by Jessica Freedman
As we enter the holiday season and the end of a year of lockdown, most people are looking to unwind. What better way to do it than with a good movie? Unfortunately, those seeking movies with good lesbian representation are often left out, as most movies featuring lesbian characters are either hypersexualized, involve cheating, or involve a questionable age gap. To help on your journey for holiday movies, I have compiled a list of movies that feature good lesbian representation.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Filmed in the dream-like landscape of the French coast, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is the tender love story of an upper-class woman due to be married and the artist commissioned to paint her without her knowing. The perspective of the movie is intensely female, with normalized scenes of casual nudity and a celebration of activities that are often deemed “women’s work,” such as embroidery. This is a truly beautiful film in both the gentle camera shots and the love with which women’s relationships are portrayed.
After focusing diligently on their studies for their entire high school careers, two best friends, Amy and Molly, are determined to attend a party the night before their graduation. Unfortunately, they don’t know where any parties are or what to do once they find one. Booksmart is filled with zany characters, fast-paced humour, and a down-to-earth representation of teenage awkwardness. Amy’s struggle to talk to girls will be relatable to almost any lesbian out there. With actual queer actors and a woman director, this movie is an honest and entertaining look at being a high school girl.
But I’m A Cheerleader (1999)
A satirical look at conversion therapy camps, this movie is basically a classic at this point. But I’m A Cheerleader is a fun subversion of the typical all-American girl, with the main lesbian character being a stereotypical white, blonde cheerleader named Megan. After an intervention from her friends and family, Megan is taken to True Directions to be treated with their five-step program to cure homosexuality. There she and her fellow campers try (and fail) to become heterosexual. With boys in blue and girls in pink, this movie is a hilarious exploration of discovering and embracing gay identity.
Note that this movie does deal with the topic of conversion therapy, so take caution if you are sensitive to that topic.
Following the story of two girls, Kena and Ziki, as they navigate falling in love in homophobic Kenya, this film brings light to stories often left in the dark. Despite showing the raw homophobia of society, the film still shows Kenya as a beautiful and vibrant country, full of culture and love. Through Kena and Ziki’s soft touches and great ambitions, Rafiki brings hope to a story so often seen as hopeless.
Lesbian spies! What more do I need to say? D.E.B.S is the story of four teenage girls who are enlisted as part of a United States secret agent academy. Their mission is to end the reign of the most dangerous criminal in the world, Lucy Diamond. Unfortunately, Lucy Diamond is a master of seduction and D.E.B.S’s top agent, Amy, can’t help but fall for her. This is a great movie if you are looking for something fun and easy to watch.
Hopefully, this list has given you a starting point to find more movies with good representation. Many of the actors featured (such as Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein or Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Adèle Haenel) have worked to portray lesbian representation in other movies. There are hundreds of beautiful movies out there that explore the lesbian experience. For now, happy watching!