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Films that capitalise on queer trama with cis–het actors in Oscar-bait performances: farewell! Of course, they’re still mincing around here and there and a few of them were great, classics actually, but it feels like we’re finally arriving at a place where LGBTQ+ actors can star as LGBTQ+ characters in films that aren’t just about death and despair. Round of applause for the industry! This year marked one of the most diverse years for the LGBTQ+ experience on-screen with queer narratives at the forefront of films centering on high school revenge plots, multiversal destruction and privileged Gen-Z’s under attack from a serial killer. Read ahead for the 10 best LGBTQ+ films of 2022. (Side note: this list only includes films that were released in the UK this year.)


Cast: Jack Lowden, Peter Capaldi, Simon Russell Beale, Jeremy Irvine, Kate Phillips, Gemma Jones, Ben Daniels, Calam Lynch, Anton Lesser, Tom Blyth, Matthew Tennyson, Geraldine James, Richard Goulding, Lia Williams, Suzanne Bertish

Starring Jack Lowden (and later Peter Capaldi) as Siegfried Sassoon, Benediction tells the story of the famed British poet whose anti-war stance notoriously culminated in his admission to a military psychiatric hospital. The melancholic biographical drama, directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Terence Davies, doesn’t shy away from Sassoon’s queerness as it hones in on the combat veteran’s gay love affairs with Ivor Novello (Jeremy Irvine), Stephen Tennant (Calam Lynch) and Glen Byam Shaw (Tom Blyth), as well as his conversion to Catholicism. Thanks to Lowden’s tender and complex performance, we come to understand his inner conflict with his sexuality and art at a time that rejected the very existence of LGBTQ+ identities, while Capaldi shines as a tormented older version of Sassoon who’s turned to religion for meaning. Davies has always injected himself into his works, but it’s Sassoon’s need for redemption that makes Benediction one of his “most autobiographical” films to date. As he told GAY TIMES earlier this year, “I’ve been searching for that redemption, and I haven’t found it either.”

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, Lee Pace, Pete Davidson, Conner O’Malley

“You don’t ask what your middle name is, okay?! For a really long time! … He’s a Libra Moon, that says a lot!” Rachel Sennott’s character Alice tells her clique in Bodies Bodies Bodies in order to distract from the fact that her much-older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace) of just-a-few weeks is not, in fact, a serial killer. It’s one of many deliriously funny quotes from Halina Reijn’s satirical slasher, which puts privileged Gen-Z teens at the forefront of the whodunnit genre – including Amandla Stenberg and Maria Bakalova’s queer couple Sophie and Bee – while examining  how the newer generation address societal topics and the authenticity of friendships in the digital age. One of the final scenes in which Alice reminds Jordan that she’s “upper middle class” – which Jordan takes as a malicious insult – and Alice revealing to the surviving characters that she has body dysphoria to zero sympathy, is one of 2022’s most priceless and endlessly quotable scenes and will, if there’s any justice in this world, be lip-synced to in clubs by drag artists for years to come. 


Cast: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz, Guy Branum, Amanda Bearse, Jim Rash, Miss Lawrence, Dot-Marie Jones, Jai Rodriguez, Harvey Fierstein, Bowen Yang, Debra Messing, Symone, Ryan Faucett

The first gay romantic comedy from a major studio, Bros marked a historic moment for queer cinema with its principal LGBTQ+ cast – even the heterosexual roles were played by actors of the LGBTQ+ experience. This alone is enough reason for Bros to be included on this list, but it has a plethora of factors going for it besides its historic feats. Following Billy Eichner’s character Bobby Lieber as a podcaster and radio show host as he falls for a ‘masc4masc’ gay (played by Luke Macfarlane), Bros is one of the most outrageously funny comedies of the year and is, thankfully, not straightwashed to appeal to cis-het audiences. From Bobby snapping a pic of his butt for a Grindr hook-up (who subsequently blocks him) to the two lead characters bringing the foot fetish industry to the big screen, Bros is g-g-g-gay. While it didn’t make a splash at the box office, Bros reinvigorated a genre that hasn’t felt fresh in years and proved that rom-com’s are in dire need of more queer narratives. As Eichner told us, it was about damn time that we saw “accurate, multi-dimensional and genuinely funny and genuinely smart depictions of ourselves that we don’t get.”

Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud

Following her moving discussion about her origins on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, the late Cherry Valentine led her own BBC documentary this year in which she reconnected with her Gypsy roots. In the powerful 56-minute film, the entertainer attempts to unite her intersecting identities as a queer person and drag queen in the Gypsy community, while exploring the lives of fellow Roma Travellers and discovering how they persevered in an environment that’s historically known for rejecting LGBTQ+ identities. “When I discovered the LGBTQ+ community, I felt like the only person who was a Traveller in that community,” Cherry told us at the time. “Going through this whole documentary process just opened my eyes. It gives me so much hope. It really does.” Gypsy Queen and Proud received widespread critical acclaim and cemented Cherry’s legacy as a queer icon who could not only turn a fierce look and slay a performance, but leave an unparalleled impact on marginalised communities that haven’t been represented in a positive light on television.


Cast: Eden Dambrine, Gustav de Waele, Émilie Dequenne, Léa Drucker, Kevin Janssens, Marc Weiss, Igor van Dessel, Léon Bataille

(Spoilers ahead.) Based on director Lukas Dhont’s own experiences at school, Close tells the story of the passionate friendship between two 13-year-old boys who begin to question their identities and relationship with masculinity when their peers “accuse” them of being romantically involved. The coming-of-age drama offers a powerful analysis on the harmful assumptions about masculinity and heteronormative ideals that are still deeply rooted in society; male friendships mustn’t be the same as female friendships, physically, nor should they express themselves emotionally, etc. Watching Léo (Eden Dambrine) distance himself from Rémi (Gustav de Waele) as a result of the homophobia of others is an excruciating watch, and the Belgian drama’s switch from buddy film to one about teen suicide is equally as devastating. While many criticised the film for its trauma porn elements, particularly after Dhont’s directorial debut Girl (2018) was slated by queer critics for its depiction of gender dysphoria and self-harm, Close is a compelling, yet painful, examination on masculinity, sexuality and grief.

Do Revenge

Cast: Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke, Austin Abrams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rish Shah, Talia Ryder, Alisha Boe, Ava Capri, Jonathan Daviss, Paris Berelc, Maia Reficco, Sophie Turner, Rachel Matthews, Eliza Bennett, Francesca Reale 

An homage to teen classics like Cruel Intentions, Jawbreaker and Mean Girls, Netflix’s black comedy Do Revenge immediately captured the attention of viewers – particularly Gay Twitter – thanks to the bonkers twists, 90s-inspired aesthetic and sapphic chemistry between leads Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke. Buffy the Vampire Slayer stans also united with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s long-awaited screen comeback as the scene-stealing Headmaster, who was – fun fact – based on her iconic Cruel Intentions villain Kathryn Merteuil. SMG trimming her bonsai tree to relieve stress was high camp at its finest! The Netflix film also contributed some much-needed queer rep to mainstream teen flicks with Hawke’s fan-favourite con-woman Eleanor, who teams up with queen bee Drea (Mendes) to enact vengeance against their tormentors. Drea wants to punish her ex-boyfriend for leaking an intimate video while Eleanor is determined to destroy the girl who spread a false rumour that she forcibly kissed her. Do Revenge is the best queer teen film since 2019’s Booksmart, and will deservedly be recognised as a classic of the genre in years to come.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., Tallie Medel

