There’s something about girl-on-girl that’s just so hard to look away from. That may be a bit crass but it’s there, appealing to men for centuries and more than a few women as well. In the early days of movies, it was all subtext, hard to truly showcase it in any way but as time has gone by, movies have been able to showcase more and more to show the full experience. Naturally, it’s popular in low-ranked movies like the classic “direct to video” genre and such flicks, more for exploitation than really serving the story.
But mainstream movies have been better showcasing some hot scenes, many truly amazing not just for the obvious passion but well-shot and acted out. These aren’t just brief lesbian moments like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair kissing in Cruel Intentions. These are for mainstream movies that boasted some amazingly well done girl-on-girl love scenes often featuring major actresses. While some may see it as exploitative, they are so well made that you can appreciate them no matter your sexuality and how Hollywood can truly honor, not trivialize, such a pairing while still making it steamy to see.
15 Wild Things
While the producers no doubt hoped this 1998 thriller would be a hit because of its plot, its success is due to its hot actresses getting together. Matt Dillon is a teacher accused of assaulting two students (Denise Richards and Neve Campbell) but Campbell's character admits on the stand that rich-girl Richards thought this up as payback for a bad grade. Dillon is freed and wins millions in a settlement… at which point it turns out the trio were in this together for a huge scam. From there, so many double and triple crosses abound that you need a scorecard to keep track.
14 When Night is Falling
This Canadian drama focuses on a professor (Pascale Bussieres) at a religious college who runs into a young circus performer (Rachael Crawford) who helps her cope with a personal tragedy. Crawford pursues her target, complete with firing an arrow with an invitation note through her window and a massage for an injured leg that quickly becomes sensual.
This 1998 HBO movie is what truly launched Angelina Jolie to stardom. She plays the title role of Gia Marie Carangi, considered the first modern super-model with various covers in the 1970s and ‘80s.
As a wild child herself, Jolie was well suited for the part, showing the reckless side of Gia and her desire to live life to the fullest no matter what. While she’s bisexual, her lesbian feelings are on full display for a segment where she agrees to pose nude for a photographer only if his makeup girl, Linda, stays to watch. Soon Linda is intrigued by Gia’s bold nude shoot and undresses herself, with the two sharing kisses through the fence Gia is posing on. It then cuts to them in bed together, Jolie clearly the aggressor with no problems showing off but Mitchell answering well.
12 High Art
A popular art house hit in 1998, this drama begins with Ally Sheedy as a drug-using artist making out with model Patricia Clarkson. Sheedy soon meets photo editor Radha Mitchell and the two immediately bond. Their eventual sex scene is well done, Mitchell tentative as it’s her first time and the usually aggressive Sheedy holding back a bit to ease her into it.
11 A Girl Thing
An HBO anthology film, this follows the lives of the various patients of a psychiatrist (Stockard Channing) as they handle things. Supermodel Elle Macpherson plays a lawyer who’s insecure about herself and unable to put her own personal life over her career. She agrees to go on a double date with a co-worker’s friend that doesn’t go well. She ends up sharing drinks with the other woman involved in the date, played by Kate Capshaw and the two find a connection.
10 Blue is the Warmest Color
This acclaimed 2013 French film stars Lea Seydoux as the blue-haired woman who catches the eye of a young student played by Adele Exarchopoulos. The two are soon connecting with each other and the movie explores their lives as lovers. The love scenes are raw and stunning, with positions you’d never imagine and shot with a feeling like you’re right there, hot and yet also intimate.
The actresses are obviously well into it as they go on, moving from the heat of initial lust to more comfortable as they become a couple. The movie follows their relationship through to its sad end but still hopeful for both women as they realize they share a connection that will never go away. It’s still a stunning achievement that provides one of the most realistic depictions of girl-on-girl sex on film while still working as a fine drama in its own right.
9 Mulholland Drive
Even by his own standards, David Lynch’s 2001 film is weird as hell. Supposedly, it was the pilot for an ABC series that Lynch later reworked but it’s hard to imagine any network able to use something so bizarre.
