2022 Gay Best & Worst List
This post is a list of the best gay movies and series of 2022. It includes summaries and reviews of each work, highlighting moments of interest and providing commentary on their quality.
Notable entries include the Israeli film Ezrah Mudag, the French film Peter Von Kant, and the Netflix series Heartstopper. The list also includes two gay movies that I hated as well as movies that I didn’t love but are worth seeing. Finally, there’s a watchlist at the bottom that includes films I didn’t get to.
Like all my long posts, this one is still a work in progress. I will add movies as I discover them.
This post took many, many hours to research, write, and format. If I write about a film, that means I’ve watched it at least twice.
Table of contents
- The 27 Best Gay Movies & Series of 2022
- 1 Interview with the Vampire Season 1, showrunner Rolin Jones , AMC
- 2 The Andy Warhol Diaries , directed by Andrew Rossi, Netflix
- 3 Le bleu du caftan | The Blue Caftan, directed by Maryam Touzani, 2 hrs 44 mins, Morocco
- 4 Close , directed by Lukas Dhont, 1 hr 44 mins, Belgium
- 5 Ezrah Mudag | Concerned Citizen, directed by Idan Haguel, 1 hr 22 mins, Israel
- 6 Too Rough, Directed by Sean Lionadh, 16 mins, UK
- 7 Fogo-Fátuo | Will o’ the Wisp , directed by João Pedro Rodrigues, 1 hr 7 mins, Portugal
- 8 Warsha , directed by Dania Bdeir, 15 mins, Lebanon
- 9 Peter Von Kant, directed by François Ozon, 1 hr 25 mins, France
- 10 Arrête avec tes mensonges | Lie with Me, directed by Olivier Peyon, France
- 11 Dos entre muchos | Two Amongst Many, directed by Julián Hernández, Mexico
- 12 Cobalt Blue, directed by Sachin Kundalkar, 1 hr 52 mins, India
- 13 Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel , directed by Bo Burnham, 55 mins, USA
- 14 Tomorrow Then , directed by David Moragas, 14 mins, Spain
- 15 Le lycéen | Winter Boy, directed by Christophe Honoré, 2 hrs 2 mins, France
- 16 Il signore delle formiche | The Lord of the Ants, directed by Gianni Amelio, 2 hrs 14 mins, Italy
- 17 Young Royals S02, showrunners: Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung, and Camilla Holter, Netflix
- 18 Three Months, directed by Jared Frieder, 1 hr 44 mins, USA
- 19 El Houb | The Love, directed by Shariff Nasr, 1 hr 42 mins, Netherlands
- 20 Novena , Directed by Fernando Lopez, 16 mins, USA
- 21 Starfuckers , directed by Antonio Marziale, 14 mins, USA
- 22 I Was Max , directed by Lukas Kacinauskas, 21 mins, Lithuania
- 23 Bashtaalak sa’at | Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day? Directed by Mohammad Shawky Hassan, 1 hr 6 mins, Egypt
- 24 Sublime , directed by Mariano Biasin, 1 hr 40 mins, Argentina
- 25 Le variabili dipendenti | Dependent Variables, directed by Lorenzo Tardella, 16 mins, Italy
- 26 Heartstopper S01, showrunner, Alice Oseman, Netflix
- 27 Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, 1 hr 58 mins, USA
- Honorable Mentions
- Hijo , directed by Oscar Perez-Chairez , 32 mins, Mexico
- Spoiler Alert , directed by Michael Showalter, 1 hr 50 mins, USA
- Of an Age , directed by Goran Stolevski, 1 hr 40 mins, New Zealand
- Lonesome , directed by Craig Boreham, 1 hr 39 mins, Australia
- Nackte Männer im Wald | Naked Men in the Woods , directed by Paul Ploberger, 30 mins, Austria
- Bros , directed by Nicholas Stoller, 1 hr 55 mins, USA
- Eismayer , directed by David Wagner, 1 hr 27 mins, Austria
- Háblame de ti , directed by Jose Eduardo Cortes Moreno, 1 hr 40 mins, Mexico
- Kam motýli nelétají | Where Butterflies Don’t Fly , directed by Roman Nemec, Czech Republic
- Fox in the Night , directed by Keeran Anwar Blessie, UK
- Chrissy Judy , directed by Todd Flaherty, USA
- The Hated
The 27 Best Gay Movies & Series of 2022
1 Interview with the Vampire Season 1, showrunner Rolin Jones, AMC
I was surprised to discover, after asking Notion’s AI to find and summarize the audience reaction to this series as well as reviews, that most fans were pleased with its faithfulness to the book. It doesn’t require much of a close reading to dispute this. On the contrary, literary dialogue and stylized, mannerist, nigh-Brechtian performances, to my mind and eyes, actively critique the coyness, the whiteness, and the sublimated proto-slash fic of Anne Rice’s seminal novel by making Louis black and creole and by putting a kinky, overtly lubricious gay sensibility at the center.
