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Hopelessly devoted: movies that relish the joy of first love

Beautiful Thing

Spring has arrived, and with it, so has animal mating season.

In other words, love is in the air.

Related: Gay teens are free to be themselves and fall in love in adorable new Netflix series ‘Heartstopper’

No wonder we’re so enjoying Heartstopper, the tender new gay love story on Netflix of late. Our recent affection for first love got us thinking: what about other movies about queer, first love?

That brings us to today’s roundup. These movies all touch on growing up, coming out, and falling for someone special of the same sex. Hey, who doesn’t need a dose of beautiful queer love now and again, regardless of the season…

Love, Simon

Greg Berlanti’s groundbreaking romantic comedy about a high school closet case falling in love with an online boyfriend…who happens to be much closer than he expected..still makes us beam. A final scene on a Ferris Wheel is still the kind of Hollywood ending we wish we could have with someone special.

Streams on Amazon, Hulu, VUDU, YouTube & AppleTV.


Don’t let the title fool you. This delightful South American romance doesn’t concern itself with incest (well, not really). Two very distant relatives meet up, hit it off, and have their sexual passions awakened in a sex comedy all about finding love in unexpected places.

Streams on Dekkoo.


This Kenyan drama doesn’t get enough credit as a tender first romance…or as one of the very few queer films to come out of Africa. Young Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) meets the beautiful Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) and sparks fly…until the couple realizes their fathers are political rivals. Rafiki also deserves credit for addressing the homophobia LGBTQ people face in the region without getting bogged down by it: the film carries a message of hope for equality in Africa.

Streams on Amazon, Showtime, YouTube, The Roku Channel & VUDU.


Well, you knew it was coming. Director Barry Jenkins’ masterpiece about masculinity, love and sexual exploration won a much-deserved Best Picture Oscar. The film’s story of two childhood friends—Chiron and Kevin—who develop an undying love for each other, has a moving, passionate romance at its center…and a megawatt erotic charge to boot.

Streams on Amazon, The Roku Channel, Showtime, YouTube & VUDU.

Beautiful Thing

This British comedy arrived during a time of famine for queer stories, and had the courage to focus on two teenagers to boot. Classmates Jamie (Glen Berry) and Ste (Scott Neal) discover hidden feelings for one another in a chance encounter, and go about coming out together. Their story is sweet enough, though Beautiful Thing really belongs to actress Tameka Empson, as Jamie’s Mama Cass-obsessed bestie.

Streams on Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.

Get Real

Speaking of British coming out comedies, this film by Simon Shore also helped popularize the “coming out” genre, as much as the queer first-love movie. 16-year-old closet case Steven Carter (Ben Silverstone) has only one outlet for his sexuality: cruising a public toilet. When he runs across his classmate John Dixon (Brad Gorton), the pair share a tender encounter and begin dating. But the forces of homophobia run deep, and their secret relationship puts both lads at extreme risk.

Streams on YouTube & VUDU.

Twilight’s Kiss

Who said first love had to be young? Twilight’s Kiss, from director Ray Yeung, tells the story of two older men who discover first love late in life. Though both have families, their sudden connection makes the pair contemplate spending their last days together with something they never thought possible: love.

Streams on Amazon, iTunes & VUDU.

Call Me By Your Name

The movie that made Timothée Chalamet into a megastar—not to mention a symbol of perpetual twinkdom—still manages to tug at our heartstrings Every. Damn. Time. Chalamet plays Elio, a wise-beyond-his-years teenager who develops a love for his father’s collegiate assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). The movie’s most moving scene comes as an exchange between Elio and his dad (Michael Stuhlbarg), where the father comforts his heartbroken son, and…well, we’re not sure which actor makes us cry harder.

Streams on Tubi, YouTube & VUDU.


This Argentine film follows two childhood friends, Matías and Jerónimo fall happily in love as young boys before circumstances tear them apart. Flash forward decades later, and the pair meet again, by which time Jerónimo has become a flamboyant make-up artist, and Matías has grown into an up-tight academic…with a girlfriend. But unresolved feelings won’t be pushed aside, and both friends must confront the men they’ve become, and the love that has never gone away.

Streams on Amazon, Tubi, The Roku Channel & VUDU.

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love

Much as with Get Real and Beautiful Thing, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love arrived at the height of the “coming out” movie wave. The story follows Randy (Laurel Holloman), lesbian teen being raised by her also-lesbian aunts. When Randy meets the wealthy Evie (Nicole Ari Parker), the two can’t help but feel the attraction. But can their relationship survive high school in the homophobic 90s?

Streams on Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.