To celebrate Pride Month, we at The Edge have come together to pick some of our favourite LGBT+ stories – read on to see our picks…
Brokeback Mountain (2005), dir. Ang Lee
I will never shut up about how much I adore Brokeback Mountain. To me, this film is absolute perfection: in terms of content, influence, and its place as an unapologetic love story between two men. Beginning in ’60s Wyoming, the plot follows Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist’s secret affair over a 20-year period, their struggles in coming to terms with who they are and what they feel for one another, and their need to live in hiding for fear of prosecution. Led by two stellar performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, and directed by the legendary Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi), Brokeback Mountain is heartbreaking, tear-inducing, and painfully real.
Brokeback faced major backlash on its release, being banned from several theatres, and has been the subject of countless homophobic jokes, more often than not reduced to ‘that gay cowboy movie’. It’s important that we disregard such diminishing of queer stories, especially during Pride Month. Lee’s film is a landmark piece of LGBT+ cinema, helping to break queer narratives into the mainstream, heralding a breakthrough for LGBT+ representation on the silver screen.
Pride (2014), dir. Matthew Warchus
Comedy drama Pride, written by Stephen Beresford, depicts the unlikely alliance made between a group of LGBT+ activists and a town of miners whose lives were dramatically affected by the British miners’ strike of 1984. Based on a true story, the film is both tough and uplifting, as the portrayal of not only homophobia but also life in poverty reproduces the historical truth. Matthew Warchus’ film draws you in, and won’t let go until you truly understand the meaning behind the title.
When I first watched Pride, I never expected to be drawn into the story to such an extent that I felt overwhelmed by emotion. I was 15, and the wit and charm of the script not only carried me along with the action but made me reflect on all the incredible work of the activists and miners and the community forged between them. The bond that develops throughout Pride proves that, through unity and understanding, we can overcome our differences. We can be strong and inclusive if we put our hearts and souls into it.
Dating Amber (2020), dir. David Freyne
Growing up can be hard, especially when you’re not straight. Set in Ireland in 1995, Dating Amber follows the story of two LGBT+ teenagers getting to grips with their sexuality and their place in the world. Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) is gay, but even he doesn’t know it. The only person who can see it is Amber (Lola Petticrew), a girl who has always been an outsider at school for potentially being a lesbian. The relationship between Amber and Eddie is a complex one. Their story and experiences are relatable and bring some well-needed diversity to the coming-of-age genre. Beautifully shot, with moments to laugh at as well as cry, Dating Amber perfectly portrays the characters’ struggles, commenting on themes of discrimination that are still present today – 25 years after the setting of the film. If you want something lighthearted yet emotionally charged, definitely give Dating Amber a chance. It will not disappoint.