Best Coming Out Movies
For the gay community, coming out is as unique an experience as it is personal. The process of identifying one’s sexual orientation, then sharing that information with loved ones, is, generally speaking, one of life’s biggest game-changers. The movies which capture that process, when well-wrought, can inspire, encourage, and lighten the burden – emotional and spiritual – of the journey. Below are five movies conveying the realities of that journey.
A teenage rom-com adapted from a YA novel starring Nick Robinson in the titular role who hasn’t exposed his true orientation to his family or friends as he hides behind an affable, regular 17-year-old heterosexual persona. His life changes when he comes upon a blog shared by his classmates and discovers one of them is gay. After an anonymous exchange, his life changes in unexpected ways. “This film is not representative of every LGBTQ experience, it’s one,” Robinson said during an HFPA press conference in 2018. “And I think it’s a step in the right direction. This was a movie that was a long time coming and there were a lot of forbearers that got us to this point where this was even a conversation.”
But I’m a Cheerleader
Natasha Lyonne stars as cheerleader Megan, who has it all – at least she does from the outside. A good student, she loves cheerleading, and has a handsome all-American boyfriend in the football team. When her parents worry that she might be gay they send her to a therapy camp where they offer conversation therapy meant to ‘fix’ her sexual leanings, but instead, she meets lesbian Graham (Clea DuVall) which only solidifies the feelings she has towards girls. Released in 1999, this satirical rom-com was considered groundbreaking for its time.
Call Me by Your Name
Set in Lombardy, Italy, in 1983, the film follows the journey of 17-year-old, Elio, (Timothée Chalamet) who is on vacation with his family. Slightly bored, he’s delighted when he meets the charismatic 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer), who’s working for Elio’s father. Unexpectedly, they form a bond which becomes something more. Despite the age difference, it is not a typical love story with the usual power dynamic. It is Elio who is in control. “I would say that it’s Oliver who gets seduced by Elio not the other way around,”, said director Luca Guadagnino during a HFPA press conference. “It’s Oliver who falls for Elio and gets conquered by Elio. And it’s Elio who’s holding the reins.”
In & Out
In this1997 classic hit, Kevin Kline stars as Howard Brackett, an Indiana small town teacher whose former student wins an Oscar for portraying a gay solider. During his speech, he thanks his former teacher and announces that he’s gay. But the still closeted Bracket, is engaged to another teacher (Joan Cusack). The town starts to wonder whether he might be gay as they begin to notice the stereotypical traits (he loves musicals, poetry and has a thing for Barbra Streisand). While Bracket denies his homosexuality and becomes the center of a media storm, a gay celebrity gossip reporter (Tom Selleck) comes to town to cover the story, and changes Bracket’s life. The film was touted as ‘the gay movie of its era, partly due to a 12 second kiss between Selleck and Kline.
An autobiographical film, set in 2003, from writer director Mike Mills about a chapter in his life, played by Ewan McGregor when his father, portrayed by Christopher Plummer, came out at age 75, five years before his death, and six months after his mother passed. The title refers to new beginnings for both father and son as they both embark on new romances. “The inspiration for the film came when my dad was alive and out”, explained Mills during an HFPA press conference. “We’d have these very real arguments and discussion about love. We talked about his gay relationships and his relationship with my mom in a way that we’d never talked about before. It was really fun and my new gay dad taught me a lot about my heterosexual relationships.”