It’s 1922, socialite and novelist Vita Sackville-West (a vibrant Gemma Arterton) has set her sights on befriending the writer Virginia Woolf (a pitch perfect Elizabeth Debicki), hoping she can learn how to develop her own writing style and be taken seriously by the literary establishment. But from the moment Vita lays eyes on the sensual movements of a dancing Virginia at one of the Bloomsbury Group’s legendary parties, it’s clear there is more to Vita’s intent than simple friendship. An ardent and blatant seduction begins. Vita makes impulsive gestures to the taciturn and resistant Virginia, her impassioned words finally breaking through Woolf’s defences, which find the acclaimed author giving in to previously unknown desires. But their love, even in this bohemian, polyamorous world, is far from simple. With familial pressures mounting on all sides for both to abandon their affair, it is Virginia who makes the biggest declaration, translating her feelings for Vita into her most celebrated novel, Orlando, ensuring their iconic relationship would be remembered for all time.
Chanya Button (Burn, Burn, Burn) co-wrote the script with Eileen Atkins (who adapts her own stage play, based on the lovers’ letters) and has crafted a beautiful romance featuring two powerful performances, with scenes that crackle with tension and the longing that develops within an all-consuming love affair
Drama 2019 105 mins Director: Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
In this playful, dark comedy a dominatrix offers a widower an unexpected chance for sexual and psychological release.
Romance 2020 81 mins Director: Rachel Hirons
Alexandra Roach (Utopia) and George MacKay (1917) play a couple hopelessly navigating the world of millennial dating, in Rachel Hirons’ distinctly filthy and cringe-heavy comedy.
Drama 1987 0 mins Director: Emile Ardolino
A retro, music-filled classic about teen romances and strict attitudes to sex.
Comedy 2019 108 mins Director: Takashi Miike
A terminally-ill boxer, a runaway call girl, a double-crossing drugs heist and a gang war; Takashi Miike doesn’t do things by halves.
Romance 2019 84 mins Director: Lucio Castro
A chance encounter reconnects two men in this heart-breaking lament on love, lust and missed opportunities.
Drama 2019 90 mins Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green
Budding writer Ayanna’s life is transformed over the course of one hot Harlem summer, when a handsome and mysterious stranger walks into her life.
LGBTIQ+ Best of 2019
Drama 2017 92 mins Director: Desiree Akhavan
Desiree Akhavan’s award-winning follow-up to Appropriate Behaviour, with Chloë Grace Moretz as a teen sent to a gay conversion camp.
Drama 2018 99 mins Director: Camille Vidal-Naquet
The daily misfortunes of a lonesome rent boy are laid bare in this tough but tender portrait of life on the fringes of society.
Drama 2018 83 mins Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Romantic sparks fly between the daughters of two opposing politicians in Wanuri Kahiu’s neon-bright story of forbidden love in Kenya.
Drama 2018 95 mins Director: Darko Štante
A teenage tearaway is forced to face up to his actions and confront his burgeoning sexuality, in this provocative Slovenian coming-of-age tale.
Drama 2018 102 mins Director: Ondi Timoner
Matt Smith stars as legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in this full-frontal homage to the devilish bad boy, whose sex life fuelled his career.
Drama 2019 111 mins Director: Marco Berger
A tentative friendship blossoms into a beautiful romance in this erotically-charged yet disarmingly sweet-natured offering from Marco Berger (Taekwondo).
Featuring Gemma Arterton
Drama 2017 101 mins Director: Dominic Savage
A remarkable central performance from Gemma Arterton shines through this perceptive, deeply compassionate portrait of a woman on the road to becoming herself.
Comedy 2016 117 mins Director: Lone Scherfig
Gemma Arterton sparkles in this witty drama set in the world of propaganda filmmaking during WWII, from director Lone Scherfig (The Riot Club, An Education).
Comedy 2010 111 mins Director: Stephen Frears
The return of beautiful journalist Tamara Drewe (Gemma Arterton) awakens destructive passions in a Dorset village.
Comedy 2014 108 mins Director: Justin Simien
The diversification of an all-black residence hall forces a group of African-American university students to take a stand on their own cultural beliefs and identities.
Historical drama 2019 126 mins Director: Todd Haynes
Mark Ruffalo plays an attorney trying to uncover the corporate scandal of a chemical company poisoning a local community, in this searching ecological drama from Todd Haynes (Safe, Carol).
Drama 2019 89 mins Director: Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is on typically thought-provoking form, dramatising the work of a ‘rent-a-relative’ service, in this Tokyo-set meditation on contemporary alienation.
Drama 2019 109 mins Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Iceland’s finest actor Ingvar Sigurðsson gives a heart-breaking and Cannes award-winning performance as widowed cop who becomes increasingly obsessed with his wife’s death.
Documentary 2020 97 mins Director: Kirby Dick
A searing exploration of the costs of coming forward, turning up the volume on one of the biggest #MeToo stories in the music industry.
Drama 2019 112 mins Director: Thomas Clay
The wife of a puritanical farmer seems resigned to her lot, until she has her head turned by the arrival of a young couple in Thomas Clay’s provocative period drama.