The month of June represents for many LGBTQ+ individuals a time of self-affirmation, dignity, an increase of visibility, sexual diversity and gender variance. Until June of 2015, gay couples could not legally get married in all 50 states. To celebrate the life-changing victory of the legalization of gay marriage everywhere in the States, Pride Month activities take place all over the country. There are, however, many people, just like me, who wish they could participate in the festivities, but can’t, either because their parents don’t let them, or they life in a country that doesn’t celebrate Pride Month. Therefore, one of the things I do is watch movies. I’ve made a short list of movies to watch this month:
1. The Normal Heart
The Normal Heart is Larry Kramer’s angry, compelling and urgent play, first staged in 1985, only arriving as a film in 2014. Directed by Ryan Murphy, it features an incredible cast that includes Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina and Joe Mantello. The movie is set in the 1980s New York, focusing on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis at that time, as seen through the eyes of writer Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo), founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis center. His campaign brings him into contact with Felix Turner (Matt Bomer), a closeted New York Times reporter, who becomes the love of Ned’s life.
“The Normal Heart was a howling call to action, designed to push people out of their ignorance, complacency, and seats to demand justice, and funding, for all.” –Los Angeles Times
Rent premiered Off-Broadway in 1996, however, the film, which premiered in 2005, uses many of the same actors who starred originally, including Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal and Taye Diggs. It tells the story of a group of bohemians of all kinds of sexualities and gender expressions, struggling in modern day East Village, New York. Not only does Rent celebrate diversity, it also boldly tells stories of people living with HIV and AIDS at a time when it still felt like a death sentence. You can watch here a documentary on the life of Jonathan Larson and the making of this groundbreaking musical.
“The movie is literally a series of showstoppers, unified by the impulse to turn life, at its scruffiest, into theater — into a rhapsody of the every day.”-Entertainment Weekly
Moonlight, adapted from the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, is the winner of three Academy Awards, including best picture. It is a coming-of-age movie, about a gay black young man called Chiron, who grows up in Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, affected by the rise of cocaine and the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The director does a great job portraying the everyday lives of black men, which the media fails to do.
“Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Moonlight is its open-endedness, its resistance to easy summary or categorization.”-The New York Times
These, of course, are just three of them. Here you have a list of many more you can watch!