Our Top 20 Gay Films of 2022!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Before we ring in 2023, we wanted to highlight some of the best gay films we saw this year. Check out our Top 20 Gay Movies of 2022 below and make sure to pick up your copies on DVD and/or Blu-ray at TLAgay.com!


20. Spoiler Alert
Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge star in this recently-released tearjerker based on the acclaimed 2017 memoir by Michael Ausiello. In the film, Michael (Parsons) unpacks the emotional maelstrom into which his relationship was plunged in the 11 months that took his partner, photographer Kit (Aldridge), from his diagnosis with terminal cancer to his passing. Interwoven in the narrative are glimpses of the roller-coaster ride that was the couple’s 14-year romance. Directed by Michael Showalter, adapted by Dan Savage and David Marshall Grant and co-starring Sally Field, Spoiler Alert does slip into the oft-derided “gay weepie” territory, but there is a lot to appreciate here as well. The filmmakers take a tragic tale and infuse it with a massive amount of heart and humor.


19. Nothing But Flowers
Ash (Hayden Vaughn) and Max (August Medina) suddenly find their loving relationship in jeopardy. When Max gets accepted into an elite East Coast graduate school program, it puts all of their plans on hold. Now they must question whether or not they have a future together. On their final night as a couple, they begin to relive pivotal moments from their past… until they’re interrupted by a surprise going-away party that ratchets up the tension even further. From writer-director Nicolas Merrias and co-writer Omar Salas Zamora (the creator behind the beloved gay series Here Comes Your Man), Nothing But Flowers is a tender and heartfelt gay romantic drama featuring skilled performances from the two charismatic leads.


18. Phantom Project
Pablo (Juan Cano) is a young actor who dreams of landing a role in a film. In order to pay the bills, he works as a simulated patient in medical schools and strange alternative therapy sessions. It’s not just his career that has hit a snag. His romantic and social lives are also in trouble. He’s still in love with his successful ex-boyfriend and his roommate has disappeared without paying rent, leaving behind several problems… including a ghost who is now haunting his living space! With nowhere to go but up, Pablo becomes more determined than ever to fix his situation and finally turn his dreams into a reality. From writer-director Roberto Doveris, Phantom Project is a delightfully off-beat gay comedy with humor and heart to spare.


17. Once a Year on Blackpool Sands
A triumphant new comedy-drama based on real events, regarding an extraordinary night in Blackpool, 1953, several days after the Queen’s Coronation. Tommy and Eddy (Macaulay Cooper and Kyle Brooks) are coal miners and secret gay lovers who spend their holiday at a quirky bed and breakfast in Blackpool, along with a few other “alternative” members of society. Together, they summon up the courage to do the first fabled walk towards Gay Pride. Written and directed by Karlton Parris, this true story offers a rare glimpse into an underrepresented era in LGBTQ history. Touching and poignant, Once a Year on Blackpool Sands offers up a portrayal of the lives of working-class gay men and the women who supported them, in a time when homosexuality was a crime.


16. Potato Dreams of America
Obsessed with old Hollywood movies and concerned for her son’s future in the USSR of the 1980s, Lena (Sera Barbieri) becomes a mail-order bride and moves to the United States. Though she hopes to create a better life for her son Potato (Tyler Bocock), things veer off course when his burgeoning sexuality and love of “New Queer Cinema” clash with his new father’s political and religious points of view. Stylized and deliciously campy, Potato Dreams of America conjures a portrayal of the American dream that is as hopeful and hilarious as it is dizzying. Featuring a star-studded LGBTQ+ cast – including Lea DeLaria and Jonathan Bennett – writer/director Wes Hurley’s autobiographical crowd-pleaser is sure to spark whimsical wonder.


15. Baloney
Sexy, funny and ultimately inspiring, Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular “Gay All-Male Burlesque Show” over 18 months as the group rehearses for their infamous New Year’s Eve show. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage and performances, the film captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in the ensemble who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure is often found in not doing that artistic thing you know you need to do.


14. Jump, Darling
The late, great Cloris Leachman delivers one of her finest film roles in this moving, critically-acclaimed comedy-drama. Jump, Darling follows Russell (Thomas Duplessie), an up-and-coming drag performer who, on the run from his boyfriend, escapes to the country and into the arms of Margaret, his aging grandmother (Leachman). As Margaret fights to avoid being put in a home, Russell decides to move in and help. He also takes to the stage once more, using a local bar to showcase his glamorous skills and strike up a new romance with an attractive bartender. An award-winning film festival hit designed to give you all the feels, Jump, Darling is a true must-see about love, family and maintaining your dignity – no matter your age.


