You can’t beat a cosy movie night. I absolutely love curling up in a fluffy blanket with a steaming hot chocolate. There is something especially intriguing about a book adaptation. But TV and Movie adaptations are so hit and miss. That’s why I’ve rounded up best Shows and Movies based on LGBTQ+ Books.
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After reading a book, it’s fascinating to watch an adaptation. For a while, I got into a routine of reading a book with a TV or Movie adaptation and then watching it afterwards. But while some adaptations are incredible with an outstanding level of detail others are not.
So, I’ve put together a list of the best TV Shows and Movies based on LGBTQ+ books. There aren’t as many as I would like. But with some exciting projects in the works, let’s hope we can add more to this list in the next few years.
If you're a fan of a TV Show or Movie adaptation then I have a few other posts you might want to check out:
The Best TV Shows and Movies based on LGBTQ Books
These are suggestions for movies have already been released. There are some fantastic upcoming movies and TV Series that I'm super excited about such as Red, White and Royal Blue and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. You can check out this list from Alison in LibraryLand for even more book to screen adaptations.
Let's be honest, I was always going to start with Heartstopper. You couldn't write a post on TV Shows and Movies based on LGBTQ+ Books without mentioning Heartstopper.
Heartstopper is the story of Nick and Charlie. Charlie is a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker. Nick is a cheerful rugby player. They meet at a British all-boys school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more.
Heartstopper is a heartwarming graphic novel series and a comfort read for many book lovers. So there was a lot of pressure going into this. But this adaptation gets it spot on.
I'm a massive fan of the Heartstopper series. If you're a fan and looking for similar books then you're in luck. I have a whole post full of recommendations for books like Heartstopper. You can check out my post on books like Heartstopper here.
Starring: Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Olivia Colman
2. Blue is the Warmest Colour
Blue is the Warmest Colour is an award-winning movie adaptation based on the graphic novel of the same name.
Blue is the Warmest Colour is a graphic novel about coming out and falling in Love. Clementine seems average enough. But when her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar.
There she encounters Emma. A confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant. And Clementine finds herself in a relationship that will test her own ideas about herself and her identity.
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos
3. Love, Simon
Love, Simon is a romantic-comedy drama based on the novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
It follows Simon Spier. A sixteen year old who is not so openly gay. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being exposed.
He's blackmailed and if he doesn't play wingman for the class clown, his sexual identity will be exposed. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Keiynan Lonsdale
4. The Colour Purple (1985)
This 1985 movie is a beautiful adaptation of the novel by Alice Walker. The book won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American Women in Georgia between the wars. Celie is a young Black girl born into poverty and segregation.
Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie keep in touch through a series of letters. But then she meets the glamour Shug Avery - a women who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover
5. Tipping the Velvet
Tipping the Velvet is an absolute classic adaptations. I couldn't write a post on TV Shows and movies based on LGBTQ+ Books without including it.
It's a 2002 BBC drama series based on the best-selling novel by Sarah Waters.
It follows Nan King, an oyster girl. She is captivating by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler - a male impersonator.
Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after she becomes Kitty's dresser. The pair begin a glittering career as a double act.
At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
Starring: Keeley Hawes, Rachel Stirling, Anna Chancellor
6. Call Me By Your Name
Call Me By Your Name is a hugely popular movie based on the popular LGBTQ+ book of the same name. However, it has drawn criticism for the age gap - as one character is 17 and the other 24 years old.
Call Me By Your Name is a romance between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents mansion on the Italian Riviera.
But they're not prepared for the consequences of their attraction. During the summer, their desire intensifies. They verge towards the one thing they fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg
7. My Policeman
My Policeman is one of the more recent releases on this list. It's a highly anticipated romance based on the book by Bethan Roberts.
From the moment Marion lays her eyes on Tom (her best friend's big brother) she is smitten. And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman, she is determined to win him.
However, she's unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss. So she plunges into marriage - sure her love is enough for both of them.
But Patrick, a curator at the museum, is besotted with Tom. And he opens Tom's eyes to a new world. But , it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
Starring: Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, Rupert Everett, David Dawson
8. I Can't Think Straight
I Can't Think Straight is a 2008 Movie based on the novel by Shamim Sarif. This romantic drama has lovable characters, a believable romance and clever humour.
It follows Tala. She's a London-based Palestinian who is preparing for her elaborate wedding when she meets Leyla. Leyla is a young British Indian woman who is dating her best friend.
Spirited Christian Tala and shy Muslim Leyla could not be more different from each other. But the attraction is immediate and goes deeper than friendship.
Starring: Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth
9. I Am Not Okay With This
I Am Not Okay With This is an LGBTQ+ TV Series based on the graphic novel by Charles Forsman.
