Queer movies 2022: 10 of the best LGBTQIA+ films this year

From Afrofuturist adventures to American rom-coms via lesbian spies who survived the holocaust, it’s been an intriguing year in queer cinema.

From festival berths to big studio-backed releases, a bountiful rainbow of fabulous LGBTIQA+ movies screened across Australia this year. Here are ten of the best.

Of An Age

Channelling Before Sunrise by way of Weekend, this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) opener is a lush romance of longing told in two parts. The first throws a ballroom dancer (Elias Anton) into the passenger seat of the smouldering big brother (Thom Green) of his AWOL partner (Hattie Hook) as they race from the city’s north-eastern suburbs way out west in the vain hope of making a competition.

But it’s the heartsore reunion of the second half that really makes rising star filmmaker Goran Stolevski’s swoonsome movie soar.

Read: Of An Age film is a tender and romantic Melburnian treat

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Horror reconnected to its queer origins, care of mother Mary Shelley, in a big way this year. Locally we had Insta influencer-inspired slasher Sissy. But Dutch director Halina Reijn makes the most of our unsocial media ways.

Starring the breakout stars of The Hate U Give (Amandla Stenberg) and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Maria Bakalova), it plunges them into a rapidly spiralling slaughterfest when a dead body shows up during a phone reception-killing storm.

In true Agatha Christie fashion, the trust-fund guests are all suspects and probably next. A riot, the final reveal is deliciously wicked.

Neptune Frost

It has been a year for queer sci-fi, with French experimental filmmaker Bertrand Mandico’s luminous lesbian acid-porn dystopia After Blue seemingly splicing Flash Gordon with Bound. It’s a lot, in the very best way, but for sheer unadulterated trippiness, we’re just giving it to Rwandan director Anisia Uzeyman and American co-director Saul Williams for their dance-driven, genderqueer, Afrofuturist, system-smashing cosmic adventure, which scooped up the inaugural MIFF Bright Horizons Award for emerging filmmakers.

Read: Neptune Frost film review: a visual album that defies form


Picking up both the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Pakistani filmmaker Saim Sadiq’s debut feature is a lilting hymn to emerging identity gently unfurling against the odds. Set in Lahore, a young married man (Ali Junejo) adores but is not sexually active with his wife (Rasti Farooq).

He falls into a backup gig supporting an erotic dancer and trans woman (Alina Khan), keeping this new line of work secret from his extended family in an ensemble piece in which all the characters shine. Bittersweet and beautiful.


It was an excellent year for buoyantly queer rom-coms backed by major studios. First up was the summer-loving frolics of Fire Island, proudly led by an Asian-American cast including Bowen Yang and screenplay writer Joel Kim Booster. Then there was Christmas-centred Bros, penned by and starring comedian Billy Eichner as a self-deprecating Pride Museum boss falling for Luke Macfarlane’s beefcake.

Both are adorbs, but Bros (with a crack-up cameo by Yang) steals it with its saucy sex scenes, hilarious cross-community snark and a diva cameo by Will & Grace star Debra Messing.

The late Sandra Pankhurst in Clean. Image: SBS


Melbourne-based businesswoman Sandra Pankhurst was an indomitable force for good. Unbowed by a traumatic childhood and further trials in adult life, including transitioning back when society had yet to catch up with the gender diversity dialogue, she went on to build a successful cleaning business that deals with the messes most folks don’t want to, including challenging crime scenes and deceased estates.

Read: Sandra Pankhurst trauma cleaner documentary to screen on SBS

What shines through most in director Lachlan Mcleod’s intimate portrait is her insistence on empathy and respect without judgement.

Nelly & Nadine

A luminous case of truth being stranger than fiction, Swedish director Magnus Gertten’s remarkable documentary is the third film he’s spun from faces glimpsed in one newsreel clip showing holocaust survivors arriving at the port of Malmö. This one unwraps an astounding love story for the ages that was almost lost in a dusty attic.

Belgian-born opera singer Nelly Mousset-Vos met the literary-minded Chinese ambassador to Spain’s daughter Nadine Huang on Christmas eve, 1944, in the hellish surrounds of Nazi concentration camp Ravensbrück. Their survival against all the odds is only the beginning of a gripping tale that will leave you breathless.

El Houb. Image: BIND 

El Houb (The Love)

Coming out of the closet is literal in the emotional rollercoaster that is Shariff Nasr’s wrenching family drama. It casts deeply expressive actor Fahd Larhzaoui as a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim man found in bed with his boyfriend (Emmanuel Boafo, also pitch perfect). He barricades himself into the cupboard under the stairs at his parents’ house (A Prophet actor Slimane Dazi and Incendies lead Lubna Azabal, both brilliant), who spectacularly revolt against his unintended outing. The impeccable cast keeps us engrossed despite dialogue mainly conveyed through a door.


Australian audiences got a double dip of Spanish director Adrián Silvestre’s thoughtful filmmaking this year. Dramatic feature My Emptiness And I, co-written with star and trans woman Raphaëlle Perez, explores the sometimes shocking assumptions thrust on a person during transition. When she attends a support group, several members were front and centre in his magnificent documentary Sediments.

Following six head and heart-strong trans women who go on a country retreat to share their stories, it’s feisty, funny and also incredibly tender.

Read: Trans representation on screen: the best of 2022

Wandering Heart

Argentinian director Leonardo Brzezicki’s emotional whirlwind of a movie stars the dashingly handsome Leonardo Sbaragli, who popped up as Antonio Banderas’ ex-lover in the sublime Pain and Glory. Here he plays a wayward single father whose life is spinning out of control, mirrored by his tempestuous daughter (Miranda de la Serna), who gives him a run for his money in the hot mess status.

And yet somehow their downward spiral entwines and strengthens in a film that ultimately celebrates the father-daughter bond and the spirit of independence.