Hot dog fingers! Googly-eyed rocks! BAGEL! The multiverse has never been as wild than in Everything Everywhere All At Once, the Daniels’ absurdist sci-fi epic about a Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) who must connect with parallel universe versions of herself to prevent an evil entity from causing multiversal destruction. While it wasn’t necessarily marketed as queer, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a queer film. Yes, it’s a deep dive into existentialism, nihilism and Asian-American identity with fanny pack brawls, mind-blowing martial arts choreo and a bizarre yet brilliant homage to Pixar’s Ratatouille, but above all, the film is a love story between a mother and her queer daughter. The dynamic between Evelyn (Yeoh) and Joy (Stephanie Wsu) is one that all queer kids can relate to, particularly those from immigrant families: Evelyn’s sense of shame around her daughter’s sexuality means she can tolerate it but she doesn’t want to burden others with it – including her elderly father. Their strained relationship ultimately sets the film into motion, bringing a plethora of other queer elements with it including the villain (if you haven’t seen it, the less said the better) and the instantly iconic romance between Evelyn and her IRS inspector Deidre (Jamie Lee Curtis). If this doesn’t take Best Picture at the Oscars, expect multiversal queer rage.

Fire Island

Cast: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Margaret Cho, Matt Rogers, Tomás Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips, Michael Graceffa, Aidan Wharton

Hailed by critics and viewers as an instant queer classic, Fire Island follows two best friends (Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) as they embark on their annual weeklong vacation to the titular gay hotspot. Written by Booster and directed by Andrew Ahn, the Pride and Prejudice-inspired rom-com puts queer Asian-American narratives at the forefront whilst celebrating and glorifying LGBTQ+ culture like no other film before it. Although Fire Island explores issues such as body image, wealth, race and how the queer community can, at times, tear each other apart, it’s saturated with moments that capture the unequivocal joy that comes with being queer – instead of the constant strife that’s historically been depicted in mainstream media. No death! No despair! No desolation! Here, queers have sex, attend underwear parties and scold one another for their lack of knowledge on Marisa Tomei’s Oscar-winning role in My Cousin Vinny. Sequel slash spin-off, when?

In From The Side

Cast: Alexander Lincoln, Alexander King, William Hearle, Christopher Sherwood, Peter McPherson, Pearse Egan, Ivan Comisso, Carl Loughlin, Alex Hammond, Chris Garner, Mary Lincoln, 

We received the gay rugby drama we need and deserve thanks to a Kickstarter campaign and the vision of director/writer and former rugby coach Matt Carter. In From The Side stars Emmerdale’s Alexander Lincoln as Mark, an inexperienced new recruit on the B team at a gay rugby club who has a drunken encounter with Warren (Alexander King), the star player on the A team. With both men in long-term relationships and Warren’s partner on the same team, he and Mark inadvertently put the future of the rugby club at risk as they embark on a steamy, passionate affair. Carter’s directorial boasts well-written characters and strong performances from the two leads, and refreshingly, doesn’t conform to tropes normally associated with queerness and sports. Forbidden romance aside, In From The Side simply depicts the lives of people who play rugby together and just-so happen to be gay. No homophobia. No dramatic coming-out sequence. In 2022, that’s still – sadly – quite rare.

The Inspection

Cast: Jeremy Pope, Raúl Castillo, Bokeem Woodbine, Gabrielle Union, McCaul Lombardi, Aaron Dominguez, Nicholas Logan, Eman Esfandi, Andrew Kai, Aubrey Joseph

In one of the year’s most compelling and raw performances, Jeremy Pope stars in The Inspection as a Black gay man who becomes homeless after his homophobic mother (played to perfection by Gabrielle Union) disowns him. Based on the real-life experiences of writer and director Elegance Bratton, who makes his feature-length directorial debut here, Ellis is forced to enlist in the Marines and conceal his sexuality at a time when the military still operated under Clinton’s archaic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. While the narrative feels familiar – a troubled person enters the military, is cruelly targeted by a senior soldier, considers leaving but perseveres and feels more complete as a result – The Inspection’s emphasis on the Black LGBTQ+ experience and years of institutionalised homophobia in the military distincts itself from others in the same genre. Pope deservedly received his first-ever Golden Globe nomination for the performance.