This series is queer as fuck, in an old-fashioned way rather than a contemporary, woke, and identitarian way. Furthermore, Lestat is the unmistakable, if debonair, villain and exploiter, and Louis is the victim, so how turned on we become while witnessing their hot interactions questions not only the book, but also the complicity of our own arousals.
But that’s only the most superficial of this series’s challenges. Because it is told as a story told by an unreliable source with a suspicious accent and motives to a highly skeptical but intimately invested and compromised journalist-hostage, viewers are left wondering what the fuck is true and what the fuck is a joke played at our expense. Just how deadly is this vampire tale to our illusions about anachronistic romance, among other things?
The first season of Interview with the Vampire kept my attention more than anything else I watched in 2022. It was far more sophisticated and interesting than Jordan Peele’s Nope, with its empty gestures and metatextual dead ends, and a billion times more adult and honest than Luca Guadagnino’s execrable and ridiculous Bones and All. There are motion pictures closer to perfection on this list, but none that I had more fun with.
The television series “Interview with the Vampire” premiered on AMC to much acclaim. Critics have praised the show for its quality and faithfulness to the source material, the novel by Anne Rice. [^1] Fans of the book series have been thrilled with the show’s ability to capture the essence of the story and appreciate the attention to detail in the depiction of the characters and world-building. [^2]
While some audience members who have not read the books may find the show hard to follow due to the complex plot and multiple characters, the majority of viewers have been enjoying the show. [^3] Many have praised the acting performances of the cast, particularly Sam Reid’s portrayal of Lestat. [^4]
Overall, “Interview with the Vampire” has been well-received by both critics and fans alike, with its excellent production quality, faithfulness to the source material, and strong performances. [^5]
2 The Andy Warhol Diaries, directed by Andrew Rossi, Netflix
This thorough and rigorous Netflix documentary series, based on the eponymous book #CommissionEarned, is a fascinating and surprisingly affecting exploration of the life and work of one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century — Warhol was perhaps the first gay media influencer, never, really, to be equaled. The series delves into the many facets of Andy Warhol’s influence on modern media and pop culture, revealing insights into his unique artistic vision and his role as a celebrator of and commentator on American consumer culture, despite his persistent doubts about himself and fear of being a failure. While much has been written about Warhol’s work, this series offers an intimate look into his personal life, as well, including his romantic attachments, which have been the subject of much speculation and misrepresentation over the years. Through interviews with friends, colleagues, and experts in the field, viewers gain a deeper appreciation for Warhol’s unique genius and his lasting impact on the way we still process fame and success. For all that, it’s also gay as hell.
- A review from The Hollywood Reporter, which describes the docuseries as “fascinating and bleak,” with “surreal insights into Warhol’s life and work.” Link: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-reviews/the-andy-warhol-diaries-netflix-1235111794/
- A review from Mashable, which praises the series for being “equal parts recognizable and deeply strange,” and notes that it “never lets the viewer forget the tragedy lurking beneath all of Warhol’s pop art.” Link: https://mashable.com/article/the-andy-warhol-diaries-review-netflix/
- A review from The Guardian, which describes the series as “compelling” and “strangely moving,” and notes that “Warhol comes across as an extraordinary and confounding figure.” Link: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2022/mar/07/the-andy-warhol-diaries-review-netflix
3 Le bleu du caftan | The Blue Caftan, directed by Maryam Touzani, 2 hrs 44 mins, Morocco
How much better would [gay] cinema be if all directors treated their characters with the love and respect that director Maryam Touzani treats hers? (There would be a lot fewer New Queer Horror movies, that’s for sure.) #CommissionEarned
In that synopsis quoted above, we’re given some actual insight with the choice of the word, moved. What we witness in The Blue Caftan are the expressions shared between and hidden from these three characters — human souls moved and suffering together and apart within changing, morphing traditions and mores.
One clear moment, although there are many: In a remarkable in-bed sequence, Halim performs his husbandly sexual duties while the camera focuses on the cost of this sacrifice so plainly depicted on his face. I’ve never seen a “sex scene” quite like this, nor a truth like this conveyed, with such sensitivity and restraint, in any gay-themed film ever. What’s it like to be trapped in a relationship based on love, but one not in congruence with one’s sexual orientation? Thanks to Maryam Touzani and her spare and precise script, co-written with Nabil Ayouch, we now know at least a little something about how that might feel.
What’s there on his face? What do we see?
4 Close, directed by Lukas Dhont, 1 hr 44 mins, Belgium
Even though its power and expressiveness begin to wane about 80% of the way through, this still hit me even harder the second time around, perhaps because I’d surrendered any political squeamishness I’d held on to during the first watch of a film that includes the self-inflicted death of a possibly gay kid. Instead, I let this film say what it needed to say in the ways it needed to say it. And, as a grieving and guilty Leo had to do eventually, I wept more than once because I had let it go.
