5 Queer International Romance Films to Watch on Netflix!

These intricate international films, streaming on Netflix, are thought-provoking narratives that portray insightful cultural perspectives of queer romantic experiences. 

Disobedience – (British)

Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams star in a tender tale of Jewish lesbian romance. As star-crossed lovers, their characters balance repressed romance with an exploration of identity, faith, and sexuality.

Disobedience follows a New York photographer who returns home after news of her estranged father’s death. As she reconciles with her Orthodox Jewish community in London that shunned her years ago for her attraction to her childhood friend, old flames reignite and will pull at all your heartstrings.

Inhabiting a new beat in the LGBTQ romance genre, Disobedience, directed by Sebastián Lelio and released in July 2018, is a must see for its moderate yet intense display of defiant lesbian love.

Anne+: The Film – (Dutch)

When your partner moves across the world, will you stick to the plan or find a new course? That’s the plight of protagonist Anne in Anne+: The Film, adapted from the same titled Dutch web-series turned hit television show.

In this queer self-discovery drama directed by Valerie Bisscheroux, Anne battles all that comes with long distance, polyamory, and love. As Anne prepares to eventually follow her long-term girlfriend Saar to Montreal, her life in Amsterdam unexpectedly calls the plan into question as she journeys through her own search for self.

There’s no need to watch the show to enjoy this fun and uplifting story of understanding one’s identity, breaking bad habits, and learning to live for yourself. The movie is filled with explicit intimate moments with a beautiful glimpse of modern day Amsterdam, so if you’re into unfettered heartfelt chemistry and aesthetically pleasing cinematic shots, this is the film for you.

The Valley of a Thousand Hills – (South African)

The Valley of a Thousand Hills explores the difficult reality of living as a queer person in a culture that is not accepting. While there are themes of homophobia, misogyny, and sexual assault throughout the film, it showcases an authentic truth for many. Through all the tribulations of existing as queer in a heteronormative and patriarchal society, the film executes in covering how to overcome such obstacles.

It’s a riveting tale of a young woman from a conservative village who must confront her image as an upstanding Zulu daughter with what her heart wants. While her dad has a husband in store for her, the relationship she has with her soulmate is beautifully depicted, but with such an unforeseen ending, you’ll be left speechless. Take a dive into South African culture through this captivating picture directed by Bonie Sithebe.

Ride or Die – (Japanese)

Based on Ching Nakamaru’s manga Gunjo, Ride or Die closely depicts the tumultuous story of two women on the run, with one willing to do everything to protect her love. Nanae, an abused housewife, and Rei, her lesbian high-school sweetheart, set out to liberate Nanae from her abusive relationship with her husband. The film puts the ugly side of the queer experience on full display and forces comfortability throughout uncomfortable situations.

Don’t look for the things you want to see in this film; instead, welcome the experiences of painful love that does not move to the beat of your typical heartwarming queer love story. In this intense Japanese film that clearly bolsters the title’s meaning, you may be at odds with how far the ride or die concept goes in loving someone so deeply that one goes against their own nature.

Written by Nami Sakkawa and directed by Ryuichi Hiroki, the film bluntly speaks to the cultural pressures in Japanese queer relationships and represents a stronger movement towards LGBTQ representation in mainstream Japanese media. Watch Ride or Die and take a trip down a complicatedly dark quest for love.

Elisa and Marcela – (Spanish)

Inspired by a true story of the first same-sex marriage in Spain, Elisa and Marcela is a prosaic black and white forbidden love story. The cinematic arthouse-like film will take you on a ride you never want to end. Nothing’s better than the tension that builds between unlawful lesbian love.

Harrowingly yet softly, Elisa and Marcela find a way to face adversity head on with Elisa forced to embrace a male identity to marry her one true love, Marcela. Set in 1901 in Galicia, Spain, Director Isabel Coixet captures an absolutely stunning and intriguing account of what it takes to champion love– you’ll be beaming and tear jerked at the raw depiction of the risk women loving women brings. There are a few odd moments that viewers have mixed reviews about, but it doesn’t take away from the elegant masterpiece of it all and the compelling performances by the two leading ladies. If you can’t get enough of passionate lesbian love films, Elisa and Marcela is yet another one to add to your list.

About the Author

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Nailah Tukpah

Nailah Tukpah is a multimedia content writer/creator and senior student at Brown University. She currently interns for AfterBuzz TV and Heal Squad with Maria Menounos, and she aspires to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Nailah is from Maryland, a lover of fashion and film, and she can’t imagine a world without music.