Gay Essential

Gay Essential is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Alexander Ryll, Alistair Ryder, Rich Cline, Sara Clements
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/5 Sell By (2019) Sara Clements Drowning in Robert Wise's Pinterest board of apartment aesthetics is a narrative of equal parts wit and sentiment - a touching, funny tale of modern love. EDIT
Posted Oct 29, 2019
3/5 Monsoon (2019) Alistair Ryder A slow burner, but it lingers in the memory long after. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/5 () Alistair Ryder It's not perfect, but the visceral impact of its depiction of homophobia during this era cannot be understated. EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2019
4/5 And Then We Danced (2019) Alistair Ryder And Then We Danced is so much more than a coming of age love story - and is all the better for it. EDIT
Posted Oct 11, 2019
The Garden Left Behind (2019) Alistair Ryder An important reminder of the violence and oppression faced by trans women of colour on a daily basis. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
() Alistair Ryder It should join the book upon which it is based as a key text for people researching this period of history. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 From Zero to I Love You (2019) Alistair Ryder It's that rare thing - a high stakes romcom. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 () Alistair Ryder An enrapturing look at the life of an LGBT icon, told with an intimacy that feels like catching up with an old friend. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
The Dark Mile (2017) Alistair Ryder Even without the descent in to cult-territory, this would still be an effectively and disturbingly bleak effort for its portrayal of a failing relationship. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 Rafiki (2018) Alistair Ryder It's such a sweet natured and widely accessible story of love amidst adversity that the idea of any censorship board watching this and getting outraged is hilarious. It makes a film like Love, Simon look like Stranger by the Lake in comparison. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Love, Cecil (2017) Alistair Ryder There's no denying the talent of Cecil Beaton, nor the scale of his influence to this day. But whether you leave the documentary having warmed to him is another question altogether, and is part of what makes Vreeland's film such an intriguing watch. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 At the End of the Day (2018) Alistair Ryder It's unashamedly aimed at the mainstream American audience, with a mission to change hearts and minds - but when the film has a message like this (as obvious as that message may be), that's not necessarily a bad thing. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Ta peau si lisse (2017) Alistair Ryder Millions of people worry about trying to get the perfect body - Côté's film goes one step further to ask how far you would go to not just obtain it, but maintain it in the most image conscious environment imaginable. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 Devil's Path (2018) Alistair Ryder It's unmistakably a midnight movie, but with a heart and soul that ever so slightly elevates it above the pack. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 Every Act of Life (2018) Alistair Ryder For theatre fans, this is essential viewing - and for those of you like me, who shamefully don't watch as many plays as they should, this is still well worth a look. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
M/M (2018) Alistair Ryder M/M is sure to polarise audiences due to its increasingly mind-bending nature - but it's such a singular, unique experience, it's worth stepping out of your comfort zone to experience the madness for yourself. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Film Hawk (2016) Alistair Ryder A charming documentary about an important figure in American indie cinema. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
El destello de la Luna (2016) Alistair Ryder With a warm comic touch, the film explores the differences between two different generations, allowing its characters to confront their prejudices without forcing any unbelievable character developments. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 Porcupine Lake (2017) Alistair Ryder Whether or not its about an intense friendship, or a relationship between two confused young girls, Porcupine Lake is an impressive drama about two characters caught between childhood and a forever elusive emotional maturity. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
4/5 Obscuro Barroco (2018) Alistair Ryder Don't let its experimental nature put you off. Instead, let director Evangelia Kranioti take your hand and guide you through a glamorous city in a light you've never seen it before. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 () Alistair Ryder Jordan Schiele's film captures an intimate portrait of family life in rural China, examining the bleakness and the tenderness of various family relationships at close range. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Evening Shadows (2018) Alistair Ryder It's a timely film for India, and even though it may feel quaint to Western audiences, it still feels refreshing to see a mainstream film on this subject coming from a society that is conservative towards LGBT issues. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Yves Saint Laurent (2014) Alistair Ryder Yves Saint Laurent may have suffered from being one of two separate biopics about the fashion icon, and the more narratively straightforward of the pair. Luckily, the strengths of the performances help make for an entertaining, engaging drama. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
The Revival (2017) Alistair Ryder Less a self-acceptance narrative, and more of an exploration of one man's crisis of faith, Samuel Bret Williams' screenplay avoids giving easy resolutions to the character's problems - making for an unrelentingly harrowing viewing experience. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
4/5 Abu: Father (2017) Alistair Ryder It may have taken over forty years for this debut to reach the big screen, but let's hope it doesn't take another forty before we get a chance to see another of Arshad Khan's candidly honest and uniquely moving autobiographical efforts. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
