The film industry is featuring world-renowned names like Lady Gaga, Truman Capote and Tammy Faye on the big screen this fall season. Award-winning musicals, true-life stories and far-out fiction are all part of the fun in the fourth quarter of the motion picture business in 2021.
After a year of shifting release dates in 2020, due to the pandemic, the end of this year seems to be finally ironed out, although all release dates could change at any time.
Depictions of the LGBTQ+ community continue to evolve in storylines and the upcoming movie roster is certainly no exception. Foreign films may still be leading the pack in terms of groundbreaking state-of-the-art queer cinema, as opposed to the sometimes conservative United States. Cinephiles can see these conditions changing every day as studios are now being held accountable for the casting choices and content they produce.
To find many queer films from all around the world, the Midwest area has Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival with 33 brand new feature-length films and nine short film programs this year. The popular festival runs Sept. 24-30 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinemas, 2828 N. Clark St. and virtually Sept. 27-Oct. 7, with tickets at ReelingFilmFestival.org/2021.The opening-night feature takes off with Firebird, a forbidden love story set in Estonia during the Cold War, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. The Sixth Reel, with drag diva Charles Busch, is Reeling's closing-night finale for the event's 39th year in the Windy City.
Streaming platforms are creating flicks with innovative ideas and plenty of LGBTQ+ subjects shining bright in the spotlight. The folks at Netflix are boldly moving into the future by releasing a romantic comedy in time for the holidays called Single All the Way starring openly gay actors Michael Urie and Luke Macfarlane. Hulu has Sex Appeal coming sometime in November with lesbian director Talia Osteen and a cast of various out loud and proud ladies including Fortune Feimster, Margaret Cho and Paris Jackson. Apple TV+ is showing the filmed version of the Broadway hit Come From Away by gay director Christopher Ashley on Sept. 10, the day before the anniversary of the attacks that left 7,000 people stranded at the airport.
While classic directors like Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott made the list for fall movie engagements, female directors are also making substantial waves this year with artsy projects, including Natalie Morales (Language Lessons) and Marion Hill (Ma Belle, My Beauty). Check out the release dates and brief descriptions below for notable LGBTQ+-focused features that will be arriving in the upcoming months:
Cinderella (Sept. 3) Cinderella waltzes into select theaters and Amazon Prime Video with some diversity, thanks to Cuban pop singer Camila Cabello as the title character and gay icon Billy Porter as Fab G, who reinvents the fairy godmother role.
Ma Belle, My Beauty (Sept. 3) Showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center and set in the south of France at a vineyard, Ma Belle, My Beauty celebrates sexuality and polyamory over a glass of wine in a little movie that was a big hit at Sundance and Outfest.
The Capote Tapes (Sept. 10) This thought-provoking documentary about gay author Truman Capote was based from audiotapes before his death in 1984. Animation and recent interviews with friends who knew Capote are added into the mix while defining a complicated character.
Language Lessons (Sept. 10) Shout! Studios serves us an indie film about friendship over Zoom. Adam, played by Mark Duplass, is given Spanish lessons by his onscreen husband, and the virtual instructor is a teacher from Costa Rica. The chemistry between the two leads is undeniable and critics have been praising the performances so far.
Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Sept. 17) Amazon Studios presents Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Inspired by true events, a 16-year-old teen dreams of becoming a drag queen. This England-set musical is the first movie project for many involvedexcept for seasoned actor Richard E. Grant, who plays a mentoring drag artist.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Sept. 17) Actress Jessica Chastain cakes on the makeup for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, based on the 2000 documentary film of the same name, about a religious leader who embraces the gay community publicly. Andrew Garfield plays husband Jim Bakker.
My Name Is Pauli Murray (Sept. 17 in theaters and Amazon Prime Video on Oct. 1) My Name Is Pauli Murray tells the true story of a civil-rights activist wrestling with gender identity and racial equity while becoming the first Black woman ordained as an Episcopal priest.
Dear Evan Hansen (Sept. 24) Queer thespian Ben Platt plays a straight high schooler with social anxiety disorder in the cinematic version of the musical that took home six Tony Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role for Platt.
Titane (Oct. 1) Screening at Gene Siskel Film Center, Titane is a suspenseful horror film with a gender-fluid protagonist that made director and writer Julia Ducournau the first female solo winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year.
Eternals (Nov. 5) The Eternals are a race of immortal superheroes fighting against a group of bad guys known as the Deviants. The story is based on a comic book that debuted in 1976 and is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature an on-screen kiss between two male characters, played by Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman.
tick, tick… BOOM! (Nov. 12 in theaters and Netflix Nov. 19) A musical from Rent composer Jonathan Larson, tick, tick… BOOM! explodes on Netflix after a limited theatrical release. Andrew Garfield stars as Larson in the filmthe first featured directed by Hamilton creator Lin-Manual Miranda.
House of Gucci (Nov. 24) Iconic director Ridley Scott brings the multitalented Lady Gaga back to the big screenafter her stellar success in A Star Is Bornfor House of Gucci, where she transforms into the socialite and convicted murderer Patrizia Reggiani.
Benedetta (Dec 3) Seek out IFC's controversial Benedetta, both in theaters and digitally, for a biographical drama depicting two nuns loving each other during the 17th-century. Can they pray the gay away? Paul Verhoevenwho helmed Showgirls and Basic instinctdirected this movie.
West Side Story (Dec. 10) An update of the popular musical West Side Story will have ticket holders dancing in the aisles, thanks to blockbuster director Steven Spielberg. Trans non-binary performer Ezra Menas plays Anybodys in the film and Rita Moreno returns, although in a different role this time.
The Matrix: Resurrections (Dec. 22) Transgender director Lana Wachowski and Warner Bros. give longtime fans more Neo with a fourth installment of the popular franchise. Many of the original cast members return and there are special guests, such as out actor Neil Patrick Harris. All hands are on deck to make sure this revival is not a hard pill to swallow.