12 Fantastic Films with Authentic Lesbian Representation

It's the 21st century, and yet there are still surprisingly few good lesbian movies to watch. Authentic representation is essential because it helps LGBTQ+ people feel seen while educating others about what it's like to be gay. A user on a popular online forum asked movie lovers for their recommendations for the best lesbian movies. Others replied on the thread with their suggestions.

1. Bound (1996)

Bound Jennifer Tilly
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

When an ex-con spots another woman in the elevator at her apartment complex, they soon develop a close romantic relationship. But one of the women is trapped in an abusive relationship with a terrifying gangster, so the two women plot her escape.

2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire Noémie Merlant,Adèle Haenel
Image Credit: Pyramide Films.

In 1770s France, a painter takes a job creating the wedding portrait of a young bride who doesn't seem thrilled about her marriage. The painter is told not to let the bride know she's being painted, so she watches her secretly as she paints her portrait and slowly falls in love.

3. Water Lillies (2007)

Water Lilies Adèle Haenel, Pauline Acquart
Image Credit: Haut et Court.

Three teenage girls meet at their local pool one summer, and a love triangle forms. As they bask in the sun by the poolside and practice water polo, the girls explore their sexualities and face heartbreak.

4. But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

But I'm a Cheerleader Natasha Lyonne
Image Credit: Lions Gate Films.

An all-American cheerleader with a handsome football star boyfriend prefers to look at her fellow cheerleaders rather than kiss her boyfriend, which makes her parents believe she's a lesbian. They send her to a conversion therapy camp, where instead of turning her back to her female attraction, the cheerleader falls for an openly lesbian woman.

5. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Blue is the Warmest Color Léa Seydoux
Image Credit: Wild Bunch.

Blue is the Warmest Color chronicles the passionate romance between a young woman and an art student she met at a bar. Throughout the film, the two women grow together and apart in this alluring and heart-wrenching story.

6. Carol (2015)

Carol Cate Blanchett
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Set in 1950s Manhattan, a talented photographer discovers a new model in a department store. As the photographer and the model bond, the two grow closer than anticipated and must contend with the homophobic times as they try everything to keep their forbidden love a secret.

7. What Keeps You Alive (2018)

What Keeps You Alive
Image Credit: Digital Interference Production and IFC Films.

This horror film is about a lesbian couple who vacation at one of the women's family's lakeside home. As the new wife learns more about her partner's childhood, she becomes wary of their once-strong relationship. But when things take a turn for the worse, the two women are caught in a battle against one another for survival.

8. Crush (2022)

Image Credit: Hulu.

Crush is a lighthearted teen romance film about an aspiring artist who is forced to join the school's track team. Although not pleased with this new activity, she takes it as an opportunity to connect with her crush.

9. D.E.B.S. (2004)

Image Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films.

This hilarious action romance film follows a team of teenage detective fighting crime in their city. But can love and justice coincide when one of the girls falls for the woman the team is trying to take down?

10. Lyle (2014)

Lyle Gaby Hoffmann
Image Credit: Breaking Glass Pictures.

Lyle is a psychological thriller about a lesbian couple who move into a new home only to lose their toddler in a tragic accident. But tension arises in her relationship when one of the wives suffers with delusions, believing the neighbors are part of a satanic cult and causes her daughter's death.

11. Pariah (2011)

Image Credit: Focus Features.

A young lesbian in Brooklyn tries to decide whether or not to come out to her family in this coming-of-age indie drama. But everything shifts when her mom introduces her to a coworker's daughter, and the two girls form a close friendship that turns into something more.

12. Princess Cyd (2017)

Princess Cyd Rebecca Spence
Image Credit: Wolfe Video.

When a sixteen-year-old girl from South Carolina visits her aunt in Chicago for the summer, the two bond over discussions of their love lives. The aunt and niece help each other in their romantic endeavors, like the teen's budding relationship with a cute barista at the local coffee shop.

What other lesbian films belong on this list?
This thread inspired this post.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.