A Very Sordid Wedding (2017) Alistair Ryder Although far from the sordid affair the title suggests, this joyously camp film is a definite guilty pleasure that will be a flat out triumph to returning fans- and an enjoyably trashy time for newcomers to the franchise. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3/5 Something Like Summer (2017) Alistair Ryder Contains brilliantly likeable performances from the central cast, with the cheesy teen drama of the first half paying off in the more emotionally complex second. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
3.5/5 Santa & Andrés (2016) Alistair Ryder No matter your political affiliation, it's hard not to like these two very complicated characters, and admire looking through the window in to their conflicted society. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots (2019) Shaun Alexander Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots is able to effectively explore a range of issues that many young gay and bisexual men are faced with in this technology driven time and does so with a careful gaze which never exploits its subject matter. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
Good Kisser (2019) Megan Christopher As our community rightfully becomes more open to the idea of polyamory, Good Kisser is a gentle reminder that, regardless of the number of people in your relationship, honesty in love is always the best policy. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
3.5/5 () Megan Christopher Second Star on the Right (Segunda estrella a la derecha), explores Emilia's reluctance to let go of her arguably childish ways, and gently mulls over the true meaning of maturity. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
3/5 Vita & Virginia (2018) Megan Christopher In this portrait of a 1920s same-sex romance, Button successfully pays homage to the historical presence of queer cultural icons, and this is certainly an achievement worth celebrating. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Roobha (2018) Rich Cline It's a powerful film about people who are straining against the limits of their society, building a strongly engaging wave of emotion as the plot develops. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 The Gospel of Eureka (2018) Rich Cline The Gospel of Eureka is notable for its striking honesty and hopefulness, depicting a place where religion and sexuality aren't mutually exclusive. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 () Rich Cline Nevrland is a bold, provocative story that digs into the mind of its teen protagonist with psychedelic intensity. So it's not surprising that it thoroughly unnerves the audience. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Papi chulo (2018) Rich Cline There's an offbeat charm to the low-key American comedy-drama Papi Chulo, which gets under the skin as it explores some deep emotional themes with a light touch. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
Daddy Issues (2018) Rich Cline There's an engagingly dreamy tone to this offbeat queer romantic comedy, continually wrong-footing the audience as the plot twists and turns around complex, likeable characters. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Socrates (2018) Rich Cline There's a strikingly realistic tone to this Brazilian drama, pulling the audience into the experiences of a teen who is being squeezed in from all sides. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
5/5 Un rubio (2019) Rich Cline Without ever shouting his themes, Berger simply lets this story unfold as an exploration of the difficulties that exist in any relationship, gay or straight. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Leitis in Waiting (2018) Dave Croyle Ffilmmakers Hamer and Wilson skillfully maintain a steady hand in weaving together multiple perspectives on the importance of modern-day Leiti in Tongan society, with just the right amount of delightful humour included for good measure. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
5/5 Cassandro, the Exotico! (2018) Dave Croyle A unique documentary, much of Cassandro, the Exotico! feels like a home movie with plentiful glimpses of objects and trophies symbolizing the luchador's life, all revealed in a 16mm film look and feel. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Knife + Heart (2018) Dave Croyle Gonzalez offers a stark contrast in Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur), delivering graphic murder scenes juxtaposed with playful softcore porn, and a story driven by a strong female lead. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
3/5 Silvana - väck mig när ni vaknat (2017) Rich Cline Following the outspoken Swedish rapper Silvana Imam for three years, this lively documentary offers fans a chance to go behind-the-scenes with a young woman who has become a lesbian hero. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Sunburn (Golpe de sol) (2018) Rich Cline Writer-director Vicente Alves do Ó fills each scene with bold experimental filmmaking touches that draw out the attitudes that gurgle under the surface. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
Sorry Angel (2018) Rich Cline Eclectic French filmmaker Christophe Honoré creates a drama that feels powerfully autobiographical as it explores events from 25 years ago. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Luciérnagas (2018) Matt Micucci The characters of her film are broken and lost, each in their own way; they are marked by a restlessness and instability that is reflected in the Mexican port city of Veracruz, where Fireflies (Luciérnagas) is set. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Elisa & Marcela (2019) David Opie Over a century before Spain finally legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, two women called Marcela Gracia Ibeas and Elisa Sánchez Loriga beat the odds and were married under the eyes of God in 1901. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
3/5 () David Opie Through absorbing long takes, Pedro and Jean open themselves up to each other and the audience too, revealing a vulnerability that is sometimes overlooked in queer arthouse movies of this nature. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
4/5 Tremors (Temblores) (2019) David Opie Through sombre and somewhat oppressive hues, Tremors (Temblores) takes a more mature approach to the now well-worn themes found in other recent gay conversion stories like Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019
Matrimonio italiano (2018) Alexander Ryll My Big Gay Italian Wedding (Puoi Baciare Lo Sposo) is a happy-go-lucky film that most of its audience will find relatable or at the very least heartwarming. It is sweet and refreshing, but does not venture far outside of the limitations of its genre. EDIT
Posted Oct 8, 2019