Lez face it: when you’re a ladygay like myself, cruising the internet for something to watch, you realize very quickly that there are a whole lot fewer gay films in the world to watch than straight films.
Netflix, for example, has thousands of films in its library (the official word from Netflix tech support is that the exact number of films they have is always changing but is “quite large”). When I scroll through the “Gay and Lesbian” category on Netflix, though, I feel like I often run out of movies about lesbian and bisexual leading ladies. Hey, I’m not one to complain (actual lie told in print), if there are only 50 or so lesbian and bi films available at any time on Netflix, that means I have time to watch the entire Netflix girl-on-girl canon, right? Shouldn’t I be trying to learn more about the sacred B-movie traditions of my people? Except, well, first of all, these films are rarely ever actually made by lesbians or bisexual women, and, secondly they’re mostly kind of not so good. How are you supposed to know which ones to actually watch when they all look so equally awful? To make matters worse, their descriptions don’t really tell you anything about the movies.
For these reasons, I decided to do the world a favor and watch every single movie I could find on Netflix that centers on a lesbian or bi woman and write accurate one-sentence reviews. It turns out Netflix shows you different films if you’re logged in on different accounts, so I used five different accounts and wasted many, many hours of my life to come up with “An Alternate Guide to Netflix’s Lesbian Section.” You’re welcome.
1. Show Me Love - I’m uncomfortable with how tender I felt during this movie. I probably (definitely) e-mailed an ex-girlfriend after watching this.
2. Reaching for the Moon - Biopic about poet Elizabeth Bishop. It was okay. I didn’t really like any of the characters. Bishop’s writing is great, though, so… it was okay…
3. Loving Annabelle - Proof that some people took “Madchen in Uniform” the really wrong way.
4. My Normal - Oh… no. No, thank you.
5. The Kids Are All Right - This movie was named “Best Film of the Year” by some critics! Isn’t that just bananas?! I came up with an alternate title, “When Lesbian Movies Fail the Bechdel Test.”
6. The Fish Child - The masochist in me enjoyed this film immensely.
7. Kiss Me - You could perhaps infer from the title what you’re in for here. Lots of kissing! I give it three stars!
8. Vic & Flo Saw a Bear – You’d think this movie would at least involve a cute bear, but instead it is extremely bleak for no reason and everyone is just awful.
9. Heavenly Creatures - I watched this when I was 14. The girls in this movie are 14. Everyone has different experiences in life. I see that, now.
10. The Skinny - Questionable choices were made on many fronts in this film, but let’s narrow it down to just one: the lesbian character has sex in a bathroom at a bar. I thought that was pretty unrealistic, but, hey, I’m not one to jump to conclusions about things that I would never do in a million years so I had a quick check-in with The Internet. She assured me that lady sex in bathrooms is not only possible, but perhaps even probable. In conclusion, that’s gross! This movie is not really about that, though. Well, moving on…
11. Concussion - Willfully inconclusive. Really liked it.
12. Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same - I can’t even with this. If you’re the kind of person that wants to see lesbian “Coneheads,” this one’s for you
13. Bloomington - FOR REAL, THOUGH.
14. The Hours - Well, it’s interesting that Netflix put this movie in the gay section, as it really only features three mostly platonic kisses in it, but if you say it’s gay, I guess it’s gay. Three stars.
15. Lianna - Has anyone else ever noticed that about 85 percent of teachers in movies are having sex with their students? No wonder I skipped school so much. That said, I still gave this movie four stars for the constant presence of shoulder pads. They were ON POINT.
16. Reform School Girl - Pretty good! I don’t know how! Even the poster rules!
17. Better Than Chocolate - I can’t wrap my head around that metaphor, let alone this movie.
18. Drool - Vaguely amused, vaguely offended.
19. Aimee & Jaguar - Before you watch this, you need to ask yourself how prepared you are to have a movie punch a hole right through your heart. It’s very beautiful, but watching it might be a little hard, and, it’s just… I worry about you, so… you be careful out there, kiddo.
20. KA-BOOM – A campy and wonderful film by Gregg Araki that features the standard “obsessive ex-girlfriend” type of relationship popping in and out.
21. The World Unseen - Independent type meets unhappily married woman, breaks up terrible marriage, everything seems to work out okay. The end.
22. I Can’t Think Straight – Okay! So, you see a title like that, and, naturally, you assume that the next 90 minutes of your life are going to be something like the 6th circle of Hell. This movie was not as bad as the 6th circle of Hell, though. It was actually pretty… good? With a question mark? Because it’s hard to say that with conviction, for some reason?