But I know what first affected me so strongly and quickly: the pure, ebullient innocence of these boys’ intimacy with one another and how it made everyone around them smile and acknowledge it. Eventually, the obvious love between them becomes suspect as summer ends and school begins. In this new social context, their inseparability doesn’t seem so innocent anymore. New friends at school wonder if they are “together.” Director Lukas Dhont visually formalizes the deployment and effects of these social constrictions and redefinitions through formally repetitive sequences:
- Young people interacting on the playground, as they tease one another and talk about nothing, but nonetheless efficiently and quickly sort themselves socially; Leo eventually becomes part of a larger group after slowly distancing himself from Remi, who is either seen alone or with two or three other friends.
- Leo learning to play ice hockey, a masculine activity that Remi isn’t interested in; the camera following him as he skates backwards down the rink — this shot setup repeats at least three times.
- The two boys sleeping together on the trundle bed in Remi’s house becomes a site of conflict as Leo begins to suspect his own motivations and therefore police his expressions of the boys’ closeness. The confusion on both boys’ faces makes for a heartbreaking observation.
- The two boys running together, an image that conjures ideas of freedom and companionship
So the film became less powerful, for me, not because what we’re shown after Remi’s suicide is less moving than everything that came before, but because of the film’s own ethics — unpacking the a priori context of what happened rather than the act itself or its evidence; we’re only shown where Remi took his own life represented by a broken bathroom door jam, shot in a medium long shot through a rain-spotted sliding glass door, but never the physical evidence nor even a verbal description. Remi’s death is a structural lacuna that, after he’s gone, the film never lets us forget. The film occludes the word and concept of suicide so assiduously that we might begin to doubt the origin of Remi’s absence. What precisely, after all, made Remi go away?
The only direct verbal reference to what Remi did specifically to end his life is when Leo asks his brother, “Do you think [Remi] was in pain?” a question with a double meaning. After Remi dies, the film’s most persistent visual and the main source of its moral claim on our attention are the lineaments and pooling tear ducts of Leo. When the film ends with a shot of Leo alone looking back over the tract of land he’s just run across, the same tract he used to run with Remi, we’re only left with questions: How will Leo live his life now? How will he deal with his feelings of culpability?
One clear moment, although there are many: Leo’s eyes fill with tears listening to Remi play the oboe at a school concert, reminding us that finding joy in a friend’s talent or success is an expression of non transactional love.
Listen to a Mubi podcast with director Lukas Dhont.
- The film’s script, by Dhont and his collaborator Angelo Tijssens, captures the intimacy between two friends, Leo and Rmi. Leo, played by young actor Eden Dambrine, is on the threshold of adolescence and is struggling with his affection for his best friend Remi. source
- Lukas Dhont’s “Close” presents a deeply felt portrait of two inseparable friends , as Lo is finding it hard to express his desire for Rmi. source
- “Close” is a coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Lukas Dhont, and revolves around two friends, Leo and Remi. In the film, Leo is trying to come to terms with his feelings for Remi. source
- Director Lukas Dhont and his collaborator Angelo Tijssens wrote the script for the film, and the leading actor Eden Dambrine was actually discovered by Dhont on a train ride. 5 . The film’s theme of a boy on the threshold of adolescence grappling with his feelings for a friend is explored empathetically by Dhont and his collaborator Tijssens. 6 . “Girl”, Lukas Dhont’s previous film, was immersive and empathetic, and “Close” seems to follow in the same vein. source
- The New Yorker’s Movie Club Newsletter includes reviews of current cinema , including “Close”. source
- “Close” is a romance drama film directed by Lukas Dhont , and Lo is bravely trying to figure out what lies ahead for him and his feelings for Rmi. source
- Deadline’s review of “Close” describes the film as a powerful portrayal of a boy on the threshold of adolescence trying to navigate his feelings for his best friend. source
- Lukas Dhont’s “Close” is a tender coming-of-age film that explores the emotional intimacy between young men and how they are conditioned to see it. source
5 Ezrah Mudag | Concerned Citizen, directed by Idan Haguel, 1 hr 22 mins, Israel
The sardonic satire in this Israeli film is so nuanced that its yuppie and guppie targets may not realize they’ve been skewered until they’re already revolving on the spit. Finally, someone critiques liberal gay male narcissism in a believable way that also provides social context, without seeming resentful or sanctimonious.
One clear moment: young, gay Jewish architect Ben attends the wake of a teen Christian immigrant man from Eritrea who was killed by the police after Ben reported him for abusing a tree he had planted to beautify the neighborhood. He’s cautiously welcomed, but the family never finds out that Ben was involved.
