40. Gray Matters (2006)
Starring: Heather Graham, Bridget Moynahan, Rachel Shelley Director: Sue Kramer
Sue Kramer’s romantic comedy was panned by some for having too many loose ends and playing into some of the more cloying lesbian movie stereotypes. But we’re guessing that our readers who voted for it were taken by the madcap, screwball style of the film and Heather Graham’s playful turn as advertising copywriter Gray, who realizes she’s gay and has the good fortune to hook up with Bridget Moynahan.
41. Fire (1996)
Starring: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das Director: Deepa Mehta
Deepa Mehta’s award-winning film about two Indian sisters-in-law living in traditional marriages who fall in love with each other sparked violent protests in India upon its release in 1996. Since then, some have argued that the film isn’t necessarily about lesbianism as much as it is about female empowerment. Any way you interpret it, Fire is a powerful, moving film about two women trying to forge their own destinies beneath the weight of cultural tradition.
42. The Runaways (2010)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Alia Shawkat Director: Floria Sigismondi
The true life story of all-girl rock band The Runaways can be seen as equal parts inspirational and cautionary, and the rock biopic about them does a great job of holding the tension between the dangerous realities of their unsupervised teen lives on the road and their raw, bold attack on a male-dominated musical genre. Kristen Stewart slouches and pouts as (strangely saintlike) guitarist Joan Jett, while Dakota Fanning surprises with her layered portrayal of sex kitten frontwoman Cherie Currie.Their sexual chemistry with each other is red hot, the stuff of a great rock song.
43. Wish Me Away (2011)
Starring: Chely Wright, Jennifer Archer Directors: Bobbie Birleffi, Beverly Kopf
Before she came out, country singer songwriter Chely Wright had already established herself in the notoriously conservative Nashville scene, so she had much to lose by opening up and telling the truth about her life. This documentary charts the course of her well-planned coming out process, including some agonizing glimpses into her video diary in the days and moments before the announcement is made. As in her music, Wright puts herself out there in this film, touching nerves and hearts alike.
44. Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009)
Starring: Edie Windsor, Thea Spyer Directors:Susan Muska, Gréta Olafsdóttir
Because they were lesbians, Thea and Edie were forced to have an engagement that lasted longer than the actual marriages of many legally married folks. This heartwarming (and, in a sense, infuriating) documentary traces the lives and love of the two community activists from the 1960s to the present day, humanizing and making undeniably real the “political ” issue of marriage equality.
45. The Truth About Jane (2000)
Starring: Ellen Muth, Stockard Channing Director: Lee Rose
One of the great things about TV movies is the fact that they’re so accessible, which is particularly important when they are movies about coming out and the teenagers who may stumble across them are gay. Sure, The Truth About Jane can be a little melodramatic and angsty, but then, so are teenagers. This movie, about a girl who comes out and her mom’s efforts to understand and accept her, is better than some feature films on the topic. But since Stockard Channing plays Jane’s mom, should we really be surprised?