Movie night can be a great experience after a long, tiring week at the grind. It’s a great thing to do if you need to relax your brain and check out from the world for a few hours. It’s also a fun option for a laid-back date night, lounge around in your pjs, snack on healthy (or unhealthy) fare, and cuddle up for some passive entertainment.
So recently, I took to the blogosphere in search of new and exciting lesbian geared entertainment. To my dismay, all I could find was list after list of older (albeit, classic) titles, like Bound, Gia, If These Walls Could Talk 2 and But I’m a Cheerleader to name only a few.
In an effort to provide an alternative, here are some recommendations for the best lesbian themed movies of the 2000s:
12) The Four-Faced Liar (2010)
Liar centers on four twenty-somethings (a straight couple, a lesbian and a newly single man) trying to find love and happiness in the West Village of NYC. One of the main story lines is that of Bridget (Marja Lewis Ryan, who also wrote the play and screenplay) and Molly (Emily Peck). Bridget is out and is quickly falling for her straight friend Molly. After a series of events, the friendship crosses the line and the two become much more than “just friends.” It was the winner of the HBO Audience Award for Best First Feature Film at Outfest and the winner of the Roger Walker-Dack award for Emerging Artist for Marja-Lewis Ryan.
11)Puccini for Beginners (2006)
The Sundance selection is the story of Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser), a newly single writer, and out lesbian, who finds herself in two complicated and confusing relationships after her long time girlfriend, Samantha (Julianne Nicholson) leaves her. It was written by Maria Maggenti, who also wrote the 90s classic, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love.
10) Loving Annabelle (2006)/Bloomington (2010)
Annabelle is a drama about Catholic boarding school instructor, Simone (Diane Gaidry), and her torrid affair with a female student, Annabelle (Erin Kelly). It’s a true guilty pleasure, and to this day, remains one of the top rented lesbian titles for Wolfe Video and Amazon.
Bloomington is a coming of age drama about a former child star (Sarah Stouffer) who moves cross country to attend college on the East coast. While there, she develops feelings for Catherine (Allison McAtee), a beautiful psychology professor. It won numerous awards on the film festival circuit, including Best Women’s Feature at the NC Gay & Lesbian Festival and the Director’s Spotlight award at the Vancouver Queer Film Fest.
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9) My Summer of Love (2004)
Love, set in Britain, is based on the novel of the same name by Helen Cross, and it explores the complicated and intense relationship between two women, working class Mona (Natalie Press) and upper middle class Tamsin (Emily Blunt). The film opened to wide spread critical acclaim and was celebrated with the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 2005 BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).
8) I Can’t Think Straight (2008)
I Can't Think Straight story of Jordanian Tala (Lisa Ray), who, while planning her wedding to a man, falls in love with Leyla (Sheetal Sheth). Ray and Sheth have great chemistry, and the two reunited a year later to star in The World Unseen. ICTS was the winner of the Best Feature, Audience Award at the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Best Feature, Audience Award at the Melbourne Queer Film Fest, and Audience Award, Best Feature at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
7) Saving Face (2004)
Saving Face focuses on out lesbian surgeon, Wilhelmina or Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a Chinese-American lesbian, who struggles with cultural expectations, as well as in her complicated relationships with her traditionalist mother, Hwei-lang Gao (Joan Chen) and her dancer girlfriend Vivian (Lynn Chen). The film was nominated for the Breakthrough Director Award at the 2005 Gotham Awards and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film in Limited Release at the 2006 GLAAD Media Awards. It was directed by out director, Alice Wu.
6) Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
Writers Heather Juergensen and Jennifer Westfeldt also star in Stein, a romantic comedy about Jessica (Westfeldt) a single, and seemingly straight, journalist in NYC, who is confused by her attraction for Helen (Juergensen). The film won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film, Limited Release and the Glitter Award for Best Lesbian Feature. The duo was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.
5) Imagine Me & You (2005)
This fan favorite romantic comedy explores the unexpected relationship between Rachel (Lost & Delirious’ Piper Perabo) and Luce (Lena Headey). Their first meeting, on Rachel's wedding day, leads to an instant friendship, and when Rachel discovers that Luce is a lesbian, Rachel starts to question her own sexuality. The film was nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film in Limited Release at the 2007 award ceremony.
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4) Circumstance (2011)
This compelling drama examines the relationship between Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri), a teenager from a wealthy Iranian family, and her best friend Shireen (Sarah Kazemy). The women share a strong emotional, and physical bond, but the connection challenges traditional Iranian family life and culture. It was written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz, who was awarded the Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, as well as the HBO Outstanding First Narrative Feature at Outfest.
3) The Hours (2002)
This drama, based on the 1999 Pulitzer winning novel of the same name by Michael Cunningham, features stellar performances by an A-list cast, including Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman. The Hours is the story of three women from different generations whose lives are touched by Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. The first story is of Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), and the second is of a 1950s housewife, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), who is questioning her sexuality after she develops a crush on her neighbor, Kitty (Toni Collette). Finally, we have the contemporary, committed lesbian couple, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) and Sally Lester (Allison Janney). The film received nine Academy Award nominations (one win for Best Actress for Kidman), won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Wide Release Film, and Streep was honored at Outfest for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
2) Pariah (2011)
Pariah’s the story of Alike, a 17-year-old African-American woman living with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn. Alike must navigate through the struggles of every day high school and home life, while trying to quietly embrace her identity as a lesbian. The film just landed filmmakers Dee Rees and Nekisa Cooper the John Cassavetes Award, awarded to features budgeted at less than $500,000, at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. Pariah is available on DVD after April 24th.
1) The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Meet Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), a long standing, married, lesbian couple with two kids. The two kids, Laser and Joni (played by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska), conceived by artificial insemination, begin a search for their birth father. Once they find him, the family dynamic changes and tensions flare when dad, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), develops a strong connection with Jules. Premiering to rave reviews and critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, All Right went on to win two Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, and Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Annette Bening. The film also received four Academy Award nominations that same year.
In doing research, I found well over 20 titles, released since 2000, which could have made the cut. Honorable mentions should include the German film Vivere, After Sex and D.E.B.S. Even though After Sex features eight couples, only one of which is a lesbian relationship, you can’t beat the dialogue between the friends with benefits, Nikki (Mila Kunis) and Kat (Zoe Saldana). And D.E.B.S., well you just have to see it to believe it. Happy viewing!