- “Ben and Raz are painstakingly pursuing their desire to have a child, and the migrant neighbourhood where this gay couple has set up their new flat is on the up. But a conflict over a newly planted tree in the city brings deep-seated prejudices to light.” (Mubi)
- “Ben thinks of himself as a liberal and enlightened gay man, living in the perfect apartment with his boyfriend Raz. All that’s missing to complete the picture is a baby, which the couple are trying to make a reality. Meanwhile Ben decides to improve his up-and-coming neighbourhood in gritty south Tel-Aviv by planting a new tree on his street. But his good deed soon triggers a sequence of events that leads to the brutal police arrest of an Eritrean immigrant. The guilt trip that ensues will fundamentally challenge Ben’s vision of himself and his society, in the process threatening to destroy his relationship and aspirations of fatherhood. A satirical parable on the insidious ways in which privilege can unleash the prejudice within. Winner Best Script at Jerusalem Film Festival.” (“Jewish International Film Festival Concerned Citizen (Ezrach Mudag) -”)
- FilmCarnage.com reviewed the film, stating: “Unfortunately, there’s one glaring issue with this film which is almost impossible to ignore. Creating a story about privilege and lack of empathy that focuses solely on one of the privileged characters does not deliver the hard-hitting point that it thinks it does.” (source)
- Another review of the film can be found on Cineuropa.org, which states: “Haguel creates gentle irony in how Erez’s little predicament is dwarfed by a bigger public issue, but the examination of the fragility of the middle-class home-life has a warmth that is appealing.” (source)
- The Jerusalem Post published a review of the film, with the reviewer stating: “Ezrah Mudag is able to compassionately explore multiple facets of Erez’s character and to question what it means to be a good neighbor, even when personal interests are at stake.” (source)
6 Too Rough, Directed by Sean Lionadh, 16 mins, UK
Director Sean Lionadh, along with cinematographer Andrew O’Connor, packs plenty of observation, emotional and otherwise, into this short film’s detailed mise-en-scène — a Lisbon Lions poster on the wall; a beer glass full of piss used as an ashtray, scattered ashes sinking in the amber; a wall-mounted TV displaying a no-signal screen; the bright greet t-shirt worn by a traumatized, developmentally challenged teen boy; the blank look in a trapped son’s eyes when his dad’s on top of him; a virgin Mary in a display globe; the way the camera frames a young man’s bare, tattooed torso, focusing on the hickies on his neck, splitting his face in half, just below his eyes; a single string of fairy lights hung on a wall illuminating two passed-out-drunk adults and a coffee table crowded with empty liquor bottles; a lover somersaults backwards off the edge of a bed as a parent stomps up the stairs to enter the room; as his legs cross the frame, the camera remains focused on the expressions of the anxious brothers.
In a film where every image carries meaning, the most impactful and resourceful use of blocking happens when the older brother covers his younger brother’s ears to protect him from hearing their parents’ fighting. In response, the older brother’s lover does the same. The handheld camera pans back and forth between the three men as the soundtrack fades to silence. This blocking technique not only visually conveys the older brother’s protective nature, but also highlights the recurring theme of shielding loved ones from seeing and experiencing pain and degradation. The camera movement adds to the scene’s emotional impact by emphasizing the repetition — this isn’t the first time this has happened —and significance of this action.
As the embarrassing family drama continues to unfold around them and the couple comically plots how to get Charlie out without Nick’s parents seeing him, a few lines of dialogue between the young male lovers make the reason for the analytical editing explicit:
“I’m not leavin’, Nick.”
“Why won’t you go? I don’t want you to see any more.”
“I want more,” Charlie softly declaims.
One clear moment: After this whispered conversation, the greatest and most intimate gay kiss of the year supervenes, bringing into existence a new dimension in these characters’ relationship.
7 Fogo-Fátuo | Will o’ the Wisp, directed by João Pedro Rodrigues, 1 hr 7 mins, Portugal
8 Warsha, directed by Dania Bdeir, 15 mins, Lebanon
Dania Bdeir’s award-winning short is both a glorious feat of gender-fluid and athletic gay self-expression and a materialist glimpse into male, working-class life in urban Beirut. The suppression at work at the intersection of both spheres adds poignancy and politics.
9 Peter Von Kant, directed by François Ozon, 1 hr 25 mins, France
I’ve never seen Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, so I can’t comment on the relationship between it and François Ozon’s inspired-by film. I just know that I found Peter Von Kant hilarious and stylish, if not a whole lot more than that. Denis Ménochet as Peter perfectly embodies the melodramatic self-absorption of his character. In exquisitely droll exaggeration and condescension, Isabelle Adjani utters the film’s funniest line: “Everybody sleeps with Amir, Peter!” Khalil Ben Gharbia as Amir lolls, works out, and flexes around Peter’s apartment deliciously.
But the clearest, gayest, and most Fassbineresque moment belongs to Stefan Crepon as Karl, who foils everyone’s expectations, especially Peter’s and including ours, with a well-placed and adroitly timed hocker. This is John Waters’ favorite film of 2022.
10 Arrête avec tes mensonges | Lie with Me, directed by Olivier Peyon, France
Unlike a handful of my other favorites on this list, there’s not much mystery in this perhaps overly symmetrical but exemplary weepie entertainment, other than one of the oldest. How do two people find each other and fall in love? How does it come to seem like a kingdom of two, as the writer Stéphane describes what he and his diffident, perpetually closeted, adolescent lover Thomas created together in secret? The world, it seems, is littered with the ruins of such kingdoms, empty and sad but somehow still beautiful and enduring.
