All too often, when we watch Christmas movies we are forced to see heterosexual couples getting all the spot light. If we are lucky, we sometimes get a bit part in a movie or tv show. Most of the time it’s just the subtext that shows up. I thought I would compile a list of LGBTQ movies that are Christmas related for your festive enjoyment.
In the last couple years we have seen an uptick in the amount of holiday movies that are LGBTQ centered. Some good and some that seemed more like pandering, but it is much better than it used to be. This was the conundrum that I was faced with, when looking for movies. Thankfully there have always been directors and movie companies that catered to LGBTQ people or even wanted to make sure they were more inclusive. Watching these movies really shows you some of the changes that have happened over the years.
5. Female Trouble. Before you start, I realize this isn’t a movie solely about Christmas. That being said, it is a movie that is driven based on the decisions of Divine’s character, Dawn Davenport, at Christmas. Her threat rings the beginning of the movie “I better get my cha cha heels, or else.” This movie is perfect for showing the obsessions people have. Dawn, as we can see throughout the movie, has impulse control issues and a need for immediate gratification. By not getting the one thing she obsessed over, she showed her parents and the world what happens. She skyrockets to fame driven machinations of a perverse couple that only wants to show the darkness of people through photography and fame. Think of this as the full realization of what could have happened to Ralphie had he not gotten his Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Make the Yuletide Gay
4. Make the Yuletide Gay. It is no secret that a great many gay movies pander to the stereotypes of who we are. Take the Eating Out and Not Another Gay Movie franchises to prove this point. Make the Yuletide Gay, fits right into the same formula. It is a cute movie though. Gunn and his boyfriend Nathan are leaving college for the holidays. Gunn is returning to his Wisconsin family, while Nathan finds out his family has won a cruise for the holidays and will not be there for him. Nathan decides it is better to surprise his boyfriend at his parents house. That is where the madness starts. Gunn’s father is a old hippie that teaches school and his mother is a stay at home mom. Surprises of the holiday season unfold as they meet Nathan for the first time. While it may follow the old formula for Gay movies, it is still rather enjoyable. The characters aren’t overly developed but they have one liners that can lighten the mood. It is a good movie that uses the spirit of Christmas to realize that we each have our own gifts to share with others. Give it a watch
3. Tangerine. Indie films can be truly amazing. Minimal budgets force some directors to go as Lo-Fi as possible. This movie was shot entirely with an iPhone but doesn’t slip on characters interactions and story driven darkness. Alexandra lets it slip to Sin-Dee that her boyfriend has fallen for a real fish and has been cheating on her. Sin-dee makes it her mission to take Alexandra on an adventure to find and confront her boyfriend on Christmas Eve. The lead actors are new to acting but dont drop the ball on given us a realistic take on what its like to be a sex worker. If you like dark comedy, give this one a watch.
3. Carol. Carol stars two female actresses that I have great affection for, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. This midcentury movie follows Carol, played by Blanchett, as she is shopping for a Christmas present for her daughter. She meets Therese, played by Mara, and is felt conflicted by her emotions. This movie does not follow your rom-com formula for conveying this romance, it shows stark realities of what a woman would go through at this time period and all she can lose by being true to herself and her desires. This movie is beautifully shot and written, allowing both characters to become the people they are portraying and create a feeling of connection to them. If you are tired of the normal light-hearted rom-coms that come out this time of year, try Carol out for something different and emotional.
1. Holiday Heart. I first watched this movie twenty years ago, there I go giving away my age again. It is a little known gem where Ving Rhames plays Holiday Heart, a drag queen. I have told so many people about this movie who cannot believe that this big tough guy of a man has played such a feminine character. This movie brings me to tears almost every time I watch it. It also start Alfre Woodard who plays a drug addict with a young daughter. Holiday Heart eventually warms up to them and takes them under his protection. This movie is definitely hard at times and shows struggles that many LGBTQ people of color have to go through to find their acceptance, as well as shows the struggles of drug addiction and its effects on the people you love. This movie was directed by Robert Townsend and produced by Robert DeNiro. It will be the one movie on this list that is an absolute recommendation from me to you get. You must see it.
Too Cool For Christmas
Too Cool For Christmas. Before I start, I feel that I must tell you that this movie also has an alternate version. The other version is a heterosexual movies called a Very Cool Christmas. Why the difference, you ask? At the time it was made, Hollywood believed that movies with strong gay characters would get the support and money needed to film and produce. This movie follows a 16 year old Lindsay who doesn’t want to spend the holiday with her family and instead would rather go skiing with her friends. Along the way Lindsay meets an older bearded gentleman, Santa, who sparks a change in her. I mean this movie shows Santa getting a makeover to look like George Hamilton and hitches his reindeer to her convertible to deliver presents on this holiday night. Heart strings will be tugged.
With Christmas so close, now, it is hard for LGBTQ people to find things that resonate with them. I hope this list of holiday themed movies can be your star on the top of your holiday tree, a bright spot in an otherwise harder time to stand strong. Just remember, we get to pick our own families to be with and we can surround ourselves with our own cannon of holiday movies that speak to our struggles and points of view. I wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and hope you share your happiness with those closest to you.