Top 10 Most Romantic LGBTQ+ Moments in Movies



Top 10 Most Romantic LGBTQ+ Moments in Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Molly Watts Johnson
The most romantic LGBTQ+ moments in movies make us believe in love. Our countdown includes "Carol," "Love, Simon," "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," and more!

Top 10 Most Romantic LGBTQ+ Moments in Movies

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Romantic LGBTQ+ Moments in Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at scenes from the big screen with LGBTQ+ characters sharing in sweet, sometimes steamy, but entirely heartwarming moments together. In a perfect world, more of the actors in these roles would actually match the identities portrayed on screen, but for now, LGBTQ+ actors getting opportunities to play LGBTQ+ roles is something we continue to hope for.

#10: Perfume
“Carol” (2015)

While Cate Blanchett is an icon among the lesbian community for a variety of reasons, both on and off screen, it’s virtually impossible to separate her icon status from this 1950s period drama. Blanchett plays Carol Aird, a wealthy Manhattanite who develops a romantic relationship with Therese, portrayed by Rooney Mara. Early into the film, the pair have drinks at Therese’s apartment and listen to music. In a nod to a real-life queer powerhouse, Billie Holiday plays on the record player throughout. The scene shifts between the genuine fun they’re having as friends and the growing attraction they have for one another, culminating in a sultry almost-kiss shared over perfume.

#9: An Exchange in the Mirror
“Mosquita y Mari” (2012)

Set in Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Mosquita y Mari is the story of two 15-year-old girls who become friends. Mari is the rebellious opposite of studious Yolanda - nicknamed Mosquita by Mari because she resembles a “little fly”. The film is more of a coming-of-age tale than it is a queer love story, but the two teeter on the edge of developing into something more. Yolanda has clearer feelings for Mari, and in this scene, she compliments her in the mirror. It’s a small moment and not as blatantly romantic as some of the others on this list, but it is an endearing one. Yolanda’s love for Mari is obvious and all mixed up with the innocence and confusion of being a teen and discovering the feelings you go through as you mature.

#8: Bina & Alike Have a Sleepover
“Pariah” (2011)

Before she went on to direct “Bessie” and “Mudbound”, Dee Rees gifted us with the story of Alike, a 17-year-old queer woman struggling with her identity. Early in the film, Alike’s mother forces her to befriend Bina, a peer from church. After previously sharing a kiss, Bina invites Alike over for a “sleepover” following a party. This bedroom moment is tender and really takes us into Alike’s world as she embraces her true self. The lighting is low, the two are listening to music, and both actors perfectly capture the awkward, exciting first-night jitters at the beginning of a relationship. Alike’s vulnerability is all the more heartbreaking when, the next morning, Bina shrugs the whole night off as “playing around.”

#7: Hot Springs
“The Half of It” (2020)

Alice Wu wrote and directed 2004’s Saving Face about a young Chinese-American lesbian. It is one of only a handful of examples of representation for queer Asian folks. Her follow-up, The Half of It, follows Ellie Chiu, an introverted, queer teenager living in the fictional town of Squahamish. Paul, a jock, asks her to write love letters to a fellow classmate, Aster, with whom he’s in love. Allie also has feelings for Aster. Towards the end of the film, Aster takes Ellie to her favorite spot, an isolated hot spring in the forest. Full of queer panic and longing, plus the intimacy of two young women talking about themselves, this scene had us all crossing our fingers that they would end up together.

#6: Ferris Wheel
“Love, Simon” (2018)

Simon Spier is a gay high school student who hasn’t come out yet. His school has an online chat room and another male student, using the name Blue, confesses his sexuality on it. Simon joins under a pseudonym and the two begin a friendship. At the end of the movie, Simon asks Blue to meet him at the Ferris wheel at the school’s carnival. This moment is a satisfying, full-circle ending. Simon and Blue, now revealed to be Bram, share a sweet kiss in the sky as the crowd below watches and cheers. The lights of the carnival twinkle behind them and the music swells, making this an immediate addition to all the other great, predominantly straight, rom-com moments in cinema history.

#5: Mountain Confessions
“Brokeback Mountain” (2005)

When Brokeback Mountain came out in 2005, the world could not get over Heath Ledger’s tormented performance as Ennis, a closeted cowboy who develops a relationship with fellow cowboy Jack, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. In this legendary scene between the two, Jack delivers the famous, heartbreaking line [“I wish I knew how to quit you”.] It takes us on an emotional journey as the two fight about how little time they get to spend together, culminating with Ennis breaking down and Jack holding him as he sobs. Their deep love for one another and absolute anguish make this climax simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.

#4: Looking at Each Other
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019)

Just the idea of two women developing a relationship on an isolated island off the coast of France in the 1700s is dreamy enough to make this list. Heloïse and Marianne spend most of this film in a state of bubbling tension. The film follows their relationship as Marianne attempts to paint a portrait of Héloïse - hence the title - commissioned by Héloïse’s mother. The chemistry between the two women is palpable and intense. This looking scene marks one of the first times we see Marianne’s vulnerability around Héloïse, and her loss of control. They have spent so much time looking at one another that they are able to guess their next move before it happens. We wish we had someone who noticed us this way!

#3: Dinner with Orlando Onetto Partier
“A Fantastic Woman” (2017)

With so few good representations of trans characters and actors in film, A Fantastic Woman was a breath of fresh air. This Chilean drama follows Marina, played by Daniela Vega, after the death of her partner, Orlando. She grapples with losing him while also confronting the hatred that his family projects onto her in the wake of his death. This is a short scene of the two celebrating Marina’s birthday with a romantic dinner. Orlando surprises her by promising her tickets for a vacation. In one moment, Marina stands up and wraps Orlando in an embrace as he stays seated. It is an intimate glimpse into their relationship and captures their mutual affection for and tenderness with one another.

#2: On a Candlelit Bus
“Rafiki” (2018)

This film was banned in Kenya for its “clear intent to promote lesbianism” and for the director’s refusal to change its ending from a positive one to a negative one. The scene we’ve picked is full of candles, flowers, pink lighting, and *gasp* lesbianism. In a grand display of love, Kena decorates an entire abandoned bus for Ziki, gives her cupcakes, and the two end up getting physically intimate for the first time. Although Kena clearly had an idea of how the night would go, she and Ziki take their time. It is a slow, considerate scene, lit beautifully and captured well. As far as first times go, we’d say this one takes the (cup)cake.

#1: One Chef’s Special
“Moonlight” (2016)

Chiron is a closeted gay man from Miami, shown at three different stages of his life. In this scene, Chiron drives down to visit Kevin, a boyhood friend with whom he once shared an intimate moment on the beach as teenagers. Chiron has since grown hardened in order to protect himself and keep people at a distance. In this scene, we see Chiron getting taken care of and his younger self starts to shine through his tough exterior. Watching the two men catch up, seeing how their love for one another hasn’t changed and watching them express that love, is beautiful. Kevin whips up a meal for Chiron that not only looks delicious, but was also clearly made with a lot of care.