At the end of a narrative built with sometimes formally jarring flashbacks and flashforwards, Stéphane’s penultimate speech about the utility of secrets and lies in building such kingdoms, recited spontaneously to a room full of stuffy rich people, is as authentically vulnerary as such a speech could possibly be and preposterously well-written, somehow deftly avoiding self-aggrandizement and sentiment. Imagine what Hollywood gay movies would feel like if they were as free with forgiveness, self-criticism, and yes, wisdom as this movie is and as this character is. Not until Americans themselves are, I guess, or until their cultural artifacts put equal value on those things above revenge and cancellation.
11 Dos entre muchos | Two Amongst Many, directed by Julián Hernández, Mexico
I’m not fond of dead people appearing onscreen as a way to artificially conjure feelings of loss and absence — it’s a bit too facile, verdad? and not at all suggestive, poetically or otherwise, of the way I’ve experienced death, my own not excluded. Nevertheless, the taste, pacing, and authoritative mise-en-scène of Mexican auteur Julián Hernández are such that the dead-from-COVID beauty who’s seen posing at the end of his latest short only furthers the impression that this pandemic isolation drama functions as lament, meditation, and even idyll, all at once. As usual, it’s expertly subtitled in English by Chucho E. Quintero.
12 Cobalt Blue, directed by Sachin Kundalkar, 1 hr 52 mins, India
Sachin Kundalkar’s wry, sapid, and literary relationship study of a brother and sister who fall in love with the same rather gorgeous bisexual dandy proves that stylistically there’s something weird and wonderful — and in this movie’s case, over the top — going on in [gay] Indian cinema right now. I hope we get to see more of it. Thanks to Chucho, for the tip.
13 Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel, directed by Bo Burnham, 55 mins, USA
As bracing, funny, moving, and original as this performance is — at the very least, Carmichael is a master at adapting a vernacular for very personal ends — if his ultimate goal is to achieve the grace I think he’s aiming for then he would need to go as hard on himself as he does on his family, grace being a philosophical and spiritual idea with a deep, Black history. Instead he vacillates between recrimination and self-pitying confession. Even after acknowledging the fallout of these revelations on his relationships, especially since they’re mitigated by the “millions and millions” he’s making, in his own words, the stakes weigh most heavily on other people,
He’s aware of this crucial tension, as the occasional pushback from the audience testifies to, but since it’s unclear or untrustworthy whether or not those responses were scripted, I’m left with an unedifying ambivalence about the overall success of his qualified intimacy.
This isn’t standup — he’s literally sitting down — this is storytelling. So the selective honesty resonates. Yet I got the feeling he’s not telling us, or himself, everything. Still, when was the last time I had anything to think about after a comedy special, other than social media and pundit reaction?
14 Tomorrow Then, directed by David Moragas, 14 mins, Spain
Director David Moragas perfectly calibrates the ebb and flow of conversation as well as the eventual rise of conflict between two lovers, one of whom has just gotten back from a holiday in Amsterdam, where he partied and got laid. His casual confession leads the one who stayed at home to eventually erupt in aggression. All three times I’ve watched it, this explosion of resentment has shocked and surprised me, since I had been feeling their rapport and union just as strongly. However, I wish Moragas had had the confidence not to include the little plaintive piano riff that punctuates the time and space between scenes. I may be wrong, but I don’t think this film’s visuals need any help showing us how to feel.
One clear moment: A veiled rapprochement in a shower between two gay male lovers.
15 Le lycéen | Winter Boy, directed by Christophe Honoré, 2 hrs 2 mins, France
Despite this film’s lower placement here, the main character of Christophe Honoré’s Le lycéen is probably my favorite of any of the films on this list. 17-year-old Lucas talks like a country philosopher and a poet, mostly in extra-diegetic monologues addressed to his dead father, but caroms into Paris’s urban vagaries like a questing, horny gay teen. Not that he’s fully aware of his itinerary, but his agenda is his own, not the filmmakers’ and certainly not that of any third party bringing to bear any political or social pressure. I question the film’s eventual swerve from focusing on Lucas to focusing on his equally grieving mom, played by Juliette Binoche (perhaps she’s why?), but the film still ends with us looking into Lucas’s eyes as he tries to tell us something, singing a song about seashells and blowing the camera a kiss. Learning the limits of my understanding of this character made Le lycéen a richer experience than its loose pacing and structure would suggest. After another viewing, I might end up ranking this film higher. I’m already looking forward to experiencing some of those elliptical transitions, flash-forwards, and temporal rollbacks again, something that Honoré’s typically French disdain for classical coverage facilitates with grace.
Read some coverage of the film over on Mubi.
16 Il signore delle formiche | The Lord of the Ants, directed by Gianni Amelio, 2 hrs 14 mins, Italy
17 Young Royals S02, showrunners: Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung, and Camilla Holter, Netflix
While not getting nearly as much attention as Heartstopper, this Swedish drama set in a prep school depicts the rocky relationship between a gay working-class immigrant teen and a bratty, sheltered heir to the throne. Young Royals explores similar romantic and cross-class territory as Netflix’s Elite, which I still love, with less stylistic excess and soapy melodrama. Less sex, too, alas, although there’s one scene that veritably sets fire to a dorm room.
