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There are a lot of important gay movies that don’t have the happiest endings for gay characters, especially when those movies try to tackle important topics like homophobia or the HIV/AIDS crisis. Still, it can feel a little depressing when you keep seeing the same Bury Your Gays trope played out over and over again. It’s also important to see happy reflections of gay life in media. If you’re just in the movie for a fun film with a happily ever after ending, check out these 11 movies!
1) Beautiful Thing
The 1996 British film Beautiful Thing follows Jamie, a teenage boy who is infatuated with his classmate, Ste. While Jamie is bullied in school, Ste is dealing with an abuse at home. Jamie’s mother, Sandra, offers Ste an escape from his alcoholic father, which results in Jamie and Ste sharing a bed and a kiss. While Sandra is initially shocked by her son’s relationship, she comes to accept it. The final scene shows Ste and Jamie celebrating their relationship openly, with Sandra at their side.
The 2007 movie Shelter follows Zach, an aspiring artist who puts his college dreams on hold to help out his family. He falls for his best friend’s brother, Shaun, but struggles with his feelings. While their families are initially uncomfortable, they accept the relationship by the end of the film. If you’re looking for an uplifting story about romantic love and families with a final scene that’s uplifting, check out Shelter.
3) The Way He Looks
The romantic coming-of-age drama The Way He Looks has a happy falling in love with your best friend and riding off into the sunset ending that so many straight high school romance movies have. The film follows Leonardo, a blind high school student, as he falls for new student Gabriel. It’s also available to stream on Netflix.
4) The Birdcage
The 1996 comedy The Birdcage (the American remake of La Cage aux Folles) follows Armand, the owner of a drag club in South Beach called The Birdcage and is partner Albert who’s drag persona Starina is the club’s star attraction. When Armand’s son Val announces he’s marrying a woman with ultraconservative parents, Armand and Albert try to pull off a ridiculous farce. The all-star cast (Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, and Dianne Wiest), over the top situations, and light tone make this the perfect movie for an evening where you just don’t feel like watching anything heavy.
The 1987 British drama Maurice is based on the E.M. Forster novel of the same name. The film is set in early 20th century England and follows Maurice Hall from his childhood to early adulthood. Maurice struggles with his feelings, but eventually meets his life partner Alec Scudder. Though society condemns their relationship, they’re willing to give up anything to be together.
6) Boys (Jongens)
This Dutch coming-of-age film explores 15-year-old Sieger’s first love as he falls for Marc. While there are a few melancholy moments, the end makes it clear that Sieger is on a journey of self-acceptance, Marc will be a part of that journey. The film is streaming on Netflix.
7) Latter Days
Latter Days is full of ridiculous rom-com tropes, but this movie about a gay party boy and his closeted Mormon missionary neighbor falling in love is fun to watch. While there’s definitely some heartbreak, the movie ultimately has an uplifting ending.
8) Touch of Pink
Sometimes you just need some good romantic comedy fluff. Touch of Pink never takes itself too seriously (see: Kyle MacLachlan playing the ghost of Cary Grant), which makes it a fun, endearing film. Alim movies to London to get away from his conservative family. When he comes out to his mother and faces problems with his boyfriend Giles the ghost of Cary Grant gives him advice that often seems to do more harm than good.
Jeffrey is a 1995 romantic comedy that’s set in Manhattan during the height of the AIDS epidemic—but hear me out. Rather than going doom-and-gloom, the movie follows title character Jeffrey, who is afraid of falling in love with someone who might die. He swears off sex because of the AIDS crisis, and then meets and falls for Steve, an HIV positive man. He realizes he has to confront his fears to live and love fully. There are also some awesome cameos by Patrick Stewart, Sigourney Weaver, and Nathan Lane.
10) Big Eden
This 2000 romantic comedy follows Henry Hart, a New York City artist who returns to his rural hometown in Montana to take care of his grandfather. The townsfolk welcome Henry back and are accepting of his sexuality. Henry has to confront his unresolved feelings for his high school friend Dean Stewart, but he’s oblivious to the feelings of Pike Dexter, the Native American owner of the town’s general store. While films about rural gay life often focus on hardships, Big Eden is unique. The entire film is devoid of homophobia.
11) Love, Simon
The groundbreaking 2018 film (based off of Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) follows the story of typical, suburban high school senior Simon Spier as he tries to navigate life after being blackmailed and threatened with outing by one of his classmates while also trying to figure out the identity of his anonymous, romantic, online pen pal named Blue.
Although there are serious themes and instances of casual homophobia throughout the movie, like most teen rom-coms, the ending is really sweet and gives the audience a feeling of hope for the titular character and his life as a newly-out, gay man.