Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, the WGF Library highlights five screenplays of some of our favorite films featuring LGBTQ protagonists. This list isn’t by any means a ranking; frankly, there are so many wonderful films to choose from, which is a really great thing to say at this day in age. We recommend reading and watching beautiful, groundbreaking stories told over the past 25 years: Brokeback Mountain, Boys Don’t Cry, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, A Single Man, to name a few. You can read these screenplays all this month or any month—check our Library catalog. But first, we’ll start with a recent award winner.
1. Moonlight – Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
The 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay undoubtedly left a mark with the quiet vulnerability of its protagonist, a young black man named Chiron. There is much to unpack in Moonlight, but I viewed it as a coming-of-age drama that happens to be set in a world in which the neighborhood drug dealer serves as a boy’s de facto father figure and the burdens of high school include regularly dodging both bullies and a mother’s drug-addled entreaties.
Amid such circumstances, Moonlight includes moments universal of coming-of-age stories. We see a teenage Chiron’s first sexual experience on the beach with his best friend Kevin. On screen, it was a beautifully intimate moment in which the audience feels as present and attentive as the characters. On page, each beat is measured as a chill evening hang on the beach turns into an emotionally raw glimpse into this quiet teenager’s psyche.
As Chiron and Kevin engage in a push-and-pull dance of sorts before culminating in a kiss and then some, we, too, lean closer to the page waiting with baited breath for the painfully awkward repercussions of putting oneself out there. But it never arrives. The moment is treated gently and lovingly by Jenkins both on screen and on the page.