23. Room in Rome - Whispery accents saying sexy stuff for two hours.
24. The Gymnast - My, that married woman does indeed seem under-appreciated. Perhaps she should leave her terrible husband for that brassy young lesbian who believes in her. Her husband sure is a jerk for making her be so gay all the time.
25. Woman’s Lake - Women. Yoga. Lesbians. Temptation. Problems. Yoga. Water metaphors. Yoga. Yep, sounds like a lesbian movie.
26. Jack & Diane - I’m not sure I got this one. The relationship between Jack & Diane comes across as pretty abusive, and the werewolf subplot makes zero sense. The actors mumble a lot, though, so maybe I missed something.
27. A Marine Story - The title has already reviewed the movie.
28. The Sex Monster - Intensely unpleasant glimpse into how one particularly unfunny straight man views lesbians.
29. Stud Life - Respectable.
30. And Then Came Lola - This movie features the absolute worst tattoos I’ve ever seen on film, including a cameo by a tribal neck tat. It also include several kanji tats, a guy whose sleeves make him look like a sofa, and the yin & yang sun on the girlfriend character’s shoulder.
31. Cloudburst - Tender.
32. The Final Girl - Ehhh…
33. Miao-Miao - Of course I would find this excruciating.
34. Inescapable - The sex scenes bummed me out pretty hard.
35. The Four-Faced Liar - OH MY GOD, lesbians have sex in the bathroom in THIS movie, too! I’m starting to realize why bathroom lines at bars are so long, and I am none too happy about it. This movie is sort of cute, though. I’m torn. I would give it three stars, but I have to subtract one for gratuitous use of montages, though.
36. Another Gay Movie - Features a lesbian named “Muffler” who yells about sex and grabs everyone’s junk.
37. An Affirmative Act - Stay tuned, you’ll flip for the self-important monologues and half-assed plot reveals.
38. Happy Birthday - Really bleak independent film. Shot in black-and-white to a melancholy piano soundtrack just to hit home that you are, in fact, watching a sad movie.
39. Strange Frame - If you were ever wondering what a dystopian version of that 90’s CGI cartoon Reboot would be like with lesbians, this is for you, and you alone.
40. Rent - A groundbreaking musical that deserves to be as famous as it is.
41. Live Nude Girls - Ladies, we’re really going to have to start having a talk about these titles.
42. The Wise Kids - Kind of an unfunny version of Saved, only with better acting and more homos.
43. Vampire Diary - Abnormally bad, even by “vampire lesbian” standards.
44. Girltrash - My love of lesbians combined with my love of musicals is hitting critical mass right now.
45. Blue is the Warmest Color - Great acting. To save myself the trouble of turning everyone that loved this film against me, I’m just going to pretend I liked it. The sex scenes defy what I know of female anatomy, but, what am I, some kind of expert? Besides that, the character of Emma is an asshole, and her art looks like Forever 21 ads. But… um… I liked it. Sure.
46. Elena Undone - Featuring just as much flannel as you would expect in a movie about a lesbian writer named Peyton.
47. Molly’s Girl - I need to lie down.
48. Cracks - Inclusion in the Gay section is questionable, as the “gay” moment is less “lesbian” and more along the veins of “horrific rape scene.” If anyone stumbles across a time machine anytime soon, do me a favor and unmake this movie.
49. You & the Night - If you blink, you’ll miss the “girl on girl” parts, but I can’t recommend this enough. It’s excellent.
50. Fruit Fly - Hm. I guess this is what I’d call “medium good.”
51. The Guest House – Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, but for lesbians.
52. A Perfect Ending – There are actually a lot of flaws in the ending. And the whole film, now that I think of it. On the other hand, the traumatic flashback scenes shot in black-and-white made me laugh until I cried, which is very similar to having a genuine emotional reaction.
53. Chasing Amy - Another 90-minute long gaze unto the abyss.
54. The Itty Bitty Titty Commitee - I kept getting up for snacks and fell asleep at least once. Mercifully, actual activist groups are nothing like the one portrayed here.
55. Margarita - Imagine the basic plot of Black Girl being reimagined as a rom-com by two Canadian women. Too soon, ladies. Too soon.
56. I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing - Don’t look now, but I’m pretty sure this just ran for 80 minutes without a single thing actually happening.
57. Desert Hearts - This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, but I do admire the way it just goes for it.
58. Breaking the Girls - I have a crush on Madeline Zima’s character, who attempts to murder everyone she has sex with. You’d think that’d be a real dealbreaker, but it’s just not, right now. Oh, P.S., this movie was awful.
Related Reading: This is the Summer of the Lesbian Web Series.
Sara Century is the Joan Crawford of the avant-garde underground. You can follow her multi-media art experimentation at saracentury.wordpress.com.