18 Three Months, directed by Jared Frieder, 1 hr 44 mins, USA
This comedic drama about a newly HIV-positive teen should have gotten a lot more press than Bros or Fire Island. But then, no one was paying writers to cover it and there were no giant egos involved.
Buy Three Months from Amazon Prime. #CommissionEarned
19 El Houb | The Love, directed by Shariff Nasr, 1 hr 42 mins, Netherlands
20 Novena, Directed by Fernando Lopez, 16 mins, USA
21 Starfuckers, directed by Antonio Marziale, 14 mins, USA
22 I Was Max, directed by Lukas Kacinauskas, 21 mins, Lithuania
AI synopsis: Max meets up with another guy named Tadas through the internet and the two go on a date. Tadas takes the initiative to do something after seeing how uneasy and hesitant Max is. During their ride through the city at night, he tries to get to know Max, but Max is reluctant to talk about himself. Max is conflicted by his emotions and Tadas’ demands. In the end, he can’t hold it in any longer and confesses his true identity.
23 Bashtaalak sa’at | Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day? Directed by Mohammad Shawky Hassan, 1 hr 6 mins, Egypt
24 Sublime, directed by Mariano Biasin, 1 hr 40 mins, Argentina
Yes, this is yet another movie about a teenage boy who falls in love with his straight best friend. Argentina seems to produce this type of gay film at regular intervals, as seen in Mi Amigo Mejor and Esteros, among others. What distinguishes this one is the raw and brusquely authentic teenage-Argentine dialogue, the salt and spray of an Atlantic coastal town, and a commitment to revealing the everyday beauty of these boys’ faces and feelings, hands and hair curls, expressed through a spontaneously observant camera style. It’s also just sweet as hell.
25 Le variabili dipendenti | Dependent Variables, directed by Lorenzo Tardella, 16 mins, Italy
One clear moment: When a boy lays his head on the theater balustrade and invites his friend to kiss him, “with tongue, if you dare,” the camera tilts 90 degrees in response, so we can experience from a specific POV the flirt and the smile in all their intimate puckishness.
26 Heartstopper S01, showrunner, Alice Oseman, Netflix
These teen characters are really kind of ordinary and thinly drawn, unlike, say, everyone in Sex Education — I guess I’ll be waiting forever for a gay Freaks and Geeks — but their cross-caste relationship is irresistible.
27 Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, 1 hr 58 mins, USA
Taika Waititi’s second stint at the helm of a Thor movie has taken a lot of flak from intellectuals, pseudo and otherwise, but after watching and laughing along with it twice, I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about it. But I’ll argue with them anyway. One faction seems to think that the film’s trajectory is disrespectful to the masculinity and godhood (or, putting a fine point on it, the masculine godhood) of The Mighty Thor TM.
First off, so what?
Secondly, to greater or lesser extent, every movie portrays Thor as a superficial playboy and a bit of an asshole. The comics did it, too. I’m sorry to distract you from your mastubatory fantasies about Chris Hemsworth, whose character is not the big-daddy dom you thought he was, but none of this is new. Reforming at least some aspects of Thor has been part of his character arc since the first movie. In Love and Thunder, he finally grows up and becomes a father figure, for real. Sorry that didn’t make you cum.
Thirdly, almost any objections anyone might have about how different this Thor is from any other representation of Thor can be countered by recalling this film’s central framing device: it’s a story told by one character, Korg, who, I must remind you, gets gay-married at the end of the movie and low-key ogles Thor throughout, at one point appreciating seeing him butt-naked and in chains. Don’t like Love and Thunder’s narrative? Blame it on the gay, talking pile-of-rocks. This is how he sees Thor.
In a sympathetic review on Screen Rant, writer Courtney Mason says that Korg’s narration saves Love and Thunder. But it’s not just narration; it’s POV. Korg isn’t a disinterested stenographer. He’s in the fucking movie, after all. And he’s showing us where to look and how to look at it.
Anyway, this rainbow-sprouting movie is metatextually gay, gay, gay, and Freddie deBoer can suck my dick on this one.
Hijo, directed by Oscar Perez-Chairez, 32 mins, Mexico
When Perez-Chairez’s instincts about duration and character-mystery are good — as in the final shot sin diálogo, among others — the minimal but focused demands of the film’s narrative held my attention. The film falters when, instead of mystery, there’s simply no motivation for what’s being shown, as when two Mexican boys strip to their plaid boxers and do some stuff in a river for no apparent reason. However, in its own way, this is almost as promising as Novena.
One clear moment: a first kiss in a car after a boy reads a love poem to another boy (And my life…/What is my life/If it’s not you?) raindrops on the windshield in the background like a field of stars.
