Carol is a lesbian romance classic (duh), but sometimes we just want to kick back and watch girls like us fall in love without fear of death, divorce, or unemployment. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, here are 10 romantic comedies featuring queer women and their families, friends, and foes—plus wacky misunderstandings and cute kisses. Some are seasonal, some angsty, some slapstick, but all know the impact a pretty lady can make. Grab the popcorn!
Lez Bomb (2018)
I recently interviewed Lez Bomb director and star Jenna Laurenzo, and I’m pleased to report that she’s just as delightful as her queer holiday rom-com. Laurenzo’s character, Lauren, wants to deliver a Thanksgiving one-two punch: introduce her girlfriend Hailey (Caitlin Mehner) to her boisterous extended family, and, well, come out of the closet. Of course, turkey-themed shenanigans ensue. Featuring a cast of charming character actors like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Kevin Pollak as Lauren’s pie-loving dad, Lez Bomb will hit you right in the feels.
Happiest Season (2019)
Okay, it’s still in pre-production. But really, a lesbian holiday rom-com directed and co-written by But I’m a Cheerleader’s Clea DuVall and starring Kristen Stewart, whom we’ve been crushing on since she Resting Bitch-Faced her way through Twilight red carpets? How can the forthcoming Happiest Season not be an instant classic? Unlike Lez Bomb, the protagonist is already out to her parents, but her partner isn’t, which throws a glitch into surprise proposal plans. Naturally, there’s family drama, and hopefully some giggles along the way. Produced by Sony’s TriStar Pictures, Happiest Season is set to go mainstream, which even in 2018, is huge for an LGBTQ film.
The Feels (2017)
Anyone who saw her on EastSiders or Fresh Off the Boat spotted Constance Wu’s star power early on. Thanks to her stunning lead performance in Crazy Rich Asians, Wu is now a bona fide A-lister, though she still takes her adorable pet bunny to press junkets. Before Wu was a household name, she starred in The Feels, a movie about a lesbian bachelorette weekend. Road trips. Cabins. Orgasm talk. Comfy shirts. According to IMDb, the film was shot in only 12 days and was completely improvised. With Wu at the helm, it’s nothing short of awesome.
Signature Move (2017)
As a loyal Chicagoan, I love any pop culture tied to my home. Signature Move was set, filmed and premiered in the Windy City, and featured many local actors (some of whom I know!). Even better, it’s women-penned and -directed and follows the romance of Zaynab, who is a Pakistani Muslim, and her new crush Alma, who is Mexican. Not only is Signature Move diverse, but it also features women wrestling, which is still difficult to find even after GLOW premiered. The poster is gorgeous, the plot is compelling, and the setting is gritty and authentic. What more can you ask for in a lesbian rom-com?
Puccini for Beginners (2006)
This movie is worth watching just to see Elizabeth Reaser and Gretchen Mol in bed together. Reaser’s Allegra is a struggling queer writer in New York, suffering from a bad breakup and a broken heart. She finds herself dating two people: Philip (Justin Kirk) and Grace (Gretchen Mol) who have a complicated history of their own, and soon Allegra’s fear of commitment is back in full force. Besides having a gorgeous score (Allegra is a big opera fan), Puccini features Mol at her wittiest and sunniest, begging the timeless question: Why did she never attain the stardom she deserved?
Imagine Me & You (2005)
Back in my blogger days, I penned a post on this little gem. I’ll spare you the crap writing, but my feelings remain the same: Imagine Me & You is the absolute sweetest. Watching bride-to-be Rachel (Piper Perabo) fall for florist Luce (Lena Headey pre-Cersei) is nothing short of adorable, but with it come the complications of a woman who previously thought she was straight. Also, her intended, Hector (Matthew Goode) isn’t a bad guy; he’s actually very nice—just not the one for her. The stolen glances, goofy dance scenes, and pastel colors are lovely and whimsical, and the emotional conflict is real.
Duck Butter (2018)
Queer darling Alia Shawkat co-penned this script, originally about a man and woman having sex every hour on the hour to find intimacy. When Shawkat met with male actors, most were very uncomfortable with the idea, so she and writing partner Miguel Arteta (who also directed) changed the man to a woman. And naturally, Duck Butter is better, funnier, and sexier for it. Shawkat and Laia Costa’s characters meet in a club and decide to get down hourly as a new way to get to know one another. With an all-star cast that includes Mae Whitman, Kumail Nanjiani, and the Duplass brothers, Duck Butter is a rom-com like you’ve never seen.
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001)
Love it or hate it, this early-aughts indie was a strong introduction to the world of queer female love stories. It wasn’t a period piece. No one died. And (spoiler alert) maybe the women didn’t end up together, but they were both happy. Sexuality is fluid and experimentation is valid and co-writers Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen, who also starred, proved both with the story of two women exploring queer sex and identity. The title character (Westfeldt) coming out to her overbearing Jewish mother (the always glorious Tovah Feldshuh) remains one of the sweetest revelations I’ve ever witnessed onscreen.
Girltrash: All Night Long (2014)
I had to include this one based on the title alone. That, and I’m a sucker for movies that take place in one crazy night. That, and feminist dynamo Clementine Ford appears. Win, win, huge win. Queer bands in battle, drunk sorority girls, ex-cons with scores to settle, and a girl who just wants to hook up with her cute crush: Girltrash has it all. Set among the LGBTQ subculture of Los Angeles, it’s hilarious, sweet, and more than a little bit dark. Plus, the snappy dialogue features the phrase “good gay egg,” which I’m now going to try to use every day.
Almost Adults (2016)
Our friends at Autostraddle called Almost Adults “a cute lesbian movie to add to the very short list of actually good lesbian movies.” Funded entirely online, the film isn’t technically a romantic comedy but explores the changing friendship between a newly-out Mackenzie (Elise Bauman) and her straight bestie Cassie (Natasha Negovanlis), who’s breaking up with her boyfriend as they navigate their first year of college and newfound existential angst. Almost Adults is a girl-centric, coming-of-age story for the new millennium, and it features twists and turns you wouldn’t expect. Coming out isn’t the main issue: growing up is. And who fits into the “first love” category more than your childhood BFF?
Most of these movies are available on streaming platforms. And as winter descends, there’s no better time to curl up in front of the TV with the snack—and lady friend—of your choice. (Or more than one of each.) Whether you’re in the mood for love triangles, complex friendships, or all-night parties, these 10 flicks will make you laugh and soothe your soul.