25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: The Sequel

Another round of films that helped to define the culture -- and cultural impact - of LGBT cinema'

PRIEST (1994)

Antonia Bird’s 1994 drama was one of the first to fully explore the struggles of priests with gay proclivities. In addition to its lead narrative about an outed British Catholic priest and his crisis of faith, the film explored other controversial theological issues facing the church from a liberal perspective. Naturally, this led church officials to protest the film and even call for a boycott of Disney, parent company of the film’s distributor Miramax. Though some critics and viewers found Priest to be heavy-handed and preachy, the movie is especially appealing and compelling for provoking thought about hot-button topics, such as whether homosexuality and Catholicism have to be mutually exclusive practices, and whether priesthood celibacy is appropriate in the modern era — foreshadowing a real-life discussion on the topic when the Catholic sex-abuse scandals hit nearly a decade later. The film also offered affirming representations of gay people at a time when mainstream pop culture was just beginning to look beyond a narrow focus on gay stereotypes and the AIDS crisis. The sex scenes between lead actor Linus Roache and Robert Carlyle may be tame — and watered down for the U.S. version, with at least one nude shower scene excised — but the fact that expressions of gay love were presented at all, in a realistic, non-exploitative way, was ahead of its time.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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