Sydney seems like a normal 15 year old. But she has a few secrets that she's only shared with her diary. Like how she's in love with her best friend Dina, her father's absence and painful telekinetic powers that keep popping up at the most inopportune times.
The graphic novel explores teen angst perfectly. And he does a great job at exploring the inner thought of a teenage girl.
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Sophia Bryant, Wyatt Oleff
10. Miseducation of Cameron Post
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a coming of age drama about a teenage girl who is forced into a gay conversion therapy centre.
Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash. Cameron's shocking first thought is relief. Relief that they won't find out she had been kissing a girl.
But it doesn't last. Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt and old-fashioned grandmother. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. She and Cam forge an intense friendship. But when something more emerges, Cameron's aunt takes action to "fix" her niece.
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Forrest Goodluck, Quinn Shephard
Fingersmith is three part BBC mini-series that was televised in 2005. It's based on another Sarah Waters Novel.
Sue Trinder is an orphan. She's left in the care of Mrs. Sucksby. Her house also houses a family of petty thieves (fingersmiths).
One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man. He has an entincing proposition for Sue. If she wins a positions as the maid to Maud Lilly and helps Gentlement, they will all share in Maud's inheritance.
Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be passed off as mad and made to live in a lunatic asylum. Sue dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family. So she agrees.
But once in, she begins to pity Maud and care for her in unexpected ways.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Elaine Cassidy, Imelda Staunton, Michelle Dockery
12. Can you Ever Forgive Me?
Can you ever forgive me? Is a 2018 biographical film starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard Grant. It's based on the 2008 novel by Lee Israel and was nominated for an Academy Award
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Is a memoir of the astonishing caper she carried for almost two years when she forged and sold letters by literary figures such as Noel Coward.
Before turning to crime, Lee Israel had an career as an author of biographies. But by 1990 she was almost broke. Desperate to hang on to her studio, she made a bold career change. Inspired by a letter she'd received once from Katherine Hepburn, she begins to forge letters in the voices of literary greats.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Ben Falcone
Maurice is a romantic drama movie featuring a gay main character and romance. It's adapted from the novel by EM Forster.
It's a tale of homosexual love in early 20th-century England. Maurice grows up a bit uncertain of who he is, but as he grows older, he realizes that he is gay.
In the movie Maurice and Clive meet at Cambridge. They're drawn into a platonic marriage before Clive marries. Maurice seeks a "cure" for his homosexuality before falling in love.
Maurice was originally released in 1987, just before Section 28 in the UK and the Aids Crisis. It was really ahead of it's time in it's portrayal of LGBTQ+ romance and issues. If you're interested in reading more about how forward thinking this movie is then the Guardian has a whole article on the topic - you can check it out here.
Starring: Hugh Grant, James Wilby, Rupert Graves
14. Before Night Falls
Before Night Falls is a biographical drama directed by Julian Schnabel. It was released in 2000 and is based on the autobiography by Reinaldo Arenas.
It follows the life of Reinaldo Arena, a Cuban poet and novelist. But it also highlights the homophobia of Castro's Cuba and Reagan's America.
It stars Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem. And it was also nominated for an Academy Award.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem
15. A Single Man
A Single Man is a 2009 Romantic drama movie adapted from the the 1964 novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood.
It follows George. He is adjusting to life after the sudden death of his partner. He's an English professor who is determined to persist in his daily routines. But he is also an outsider in every way.
When A Single Man was originally published it shocked many. It shows a frank and moving portrayal of a a gay, middle aged man.
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicolas Hoult
16. The Handmaiden
The Handmaiden is another adaptation of the Sarah Water's novel, Fingersmith. But instead of Victorian England, this movie is set in Japanese occupied Korea.
It's a psychological thriller. It follows a Japanese women. She hires a handmaiden. But little does she know that her employee is working hand in glove with a con man to cheat her out of her wealth.
Starring: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo
17. Brokeback Mountain
I wouldn't be able to write a post about TV Shows and movies based on LGBTQ+ Books without mentioning Brokeback Mountain. Released in 2005, this movie received 8 Oscar nominations.
It's adapted from a story by Annie Proulx. It follows Ennis and Jack. They're two shepherds who develop and sexual and emotional relationship,
But their relationship becomes complicated when both of them get married to their respective girlfriends.
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathway
18. Dead End: Paranormal Park
Dead End: Paranormal Park is an animated series. It follows a trans boy and his friends (including a talking pug) who work together to fight demons in a haunted amusement park.
It's based on 'DeadEndia', a graphic novel by Hamish Steel. DeadEndia is a series of graphic novels. It follows Barney. He needs a job and a place to live. So takes up his best friend's offer and becomes the janitor of a haunted house attraction at Winslow's Wonderland.
Only thing is, the horrors don't stop when the work day's done.
Starring: Miss Coco Peru, Emily Osment, Alex Brightman