¿Y mi vida? Dime, mi vida…
¿Que es vida si no es tú?
Spoiler Alert, directed by Michael Showalter, 1 hr 50 mins, USA
Not just another gay cancer movie. I, for one, think Jim Parsons deserved an Oscar nom.
Of an Age, directed by Goran Stolevski, 1 hr 40 mins, New Zealand
Impeccably realized but narratively slight. Unlike its appropriate and intimate use in Too Rough, mentioned above, the 4×3 aspect ratio here feels cramped and unmotivated. Still, the small-town, always-in-the-car vibe of this relationship study made it hard to shake. Still, did anyone else cringe at: “My beautiful boy”?
Lonesome, directed by Craig Boreham, 1 hr 39 mins, Australia
I was entertained for a while by the abecedarian actor playing the abecedarian gay cowboy — there was almost always a reflexive smile playing about on his lips no matter what he was doing — and the film manages to avoid a full-on revenge reel for the lead’s sexual transgressions, if just barely. But only a few hours after, I struggled to remember how this film ended. I remember Casey’s pecs clearly though.
One clear moment: Gay-Sydney denizen Tib takes his new lover, cowboy Casey, to get his first HIV test and get on prep. They joke about butt swabs and irritate the snippy receptionist.
Check out a photo gallery here.
Nackte Männer im Wald | Naked Men in the Woods, directed by Paul Ploberger, 30 mins, Austria
Bros, directed by Nicholas Stoller, 1 hr 55 mins, USA
Although this awkward and thin Billy Eichner vehicle left me feeling that the impetus for the romcom genre may in fact derive naturally from heteronormativity and gay filmmakers should stay far away from it, there was still at least one clear moment: The monologue on the beach, in which an aging gay man bemoans the lack of support he received climbing the ladder of success and declares, rather stoically, that “confidence is just knowing that you’re the only person left you can count on. That’s all that is. That’s all,” while Joan Armatrading’s Love and Affection plays on the soundtrack. It’s a bonding moment, too, between generations and body types.
Buy the Bros DVD on Amazon. #CommissionEarned
Eismayer, directed by David Wagner, 1 hr 27 mins, Austria
IMDb SYNOPSIS: Vice Lieutenant Eismayer is the most feared trainer and model macho in the Austrian Military and lives as a gay man in secret. When he falls in love with a young, openly gay soldier, his world gets turned upside down. Based on real events.
Háblame de ti, directed by Jose Eduardo Cortes Moreno, 1 hr 40 mins, Mexico
Except for the fake group of friends, this left me with a sincere smile on my face, even though I can’t remember much that happened.
Kam motýli nelétají | Where Butterflies Don’t Fly, directed by Roman Nemec, Czech Republic
Whatever I expected from this Czech indie, it wasn’t a gay teacher and gay student lost in some flooded caves and figuring out some stuff about friendship and mentorship.
One clear moment: Before climbing a rock chimney by himself to find a way out of the cave system they’ve been stuck in for days, gay student Dani goes back for a moment to kiss his teacher on the lips, knowing that such a transgression won’t be possible once they get to the surface. Appropriately, the film then elides the rescue completely.
Check out the filmmaker’s channel on YouTube, where you’ll find the trailer, some interviews, and a making-of video.
Fox in the Night, directed by Keeran Anwar Blessie, UK
I said this on Letterboxd: Slight narrative but beautifully acted with plenty of detail.
Chrissy Judy, directed by Todd Flaherty, USA
The rapprochement of the reformed characters in Todd Flaherty’s Chrissy Judy doesn’t provide the perfect response to the solipsism and self-pity of the characters in Fire Island, but it’s the best one we have at the moment, so I’ll take it. I’d certainly rather listen to them talk, and I was rooting for them. Part of the origin of my different responses to characters in the same settings—Manhattan, P-Town, and Fire Island, not locations I have much affinity for in either case—has to do with their ages. It’s more natural to me to relate to the experiences of older gay men as opposed to younger ones, whom I can barely understand, and as storytelling, the script is more graceful and coherent as well. Plus, the main character’s self-pity and self-destructiveness in Chrissy Judy is challenged repeatedly, and that is, in fact, the main internal conflict. In contrast, the self-pitying characters in Fire Island are simply indulged. Writer-director-star Todd Flaherty will no doubt write something even more complex and affecting, but Chrissy Judy is certainly a major step forward from his sketchy, unsatisfying short, Let’s Meet Again at the End of the World.
One clear moment: In a sequence of uncomplicated but elegant filmmaking, the camera begins following Judy in a sparkly sequined dress as she makes her way from her rented apartment in P-Town to the drag contest she’ll be a part of. This handheld tracking shot is skillfully cut with shots of the other drag performers in the show and a side view of Judy’s estranged best friend, Chrissy, observing and reacting. He will remain unaware that his old friend is performing until she takes the stage. When she finally does, her back is to the crowd, as it has been throughout the tracking shot. Then Judy turns around and sings Diana Ross’s Remember Me, written by Ashford and Simpson. We’re given the performance in full, as it should be. It’s a modest triumph and a modest cover compared to Ross’s surging soul confection, but a well-earned one in a film full of small gestures and details that will probably make you feel like you know these characters, if not well, then enough to remember them for a while.
