As the weather gets colder and the nights longer, the allure of staying in and spending time with your Netflix list grows stronger. So here are some new Netflix LGBT movies for November and December to consider adding to yours.
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (2014)
The documentary “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” gives an intensely personal look into the life of Matthew Shepard, who was famously murdered in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998, and whose name is now synonymous with gay rights and anti-gay violence. His death, and the murder trial of his attackers that followed, drew attention to the need for state and federal hate crime legislation. Neither the state of Wyoming nor the federal government considered crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation as prosecutable as hate crimes at the time. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, was signed into law by President Obama on Oct. 28, 2009, creating hate crime protections for LGBT Americans, as well as those with disabilities.
The film is directed by Shepard’s close friend, Michele Josue. It is clear throughout that she is both trying to shine a light on who the real Matthew Shepard was, while at the same time hoping to better understand him herself, and to try to make some sense of what happened. It is a very affecting film that successfully helps to humanize an icon who it can be all too easy to forget was very much a real person, with real friends and a real family, many of whom share their recollections of Shepard with Josue.
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine Trailer
Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Mala Mala (2014)
Another documentary on the list, “Mala Mala” explores the transgender and drag communities of Puerto Rico. Featured in the film, which was shot over three years, are a diverse number of LGBT activists, drag queens and transgender individuals. In spite of poverty and discrimination, this is a world that is alive and vibrant, making for stunning visuals and fascinating stories.
“Mala Mala” was very well received by critics and audiences alike and it should now receive a much wider audience, which it deserves.
Mala Mala Trailer
Mala Mala Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Do I Sound Gay? (2014)
What does it mean to “sound gay?” Journalist David Thorpe analyzes this question and his own anxiety surrounding his voice in the documentary “Do I Sound Gay?” Thorpe speaks to people like David Sedaris, Dan Savage, Margaret Cho, George Takei and University of Toronto linguist Ron Smyth about the concept of the so-called “gay voice,” the accuracy or lack thereof of the stereotype and how conforming to it or actively trying not to can cause anxiety and lead to feelings of internalized homophobia.
The movie is mostly light and fun, but is also a sometimes serious meditation on a topic that, while perhaps on the surface trivial, can have real life consequences.
Do I Sound Gay Trailer
Do I Sound Gay Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Dior and I (2014)
Queer designer Raf Simmons and a team of artisans have just eight weeks to create a collection for 2012 Paris Fashion Week for the Christian Dior fashion house in the documentary “Dior and I.” Simmons was hired from Jil Sander and was tasked with carrying on Dior’s iconic work. The film offers a behind the scenes look and works to create a sense of being an insider during a very hectic but exhilarating process.
Simmons left Christian Dior in October of this year, citing “personal reasons.”
Dior and I Trailer
Dior and I Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
French film “Xenia” is an acclaimed coming of age drama. Dany, a flamboyant 15 year old gay boy trying to find himself, travels from Crete to Athens to tell his older brother that their mother has drunk and drugged herself to death. The two hatch a plan to try to find the father that walked out on them years previous, in an attempt to obtain both Greek citizenship, allowing them to stay in the country, as well as get their hands on some of his rumored wealth.
While many critics found “Xenia” to be overlong, it has been praised for the actors’ performances and the unique way it gets at delving into the current political, economic and social upheaval taking place in Greece.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
[Available starting Dec. 15]
“Drown” is set among Sydney, Australia’s surf lifeguard community, and deals with themes of self-image, masculinity and homophobic bullying. Based on a play, itself based on true events, “Drown” centers around a man struggling with his sexuality as he attempts to deal with his attraction to the openly gay man who dethrones him as the reigning club swimming champion.
While critics were not overwhelmed by the strength of the storytelling, the actors’ performances have been praised.
Metacritic: No score yet.
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%