Summer is more than just a time of year, but a one-of-a-kind feeling. You know what I’m talking about — that exciting atmosphere where anything seems possible, and all inhibitions are lost. Those blissful sensations have the ability to open the door to new experiences, unforgettable moments and life-altering connections — like a sexy Sapphic love connection. Over the years, a small selection of lesbian romance films have captured that exact energy, delivering a nostalgia that only summertime can conjure.
Here are six films that not only celebrate lesbian love, but also feature the sun-soaked vibes we can’t get enough of.
“Desert Hearts” (1985)
Most of the lesbian movies we know and love today wouldn’t exist without “Desert Hearts,” which is considered the first film to depict lesbian romance in a positive light. Set during 1959, English professor Vivian (Helen Shaver), who hasn’t yet explored her sexuality, travels to Reno and becomes mutually attracted to the free-spirited Cay (Patricia Charbonneau). Their connection only gets more affecting as it deepens, demonstrating why Donna Deitch’s mesmerizing film deserves to be called a trailblazer.
“The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love” (1995)
Before Laurel Holloman became known as “The L Word”’s Tina Kennard, she played Randy Dean, a teenage outcast who eventually begins a relationship with Evie (Nicole Ari Parker), one of the most popular girls at their school. While they come from different economic backgrounds, it never conflicts with the romance that naturally blossoms between them. Filled with charming dialogue and sweet outdoorsy moments, Maria Maggenti’s rom-com is one of the most heartwarming lesbian films out there.
“My Summer of Love” (2004)
Gorgeous meadows and waterfalls juxtapose this moody tale of betrayal. After a chance meeting, Mona (Natalie Press) and Tamsin (Emily Blunt) bond over their problems, cause trouble and fall in love over the course of a Yorkshire summer. The location of Paweł Pawlikowski’s drama might be all that makes it worth watching, but the film’s depiction of teenage first love is full of emotion nonetheless. “My Summer of Love” also serves as the feature film debut for Blunt, who I would love to see play gay again at any given time.
“Kiss Me” (2011)
The Nordic landscape featured in Alexandra-Therese Keining’s “Kiss Me” is just as beautiful as its same-sex romance. When Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez), who is engaged, meets Frida (Liv Mjönes), an unexpected connection ignites between them. There’s a few classic tropes in use, but they never detract from the film’s overall allure. Exhilarating and intimate, “Kiss Me” is a wonderful exploration of irresistible attraction.
“The Summer of Sangailė” (2015)
Directed by Alantė Kavaitė, “The Summer of Sangailė”’s titular character (Julija Steponaitytė) dreams of flying stunt planes, but vertigo and self-doubt hinder her from doing so. At an air show, she meets Austė (Aistė Diržiūtė), and the two girls embark on a passionate summer romance. With breathtaking cinematography and well-crafted character development, this Lithuanian lesbian film is a rumination on inner strength, liberation and how love can inspire anyone to conquer their fears.
French film “Summertime” is an enjoyable love story that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Circa 1971, farm worker Delphine (Izïa Higelin) meets city girl and radical feminist Carole (Cécile de France), and romance quickly emerges. As their relationship continues, Carole decides to join Delphine on her family’s farm, but she soon realizes that coming out to her parents won’t be easy. Though Catherine Corsini’s film takes a while to reach its main conflict, it’s an excellent display of courage within its characters internally, and when they fight for the love that’s between them.
What is your favorite summer-themed lesbian film? Let us know in the comments!