Fire Island, directed by Andrew Ahn, 1 hr 45 mins, USA 2022
This is exactly the kind of American gay filmmaking that I loathe. We’re expected to believe that this ripped hottie can’t get laid, regardless of how sad-sack and self-involved he is? Or how Asian? (We’re shown Joel Kim Booster’s bronzed torso so many times that I felt like I was being encouraged to masturbate, and I almost did.) And that Fire Island is some sort of mecca for hot ‘n’ horny homosexual intellectuals? (It may well be, but this movie didn’t show us that.) That adapting Jane Austen should get us all hard in and of itself? I thought the dialogue was strained, dull, and obtuse, to put it charitably. If this is how gay millenials talk to each other, leave me the hell out of it. I dunno, but I also didn’t much like these people, not even Margaret Cho, and I thought the smartass and queeny Black/Latino duo was condescending window dressing.
Swallowed, directed by Carter Smith, 1 hr 36 mins, USA 2022
It’s official — I hate New Queer Horror. Kill all the gays in L.A.? Nothing so extreme, just kill the funding.
Four Lives, BBC One
AI SYNOPSIS: “Four Lives is a three-part British television series that aired on BBC One in January 2022. It is based on the true story of the families of four young gay men who were murdered by serial killer Stephen Port in 2014 and 2015 1. The series follows the families’ fight for justice in the face of failings by the Metropolitan Police. Stephen Merchant portrays Port, with Sheridan Smith playing the mother of one of the victims. The series has been praised for its powerful portrayal of the families’ struggles and the important issues it raises about police negligence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.”
A Dice [sic] with Five Sides
Directed by Riccardo Tamburini
IMDb SYNOPSIS: “The first date between Marcello and Herman turns into a game in which every action is dictated by rolling a mystical dice. A powerful feeling begins to arise between the two, but how long can a relationship entirely based on fate last?”
Besides the bad English of the title — the singular of dice is die — this feature looks very much like amateur video and not cinema, and not just in terms of its look.
SYNOPSIS: Apostles is a 2022 drama film directed by Scud. The film follows a scholar who claims to be an apostle to Socrates and Plato and finds it difficult to come to terms with the end of his life. The film has a runtime of 83 minutes and stars Amanwithahat, Simon Athena, Gavin Philip Che, and Milo Che.
Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas
I watched maybe 20 minutes of this, but switched it off in boredom. I find Black to be an insufferable narcissist and unfortunately emblematic of American gay male creators connected to Hollywood.
Synopsis: “Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas is actually a memoir written by the Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. It explores his relationship with his mother and their journey towards finding mutual understanding and acceptance, particularly after his coming out. The memoir has been adapted into a documentary film directed by Laurent Bouzereau and includes interviews with Black and his mother, as well as archival footage and reenactments. The film delves into topics such as family dynamics, acceptance, and LGBTQ+ issues.”
I watched about 15 minutes of this and couldn’t think of a reason to continue.
SYNOPSIS: “Like Me is a 2022 Israeli drama film directed by Eyal Kantor. The film follows Tom, a high school senior who has to find a new place to live within two weeks, and portrays his journey to discover his own identity and overcome societal pressures in a coming-of-age story. The film has a runtime of 88 minutes and stars actors such as Yoav Keren, Roni Nadler, and Gal Amitai. It has received some positive reviews for its poignant portrayal of the difficulties faced by young people in finding their place in the world.”
SYNOPSIS: “Hypochondriac is a 2022 horror film directed by Addison Heimann. It follows Will, a young potter whose life spirals into chaos after he loses his job and watches his relationship with his boyfriend deteriorate. Will’s increasing paranoia and anxiety lead him to believe he has a serious illness, and his pursuit of a diagnosis becomes more and more dangerous. The film has received several positive reviews for its visually stunning portrayal of mental illness and its examination of societal pressures and expectations.”
I’ll probably hate it.
Semantic Error: The Movie
The theatrical version of the Korean Boys Love (BL) series. Directed by Kim Soo-jung.
I watched maybe a half an hour of this 3-hour compilation. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really get it either.
Verão Fantasma | Phantom Summer
IMDb SYNOPSIS: Somewhere in the Brazilian seaside, teenagers Lucas and Martin fall in love while investigating the disappearance of a local kid. But their blossoming romance is threatened by sinister forces lurking beneath that idyllic summery landscape.
There are no English subs yet on my torrent site.
De noche los gatos son pardos | At Night, All Cats Are Black
Despite the title’s language, this film is from Switzerland.
IMDb SYNOPSIS: A crew is shooting a libertine costume film when Valentin, the director, suddenly disappears. While the local police investigate, the film shoot continues but takes an odd turn. Robin, the cameraman and director’s lover, follows a promise.
No English subs yet on my torrent site.