Metro Weekly

Americans search for one LGBTQ film more than any other — and it might surprise you

Shane Co. analyzed Americans' search histories, and found one film trumped all others in popularity

ay films, lgbtq films, movies, Moonlight, Call Me By Your Name, Tangerine, Carol

Clockwise from top left: Moonlight, Call Me By Your Name, Tangerine, Carol

If someone asked you to think of an LGBTQ film, what would come to mind?

Perhaps a recent critical darling, such as Oscar winners A Fantastic Woman or Moonlight? Maybe an indie hit, such as Tangerine, or Hedwig and the Angry Inch?

All perfectly valid choices, but according to LGBTQ-friendly jeweler Shane Co. they’re not the film most Americans are apparently searching for.

To celebrate Pride Month, Shane Co. analyzed Google Trends to find out which films we’re searching for — and then handily broke the results down by state.

“Pride looks a little different this year, as parades and parties have been canceled to protect the health of would-be attendees,” Shane Co. wrote in a blog post. “However, in thinking about ways to celebrate and reflect on LGBTQ+ experiences at home, we immediately thought of a great solution: binge-watching all of our favorite LGBTQ+ movies!”

They continued: “To have some fun (and as an excuse to pore over our favorite flicks) we decided to see which movies should make our Pride binge list by checking out which LGBTQ+ movies were most popular nationwide.”

Shane Co. looked at each state’s Google Trends over the last twelve months, and determined the most-searched LGBTQ film per state. While the results show a diverse range of films, some 23 in total covering all 50 states and D.C., there was one clear winner: Beginners.

The 2010 romantic dramedy tells the tale of Oliver and his late father, Hal, who came out after the death of Oliver’s mother and began exploring life as a gay man.

Starring Ewan McGregor as Oliver and Christopher Plummer as Hal, Beginners was warmly received by critics and ultimately brought Plummer his first Academy Award at age 82, making the actor — perhaps best known for his role in iconic 1965 musical The Sound of Music — the oldest Best Supporting Actor winner.

Beginners was the most googled LGBTQ film in twelve states, including Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, and Virginia.

Second was The Normal Heart, HBO’s powerful film based on Larry Kramer’s iconic play, set between 1981 and 1984, during the height of New York City’s HIV/AIDS crisis. Kramer wrote the screenplay and gay powerhouse producer Ryan Murphy directed an ensemble cast including Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, and BD Wong.

The Normal Heart was the most searched film in five states, including Alabama, Kentucky, and both North and South Dakota.

Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio’s searches gave third place to 1961 drama The Children’s Hour, starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn as two school teachers whose livelihoods are threatened when a student accuses them of a lesbian relationship.

Groundbreaking at the time for its depiction of same-sex identities, The Children’s Hour was based on Lillian Hellman’s eponymous 1934 play, which debuted despite depictions of homosexuality being illegal in New York City at the time — though the play’s incredible critical and commercial success ultimately shielded it from any repercussions.

lgbtq, films, movies, gay

Photo: Shane Co.

Elsewhere, the list is an eclectic mix of themes, tastes, and time periods, from the recent biographical drama Can You Ever Forgive Me? — most searched for in D.C. and New Mexico — to satirical rom-com But I’m a Cheerleader, about a lesbian high school cheerleader sent to conversion therapy camp by her parents, which was most searched for in Maryland.

There’s also Todd Hayes’ sumptuous 1950s-set lesbian drama Carol, favored by Illinois, Merchant Ivory drama Maurice, about a tale of gay love in repressed Edwardian England that topped searches in Louisiana, and iconic Oscar-winning gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain. Set in Wyoming, Ang Lee’s 2005 film is, appropriately enough, the most searched for LGBTQ movie in that state.

Also opting to keep their searches in state, Pennsylvanians googled more than any other LGBTQ film the Tom Hanks-starring 1993 drama Philadelphia, about a gay man who sues his employer after being fired following his diagnosis with AIDS.

For the full state-by-state breakdown, head here. For more great LGBTQ films to watch, check out some of Metro Weekly‘s essential picks, handily available for you below:

25 Gay Films Everyone Should See

25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: The Sequel

25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: Part 3D

13 Camp Films Everyone Should See

20 Gay Shorts Everyone Should See

15 Black LGBTQ Films Everyone Should See

Read more:

Russian President Vladimir Putin mocks U.S. embassy in Moscow for flying Pride flag

Laverne Cox on Netflix doc ‘Disclosure,’ dating in Hollywood, and (begrudgingly) voting for Joe Biden

Gay man slammed for visiting Fire Island while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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