Here are a few films to help with your celebration of National Coming Out Day. Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Making Love (1982)
Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels, Dark Shadows) had hoped that this theatrical feature would elevate her career from TV star to big screen Goddess. Alas, that didn't happen, but “Making Love” was still a courageous film for 20th Century Fox to release in 1982.
All three stars, Jackson, Michael Ontkean and Harry Hamlin were big TV names at the time: they were cast in the film because no film star of the period was willing to go near this material.
Though set in that strange Hollywood netherworld where everyone has a great deal of money and big, beautiful homes, “Making Love” remains a sweet, sensitive tale.
Clair (Jackson) is a happily married woman who comes to the slow realization that her husband Zack (Ontkean) is indeed having an affair, though not with a woman, as she first thought.
Ontkean is superb as a supposedly happily married doctor whose life has been a struggle against his true sexual desires. He comes to terms with himself — and comes out — after his affair with moody novelist Bart (Hamlin), who teaches Zack how to love a man even though he's incapable of love himself.
Years ahead of its time, “Making Love” is as lovely a film as the title tune by Roberta Flack.
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
A sensational film set in London's Pakistani immigrant community. Upwardly mobile Omar (Gordon Warneke), lives with his hopelessly alcoholic dad. Wanting a better life, Omar decides to follow in the footsteps of his upwardly mobile if crude, womanzing Uncle Nasser.
Omar opens a laundromat with a little help from his uncle and makes a financial killing. Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis) an angry and violent young man who gets into a number of street brawls, accepts Omar's job offer in the hopes of finding a better life for himself. Soon, the two are making love in the laundromat's back room.
Omar is urged to find himself a wife, but he sticks with the tough, rage filled Johnny in this lovely story of finding true love and one's true self.
Desert Hearts (1985)
This shamelessly romantic love story is set in 1950s Nevada and was directed by out lesbian Donna Deitch.
Helen Shaver stars as Vivian, an emotionally repressed professor in town for a quickie divorce from a loveless marriage. There she meets Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a free spirited cowgirl who doesn't care if people know that she likes women. Cay's somewhat wild ways shocks Vivian, who falls in love with the younger woman in spite of herself.
The film's period flavor is beautifully established by the strategic placement of popular doo-wop and country songs of the era as Vivian slowly comes to love not only Cay, but her own true identity.
Beautiful Thing (1996)
A lovely crowd pleaser about Jamie and Ste (Glen Berry, Scott Neal) two teen boys in a poor neighborhood in London. Both come from broken homes, and Ste has to deal with beatings from his abusive dad. Their gradual coming out is caused the by deep love they come to feel for each other: watching them dance together to the tune of Dream a Little Dream of Me by Cass Elliot is one of gay cinema's all time great romantic moments.
Get Real (1998)
Newcomer Ben Silverstone is wonderful as Steve, a British teen who's deep in the closet. Classmate Johnny (Brad Gorton) is the handsome jock headed for Oxford. Johnny is willing to have sex with Steve secretly, but has no intention of coming out, ever. Though his first love breaks his heart, Steve learns to love and accept who he is, and to come out proudly. As Johnny proves himself to be a coward, Steve emerges as one of the finest, and most true-to-life gay characters we've ever seen.