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20 LGBTQ movies and TV shows to look out for in the first half of 2019

Two appearances from Saoirse Ronan here, but the main highlights here are Rafiki and Russian Doll.

Irish release date unknown: 

Last year, there were a heap of brilliant movies released internationally which have yet to hit the big screen in Ireland. Here are the movies that are likely to be released in Ireland this year, even though their release dates have yet to be confirmed. 

We The Animals


Based on the novel of the same name by Justin Torres, We The Animals is a queer coming of age story that has been described as “a work of art.” Upon it’s American release, it was met with 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, 4/4 from the Washington Post and 84% on Metacritic. Jezebel described it as a “tender and raw look at machismo, race, sexuality and the complications of a working-class family.”

The film is set in Utica, New York and follows three kids named Manny, Joel and Jonah who are tearing their way through childhood. Their parents have a volatile relationship that makes and unmakes the family many times over, often leaving the boys fending for themselves. To cope, Manny and Joel harden and grow into younger versions of their father, while Jonah, the youngest of the three, feels an overwhelming urge to escape from his family situation, and begins to embrace an imagined world all of his own. 

Source: IndieWire/YouTube

Rafiki (rumoured to release in Ireland in early 2019)


Rafiki beautifully tells the story of two teenage girls in Kenya who become friends. As time goes by, they grow closer and closer, despite a massive political rivalry between both of their families. The two young women resist the pressures they feel at home, as they realise that they are beginning to fall in love with each other. In this tender and heartbreaking film, they’re given an ultimatum – they have to choose between happiness or safety. 

In Kenya, this film was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board, who alleged that the film “promotes lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.” However, thanks to a temporary High Court ruling, it was allowed to air under restricted status for just seven days to “willing adults”. 

Source: IndieWire/YouTube

Sorry Angel (late 2019) 


Set in Paris in 1990, Sorry Angel is a tragic romance about a 20-year-old student named Arthur who meets an older writer called Jacques, who lives in Paris with his young son. They spend the summer together, living as fast as they can while Jacques comes to terms with the inevitability of his death, after finding out that his life is going to be significantly shortened by AIDS. 

Source: UniFrance/YouTube


76th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room Source: Jordan Strauss

Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet star in Ammonite, a historical drama about two women who fall in love in the 19th century. Kate Winslet plays Mary Anning, a British paleontologist who falls for a young, wealthy Londoner played by Saoirse Ronan. 

Happiest Season 

'Jeremiah Terminator Leroy' Premiere TIFF 2018 Source: Igor Vidyashev

Towards the end of 2018, it was confirmed that Kristen Stewart was in talks to star in Clea DuVall and Mary Holland’s new movie Happiest Season, which tells the story of a young woman whose plans to propose to her girlfriend while at her family’s annual holiday party is completely upended when she discovers that her partner still hasn’t come out to her conservative parents. 

Vita and Virginia 


The fascinating biographical story about the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf. It stars Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki. 

Source: Rapid Trailer/YouTube

Boy Erased


If you’ve been to the cinema at any stage over the last couple of months, there’s a pretty big chance you sat through the trailer for this film. It stars Lady Bird actor Lucas Hedges, as well as Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. If you have not come across the trailer yet, here’s a quick summary: 

Boy Erased is a biographical drama based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name. It follows a young man called Jared Eamons struggling to come to terms with his own identity, as he’s the son of a small-town Baptist pastor who vehemently believes that homosexuality is an abomination. When Jared works up the courage to tell his parents that he’s gay, they send him to conversion therapy, in the hopes that he can overcome this chapter of his life. Much to their frustration, Jared doesn’t crack under the pressure and instead, he learns to accept who he really is. 

Source: Focus Features/YouTube



Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart star in the biographical thriller about the life of Lizzie Borden. Borden, famous for hitting a brutally violent breaking point, grew up in Massachusetts in the late 19th century, under strict rules established by her father. While she is best known the shocking crimes she committed, this movie looks at the mounting tension in her home as she pursued a secret romance with the family’s maid.

Source: ONE Media/YouTube


January (TV shows)


  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Currently airing): We imagine that you’re already all over this, but there are still some people out there who haven’t devoted hours of their life to watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s currently in its sixth (and final) series and it’ll pick up from the wedding that took place at the end of series five.


  • Sex Education (Now on Netflix!): A brand new British comedy-drama about an inexperienced and awkward teenage boy who ends up taking on the role of sex therapist at school, when people find out that it’s the profession his mother works in. Teaming up with a far cooler and more rebellious schoolmate called Maeve, he manages to make his way up the food chain by offering advice, sex tips and basic information to his uneducated schoolmates. 


  • High Maintenance (Season two kicks off on the 20th of January): If you’re completely oblivious as to what High Maintenance is about, it follows a nameless marijuana dealer in Brooklyn who delivers his product via bicycle to stressed out clients in NYC. When casting for the second series, they kept all roles open to non-binary actors, and created a list of characters that consists of Latinx construction workers and women who “definitely own Birkenstocks and have energy crystals in their home”. There are a bunch of familiar faces on this show, like Margaret Cho and actors from Scandal, Orange is the New Black and Girls. 


  • Broad City (Final season airs on the 24th of January): Season five of Broad City sees Abbi dating a woman, which brings the total number of bisexual protagonists up to two. 

January (Movies)


  • Mary Queen of Scots (Released on the 18th of January): You might be surprised to hear this, but there’s quite a bit of “gay stuff” in Mary Queen of Scots. 

February (TV shows)

Source: Netflix UK & Ireland/YouTube

  • Russian Doll (February 1st on Netflix): Amy Poehler, Natasha Lyonne and Leslye Headland came together to make a brand new comedy about a young woman named Nadia (played by Lyonne, who you might know from But I’m A Cheerleader and OITNB) who is the guest of honour at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. 

 March (TV shows) 

  • Derry Girls (Date TBA): If, somehow, the gay plot twist at the end of Derry Girls has slipped your mind, here’s your reminder. There’s no doubt the show will tackle the subject a bit more in season two, which Lisa McGee announced will be released in early March.
  • The Good Fight (March 4th in the US, TBA over here): Featuring lesbian attorney Maia Rindell, The Good Fight is the spinoff of The Good Wife which depicts the woes of life under the Trump era and the effects that the #MeToo movement had on workplaces and marriages. 
  • For the People (March 7th in the US, TBA over here): Described by Autostraddle as Grey’s Anatomy with lawyers, basically. Might be one for those who can’t hack the surgery scenes in Grey’s Anatomy, but still live for the drama.

March (Movies)

  • Girl (March 15th): This movie tells the story of a 15-year-old transgender girl in Belgium who begins to train to become a ballerina while dealing with issues in her personal life. From her family, to her doctors and the other students at her Dutch-language school, this young girl is met largely with support, except for in one particular situation. 
  • Mapplethorpe: A biographical drama film detailing the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, through his career and up until his death in 1989. 

April (Movies)

  • Rocketman (May 24th): To some, this might just look like the longer version of the John Lewis ad. It’s a musical drama based on the life of Elton John, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin. 

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Kelly Earley

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