13. Peter von Kant
From celebrated gay filmmaker Francois Ozon, Peter von Kant is a critically-acclaimed retelling of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s classic German New Wave drama The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Set in the 1970s, the film follows Peter (Denis Menochet), a famous director who lives with his assistant Karl (Stefan Crepon) – whom he likes to mistreat and humiliate. He soon meets and falls in love with Amir (Khalil Gharbia), a handsome young man of modest means. Quickly becoming smitten, Peter offers to help break Amir into cinema, setting up a tense love triangle and complicated working relationship with the devoted Karl. Ozon creates a loving tribute to one of his cinematic idols while also offering up a colorful, sexually-charged drama all his own.


12. Poppy Field
Planning to spend a romantic weekend with his long-distance boyfriend, Christi’s tender reunion is cut short when he is called in to handle a crisis at work. A member of the Bucharest police force, his unit is sent to quell a protest at a local movie theater, where a far-right group has interrupted the screening of a queer film. As tensions between the homophobic protesters and the audience mount, Christi, closeted to his fellow officers, begins to spiral out of control when he spots a former fling in the crowd. A violent outburst threatens to expose his secret and leads him to finally confront the contradictions between his personal and professional life. Inspired by true events, Poppy Field is both riveting and ultimately revealing.


11. Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?
In this contemporary queer musical from Egyptian director Mohammad Shawky Hassan, soft speaking voices and a dreamlike soundscape of Egyptian pop music combine to create an almost hallucinatory cinematic experience. Based on a diary of the filmmaker’s personal love stories, and told in the form of a tale from “One Thousand and One Nights,” Hassan’s film gives us a glimpse into the sensual experiences of gay Egyptian men. Telling their stories with humor, tenderness and wit, the power of prose commands attention and allows viewers to be completely swept up in Hassan’s unique vision. With gorgeous colors, handsome actors and imaginative editing, Shall I Compare You To a Summer’s Day? is a truly unique gay fantasia.


10. Mascarpone
When Antonio (Giancarlo Commare) is dumped by his husband, whom he depends both psychologically and economically, his life begins to change radically. He enrolls in pastry school, rents a room from the attractive, free-spirited and sex-positive Denis (Eduardo Valdarnini) and takes a job working in a bakery owned by the extremely hunky Luca (Gianmarco Saurino). He also starts having numerous hot sexual encounters with eligible men. Through this process, Antonio discovers that it was wrong to give up his independence for the sake of his past relationship. As sweet and silky as the ingredient which serves as the title, Mascarpone is the perfect gay date movie, blending sexy men, endearing characters and charming humor.


9. Firebird
Based on true events that took place during the Cold War, Firebird is a passionate love story set against the backdrop of a Soviet Air Force base during late 1970’s Communist rule. Sergey (Tom Prior), a soulful young soldier who dreams of becoming an actor, is counting the days until his military service ends. His life is turned upside down when he locks eyes with Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), a sexy, enigmatic ace fighter pilot newly assigned to his base. Driven by their undeniable attraction, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship at a time when Soviet men in uniform caught having a sexual affair was met with the severest punishment. As their friendship grows into love, the men risk their freedom and their lives to be together in the face of an all-seeing and unforgiving regime.


8. A Sexplanation
A Sexplanation is just your typical queer, Asian American, comedic sex documentary about the unusual search for love, connection and family acceptance! Like many Americans, Alex’s sex education left much to be desired. Years of repression left him feeling disconnected from his body, his desires and his family. Now out and proud in his thirties, Alex decides it’s time to turn his years of fear and loathing into something positive and humorous. From neuroscience labs to church pews, this film features provocative conversations with psychologists, sex researchers and even a Jesuit priest. With humor and grit, Alex takes audiences on a playful and heartfelt journey from a shame-filled past to a happier, healthier and much sexier future.


