Please Rotate Your Device 90
For the best experience, turn your mobile device portrait mode.
Skip to main content

Five Powerful, Proud Portraits of Coming Into Who You're Meant to Be

Brokeback Mountain

June 09, 2023

While the LGBTQIA+ community is wide and diverse, the experience of embracing one’s self connects many of its members.

For Pride Month, we are showcasing five movies that explore this experience. From falling in love for the first time to standing up to a society that refuses to let you be who you are, these films portray several moving queer stories.

Of an Age

In Goran Stolevski’s Of an Age, Kol (Elias Anton), a 17-year-old Serbian living in a blue-collar neighborhood of North Melbourne, discovers his heart and himself when he meets his dance partner’s brother, Adam (Thom Green). In writing the screenplay, Stoleski returned to his own youth growing up in Australia in the ‘90s, a period during which who he was and who he loved was just starting to make sense. “I had this very vivid flashback of what it felt like on the inside to be that age in that time and place, and what it felt like for me and what I felt love was,” Stoleski told Calling the film “a modern queer classic,” The Guardian writes, “Stolevski imbues his characters with such lived-in specificity that we can’t help but be swept away.” For Vanity Fair, Kol’s awakening “is sweet and erotic and wise about the fits-and-starts process of coming out—chiefly to oneself.”

Watch Of an Age now!

Of An Age


Perhaps one of the most cunning elements of writer-director Miranda July’s Kajillionaire is the way a comedy of low-level grifters turns itself into a moving tale of love and identity. The Dyne family—composed of Robert (Richard Jenkins), his wife Theresa (Debra Winger), and their adult daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood)—live a hardscrabble life prowling the streets of Los Angeles in search of their next swindle. While Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) presents herself to the family as a fellow fraudster, her connection to Old Dolio becomes something unexpectedly real. For Wood, those powerful feelings defy characterization. “There was a love story in the film, but the film is not a queer love story. They just happen to be queer," Wood tells Pride. For Autostraddle, “Old Dolio has the desire to love and be loved, she just hasn’t seen an avenue to wholeness that involves selflessness on the part of others, not herself.” Watch Kajillionaire now!



With her debut feature Pariah, writer-director Dee Rees wanted to explore the fullness of identity. Alike (Adepero Oduye), a 17-year-old African American writer living in Brooklyn is struggling to make sense of her complex reality. By falling in love for the first time, writing poetry, fighting with her family, and bonding with friends, Alike begins to imagine her future. “For Alike, it’s not so much coming out as it is coming in to,” Rees told The Film Stage. “She knows that she loves women. That’s not the question. But her question is how to be in the world.” For IndieWire, the film’s beauty lies in the palpable way Rees’ story “relates the pangs of first love, the desirous ache of adolescent sexuality and the excitement of not just discovering yourself but finding those kindred spirits with whom you can share your life.”

Watch Pariah on iTunes or Amazon now!


Boy Erased

Adapted from Garrard Conley’s memoir, Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased details one young man’s journey to define himself against a community that refuses him the space to be. After 19-year-old Jared (Lucas Hedges) is outed to his parents (Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman), he is given the impossible choice of either attending a conversion therapy program or walking away from his family, community, and faith. For Observer, “How Jared finally finds himself and declares his independence from religious tyranny is paramount to the film’s purpose.” For Conley, the film and the book ultimately chronicle that process. “I’ll never know what it would be like to actually come out on my own terms because it was whispered to everyone,” Conley told Oprah Daily. “Writing the book…was my second outing”—and one in which, according to IndieWire, “the queer kid isn’t the character who’s forced to make peace with who they are.”

Watch Boy Erased on iTunes or Amazon now!


Brokeback Mountain

Ang Lee’s masterpiece Brokeback Mountain is a haunting tale of love realized but never fully claimed. After Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) fall in love while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain, they spend the rest of their lives hoping to regain the freedom and safety they felt that summer. “I think most of the emotions or love within Ennis is purely potential,” Heath Ledger told MovieWeb. “That's the tragedy of this story.” The beauty of Lee’s film is that society’s repression never diminishes the depth of their emotion. “The glory of Brokeback Mountain is that in tracing their fates, treating their passion as something unprecedented—a force so powerful it can scarcely be named—the movie makes love seem as ineffable as it really is,” writes Entertainment Weekly.

Watch Brokeback Mountain on iTunes or Amazon now!

Brokeback Mountain