In her breakout role, Naomi Watts is Betty, a bright-eyed gal coming to Los Angeles to find fame and fortune. She runs into Rita (Laura Harring), an amnesiac who appeared to survive a murder attempt and is hiding out while trying to figure out what to do next. The two women are soon on a search for answers that leads to a murder and an ending that has confounded viewers ever since its release. But before that, we get the big addition to the theatrical version as a naked Harring comes to Watts in bed and soon joins her. It’s both funny (“Have you ever done this before?” “I can’t remember”) and romantic, Lynch shooting in nicely as they come together, two odd spirits uniting.
8 Better Than Chocolate
A popular film with lesbian audiences, this 1999 drama features Karyn Dwyer as a single gal who connects with Christina Cox’s artist. The two soon gel together with a moment of covering their naked bodies in paint and rolling around on a canvas. Their first few attempts are blocked by comedic stuff like Cox’s trailer carted away but they finally do connect while at a club, stealing away to the ladies’ room for a hot encounter.
Julianne Moore is well known for giving her all in her roles so it’s no surprise this 2009 film comes off so well. She plays a doctor convinced her husband (Liam Neeson) is having an affair so she hires a call girl (Amanda Seyfried) to “test” his commitment. It works as Seyfried tells Moore about their encounters with Moore clearly aroused by the idea of her husband with this younger woman.
6 If These Walls Could Talk 2
This 2000 HBO movie is an anthology of three tales of lesbian relationships in different times and boasts not one but two very notable sex scenes. First, Michelle Williams plays a feminist lesbian in the 1960s whose group mocks Chloe Sevingy, who dresses in male clothes and plays up the butch idea. However, the two soon bond leading to a fine sex session in their bedroom with Sevingy the aggressor who slowly opens up while Williams responds wonderfully, all excellently shot to enhance the eroticism.
5 Head in the Clouds
Penelope Cruz and Charlize Theron. Do you need to know more? This 2004 drama has Theron as a woman told by a fortuneteller she won’t live past 35 so lives things to the fullest. In 1930s Paris, she’s living with a former flame who’s dating his model (Cruz) and the trio soon are living together. The scene of Theron and Cruz sharing a dance in a club is practically a sex scene in itself as they get closer, exchanging smoldering glances before Cruz strips down for Theron and her boyfriend.
4 Desert Hearts
When Showtime created the lesbian drama The L Word, the producers had the actresses watch this 1985 movie for research. There’s a good reason for it as it showcases a wonderfully laid-out blossoming romance between Vivian (Helen Shaver), a divorced woman driving through the west in 1959 and Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a free-spirited casino worker. In just a few meetings such as shopping in Reno, the connection is clear although both seem to want to deny it.
3 Black Swan
A fascinating psychological study, this 2010 movie features Natalie Portman in her Oscar-winning performance as an aspiring ballerina whose quest for fame drives her to a breakdown. She’s soon in competition for a key role with Mila Kunis as a rival but the two start bonding over some partying and even drug use, which does little to help Portman’s state of mind.
Before they blew away moviegoers with The Matrix, the Wachowskis got attention for this 1996 crime thriller. Corky (Gina Gershon) is a recently paroled con, tough and hard with tattoos, recently hired as the handywoman for a building. Violet (Jennifer Tilly) is the moll of a small-time gangster (Joe Pantoliano) living in the building. Meeting in an elevator, it’s lust at first sight between the duo as Violet comes over to visit Corky with a bottle of wine.
1 The Hunger
A groundbreaker in so many ways, Tony’s Scott’s 1983 film is a moody and gripping take on the vampire mythos as Catherine Deneuve is Miriam, an immortal vampire living in New York with her current companion David Bowie. However, Bowie realizes that Miriam lied to him as he does have eternal life but not eternal youth. He seeks out Sarah (Susan Sarandon), a blood specialist, leading to the stunning sequence where he ages forty years in just an hour in her waiting room. Eventually, he ends up with all of Miriam’s past companions, a living corpse locked in a coffin. Seeking answers, Sarah meets with Miriam and both women are intrigued with each other.
This sets up the sequence that has earned raves for over thirty years. The two women talk and chat, getting closer as Sarah spills wine onto her blouse. As Miriam watches, Sarah pulls her top off, revealing her amazing body. As the opera song “The Flower Duet” plays, the two women fall into bed with each other, satin curtains blocking some view but what we see still amazingly well done, the passion of the two women flowing off the screen, Scott giving it an air perfectly in tune with the music. It’s still a fantastic viewing thanks to the two women involved and a must-see for fans of lesbian cinema and horror films alike.
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