A good movie is a good movie no matter what, but when you cover queer culture for a living, you tend to see symbols and excellence in places that others might not notice.
Gay films have a tortured history; often, the (non-porn) films we embraced as a subculture spoke to us as LGBT folks, but maybe less so as cinema connoisseurs. Looking back, there were a lot of stultifying gay romantic comedies in past decades that don’t hold up now. And many films that would have been instantly labeled “gay-interest” and assigned to the gay ghetto of video store back walls and arthouse are now considered mainstream.
Many of the films on my Top Ten list broadcast their queer cred from the outset, some others approach it more obliquely. And some don’t address gay themes even at the margins, or don’t do so especially well. So here is a kind of shadow list — the 15 best films of 2017 that spoke to us as gay audiences (sometimes they are listed in a different order than my best-of list, because the gay content is specifically handled better). Seek them out.
Call Me By Your Name, pictured. Battle of the Sexes. The Shape of Water. BPM. Tom of Finland. Beach Rats. I Am Not Your Negro. The Greatest Showman. Novitiate. Wonderstruck. Lady Bird. The Disaster Artist. A Very Sordid Wedding. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Beauty and the Beast.
— Arnold Wayne Jones