7. Private Desert
Brazil’s official submission to the Academy Awards, Private Desert follows Daniel (Antonio Saboia), a police academy teacher who is engaged in a cyber romance with Robson (Pedro Fasanaro), an attractive gender-fluid worker who goes by Sara online and keeps their female identity secret in daily life. When Sara suddenly goes missing, Daniel drives 2,000 miles across Brazil to find her. He posts Sara’s picture all over town but no one recognizes her… until he receives a mysterious call from someone claiming to know her and asking to meet. What follows is a journey of the heart that will change both lovers forever. Private Desert is both a swooning, sunbaked romance and a triumphant affirmation of queer love and humanity.


6. The Swimmer
Speedos, water, desire and so much more! Erez (Omer Perelman Striks), a rising star in the Israeli swimming scene, arrives at a training camp held in a boarding school where only one winning athlete will get a ticket to the Olympics. There he meets the beautiful and talented Nevo (Asaf Jonas), who awakens subconscious desires in him. Their coach, however, does not believe in friendship between competitors. Warned to stay away from Nevo, Erez is far too attracted to give up completely. In between practices, he attempts to act upon his feelings and comes to believe that winning a medal is less important than winning Nevo’s heart. A critically-acclaimed film festival hit from Israeli director Adam Kalderon, The Swimmer is a sexy and provocative crowd-pleaser.


5. Fire Island
Set in the iconic Pines, writer/star Joel Kim Booster and director Andrew Ahn’s Fire Island is an unapologetic, modern day rom-com which doubles as a diverse, multicultural examination of queerness and romance. It’s also, quite impressively, one of the smartest and funniest adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” you’re likely to see. Inspired by the timeless pursuits of Jane Austen’s classic, the story centers around two best friends (played by Joel Kim Booster and SNL superstar Bowen Yang) who set out to have a legendary summer adventure with the help of cheap rosé and their cadre of eclectic friends. Featuring an amazing ensemble cast, Fire Island is clever, colorful, relentlessly funny, truly sexy and packed to the brim with unforgettably quotable lines.


4. Benediction
From celebrated director Terence Davies, Benediction explores the turbulent life of poet Siegfried Sassoon (played by Jack Lowden). A complex man who survived horrors during the First World War, Sassoon was decorated for his bravery but became a vocal critic of the war when he returned from service. Adored by members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London’s literary and stage world, he embarked on affairs with several men as he attempted to come to terms with his sexuality. At the same time, broken by the horror of war, he made his life’s journey a quest for salvation, trying to find it within the conformity of marriage and religion. Gorgeously rendered by Davies, Sassoon’s story is one of a troubled man in a fractured world searching for peace and self-acceptance.


3. Wildhood
Upon discovering that his abusive father has lied about his mother’s death, teenager Lincoln (Phillip Lewitski) treks across Canada with his younger brother Travis (Avery Winters-Anthony) to find her. Along the way, they meet Pasmay (Joshua Odjick), an attractive pow-wow dancer immediately drawn to Link. Pasmay soon joins the duo as they journey through Mi’kma’ki territory and a romantic connection grows. Rolling fields, open beaches and long stretches of road work alongside a colorful cast of characters to help Link figure out not only who he is, but who he wants to be in this deeply touching new coming-of-age story. A hit with critics and audiences at film festivals around the world, Wildhood is easily one of our favorite gay films of the year.


2. Bros
The first romantic comedy from a major American studio about two gay men who are stumbling towards love! (Maybe. They’re both very busy!) Billy Eichner stars as Bobby, a podcaster and writer who is working alongside a diverse board of people to open New York City’s most all-encompassing LGBTQ+ History Museum. During a night out at the bar, he meets Aaron, an intensely attractive, almost ‘too good to be true’ gay jock played by Luke Macfarlane. Though both men are commitment-phobic and skeptical of monogamy, their attraction to one another pushes them into questioning their long-held views on love. From Eichner’s ferocious comic mind, Bros is a smart, swoony, intensely sexy and deeply heartfelt comedy about finding love and sex in the modern gay world.


1. The Inspection
Inspired by his own true story, writer-director Elegance Bratton’s deeply moving new film follows a young, gay Black man doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would happily cast him aside. Rejected by his mother (Gabrielle Union) and with few options for his future, Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) decides to join the Marines. As he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life. Featuring stunning performances from Pope, Union and co-stars Bokeem Woodbine and Raul Castillo, The Inspection is a tense, brave and deeply moving film that will rightfully put Bratton on the map as a director to watch.