Queer film and TV became all the more important in a year when pretty much everything else was canceled. What we streamed soothed us through missed holidays and helped us feel a little less disconnected from other people. To celebrate one of the only bright spots in a grim year, we’re rounding up our favorite essays of the year. Today we’re talking all things film.
2020 was a surprisingly good year for queer film. From A Secret Love to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, we saw exciting queer films come to life, some that were unexpected, some that we’ve anticipated for a very long time. And, with more screen time on our hands due to the pandemic, we discovered films we’d been meaning to see and revisited old favorites. In 2020, the following were some of Bella Media Channel’s favorite essays about the beloved silver screen.
The Half of It explores Ellie Wu’s life as a high school student slash closeted queer daughter of immigrants. In director Alice Wu’s deft hands, the film becomes an examination of universal queer experiences through one very specific story.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells the remarkable story of one painter and her subject, who becomes her lover. More than anything, the film values queer women’s lives and stories, telling a complicated, but powerful love story.
Queer horror took center stage in two excellent essays this year. The first, focused on independent film What Keeps You Alive, explores what makes queer villains chilling. The second, built around films Jennifer’s Body, Cat People, Alien, and more, reflects on the history of queer characters in horror and how film can do better.
Comedy Friendsgiving brings together a group of friends for one wild holiday filled with delicious seasonal food and magic mushrooms. The queer classifieds that punctuate the film get a hilarious treatment in this essay about the challenge of finding companionship as a queer woman.
Ammonite follows real-life paleontologist Mary Anning as she has a fictional lesbian romance with Charlotte Murchison. The carefully handled sex scenes and emphasis on queer storytelling make the film truly special.
Holiday romcom Happiest Season follows Abby and Harper as they go to Harper’s family’s house for Christmas. The only issue is that Harper isn’t exactly out. In a film with some highs and lows, queer chosen family is the real love story.
When the pandemic started, we launched our Queer Stream column, designed to highlight queer TV and film that you can stream now. Our most popular film highlights include Happy Birthday, Marsha, Booksmart, Birds of Prey, and our roundup of 75 queer movies you can stream.
Thanks for joining us for the 2020 film recap! We appreciate you all and hope you have a great end of the year!