogy.