The 7 Best Movies With Realistic Lesbian Love Stories

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lesbian movies

We all know what we like, and what we don't like, and the same goes for movies we want to watch — and watch over and over again. 

As a straight female, I've noticed that women are not often well-represented in films. From being unnamed, to wearing scantily clothing when it's completely unnecessary, there's a lot of work to be done to develop the role of women in film. The situation is even bleaker for lesbian movies where women are well represented.

Apparently, when it comes to all women in film— both straight and lesbian — less than half of Hollywood movies pass the Bechdel Test, also known as the MoMovie Measure.

In case you've never heard of this amazing test that reveals how pro-woman a film really is, I'll fill you in on it.

The Bechdel Test has three parts:

  • The movie has to have two women in it that have names.
  • They have to talk to each other. 
  • They have to talk to each other about something else other than a man.

You can bet a woman spotted the problem and came up with this test for a solution. According to, "The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel's comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called, The Rule." has this to say about the problem:

However, when you visit Allison Bechdel's site where the comic strip that made The Rule popular is located, she admits that she can't claim full credit for it. She said that she got it from her friend, another woman, Liz Wallace, and used it in her comic strip. 

Interesting, right? You knew something was up but couldn't really put it into words. 

Here are 11 lesbian movies that we searched for that do pass the Bechdel Test. These lesbian movies also develop the plot around female romantic relationships and lesbian love stories. 

1. Blue Is The Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle) (2013)

In this movie, Adele (don't you just love that name), a teenager, meets Emma, an older woman and enters into a romantic adventure. So far, so good.

The relationship begins with a strong emotional connection that slowly unfolds into a sexual one — even better, but we are not out in the clear with this one.

This film received a lot of criticism, however. First, it's nearly three hours long. But some film critics of Blue Is The Warmest Color complain about the way Adele's butt is portrayed on camera. But, what I should warn lesbians about watching this film is that the biggest complaint given is that the women who played each role were not themselves, lesbian.  

2. Bound (1996) 

Back in the day when film critic, Roger Ebert was still giving his thumbs up or thumbs down on films, he rated this one as a 4 out of 4, which seems like a good thing. What he loved about this film was that it's packed full of action which drives the plot. The main character, Corky, just finished serving a prison sentence has just captured the attention of Violet who is in the closet, but also in a heterosexual relationship. 

The movie Bound begins to move pretty quickly when Violet decides she wants to be with Corky — for good. I don't want to spoil this film because it has received so many positive reviews. 

However, it's not all romance and adventure. There are comic elements to the film, and there's a little bit of sadness still in the way females are portrayed, even as lesbians. The only way to know if you like it is to watch and see!

3. But I'm A Cheerleader (1999) 

This film was directed by female movie director, Jamie Babbit who has also directed several female-centric films (thank you, Jamie!). 

In this lesbian film, the main character, Megan, is heavily judged by her parents and friends for being thought of as a lesbian. As a result, her parents send her off to True Directions camp with the hopes of rehabilitating her. There she meets Graham, an out-of-the-closet lesbian and the two become friends.

Megan is confused about what's happening in her life, but as you can imagine, meeting Graham, helps her to figure things out. The reviews of this lesbian movie, But I'm a Cheerleader are harsh and mixed. Some feel the satire is too heavy. Others enjoyed the comedy. What you will find fascinating is that most of the people weighing in with reviews are in fact, males! 

4. Carol, 'full' movie with English Subtitles (2015)

Set in 1950s, this film is as complicated as love can get between two lesbian women.

Two women, Carol and Therese meet and they fall in love, but heartache is felt throughout. Cate Blanchett who plays Carol as the leading role in this film shines.

If you love a movie that makes you cry, be sure to bring the tissue. Carol is a lesbian movie that will get you in the feels. 

5. Kiss Me (2011) 

All too predictable, with taboos to increase this romantic drama, this lesbian movie starts off with a woman who is set to be married in a heterosexual relationship but then meets a woman who she is attracted to and enters into a lesbian lover affair. 

What makes Kiss Me a lesbian movie with taboo is that Frida falls for her soon-to-be stepmother's lesbian daughter, Mia.

The relationship creates a series of family dynamics and raises serious questions about their future decisions. If you are into romantic dramas, then this lesbian movie might be one to add to your watch list.

6. Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)

Kissing Jessica Stein is a sexual discovery film where Helen, a bisexual woman ends up in a romantic relationship with Jessica, a lesbian. If you are looking for a lesbian film with a happy ending, this lesbian movie is not your best best.

But if you're open to watching films that looks at the issue of bisexuality and the way that can put a lesbian woman at risk when getting involved with her, this film is one that you can watch and talk about over a fondue dinner.

Kissing Jessica Stein is one to pick apart and discuss!

7. Pariah (2011)

This coming-of-age lesbian movie is about a young teenage girl, Alike, who risks everything to explore herself through her sexuality. The story comes back with several dynamics that intensively the isolation she feels as she seeks someone to confide in. 

So, when her mother introduces her to the daughter of a colleague, the search is over and the story begins to unfold. 

This film received pretty high review ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and from Roger Ebert, too.

But to truly know which of these seven lesbian films are the best, you have to watch them all!