Film

When it comes to looking back at LGBTQ movies (and characters) in 2023, it’s reassuring to know that representation still matters, and we are, in fact, everywhere onscreen. Here is a list of some of the best.

As if the dangerous and unpredictable times in which we are living aren’t already terrifying enough, acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” (A24), an adaptation of the late Martin Amis’s novel of the same name, cranks up the fear. It may be set 80 years ago in Poland, but it will feel viscerally resonant and familiar to many people living in the US today.

You’re going to want to remember the name Cord Jefferson. “American Fiction” (MGM/Orion), Jefferson’s feature film debut as writer and director, sizzles with hot button issues, all presented in often hilarious, and sometimes touching, moments. Based on Percival Everett’s 2001 novel “Erasure,” the subject is incredibly timely, made even more relevant due to the performances Jefferson elicits from his outstanding cast.

Justin Long is the cisgender male version of a Scream Queen. In movies such as “Jeepers Creepers,” “Drag Me To Hell,” “Tusk,” and “Barbarian,” he’s established himself as one of modern horror’s go-to actors. His latest twisted turn, “It’s A Wonderful Knife” (RJLE/Shudder), is a horror/slasher reimagining of perennial winter holiday favorite “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

There’s little doubt that actress/screenwriter/filmmaker Emerald Fennell established herself as an unstoppable force after her 2020 full-length feature debut masterpiece “Promising Young Woman.” Especially after she took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 93rd Academy Awards. So, what did Fennell do for an encore?

The ongoing biopic craze shows no signs of slowing down or stopping. In 2023, movies about Bayard Rustin, Diana Nyad, and Leonard Bernstein, are among the offerings (and of special interest to LGBTQ viewers). 

It’s possible to dismiss the problems with “Down Low" (Sony) by saying it’s gay actor-turned-director Rightor Doyle’s feature-length directorial debut and he’s just inexperienced. Or maybe that it’s hot gay actor Lukas Gage’s (“The White Lotus,” season one) first screenplay co-write on what is essentially a vanity project. But because of the dedication of the lead and supporting actors, the problems aren’t insurmountable.

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