A list of Lesbian Period Dramas

A list of upcoming lesbian period dramas and already released historical/biographical movies – or fictional works set in a past time period – to watch or keep an eye on.

Elisa & Marcela is a 2019 Spanish biographical drama film directed by Isabel Coixet. The film tells the story of Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Marcela Gracia Ibeas, two women who got married in 1901 in the first same-sex marriage to be recorded in Spain. Their union take place after the Imperial era. They attempted to get married in A Coruña (Galicia, Spain). To achieve it Elisa had to adopt a male identity: Mario Sánchez, as listed on the marriage certificate.


Vita and Virginia is a 2019 British biographical romance drama film directed by Chanya Button. The screenplay, written by Button and Eileen Atkins, is adapted from the 1992 play Vita & Virginia by Atkins. The film stars Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, and Isabella Rossellini. Set in the 1920s, Vita and Virginia tells the story of the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. In 1922, when Vita receives an invitation their paths crossed in Bloomsbury with Virginia. Their romance overcomes all social boundaries, Virginia’s mental health struggles Vita’s recklessness and neither will ever be the same without the other.


Tell It to the Bees is 2018 British drama film directed by Annabel Jankel and starring Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger. The screenplay by Henrietta and Jessica Ashworth is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Fiona Shaw. A single mother Lydia (Holliday Grainger) who is abandoned by her husband, meets the small village’s Doctor Jean Markham (Anna Paquin) who has recently returned to her hometown when Lydia’s son Charlie is taken to the doctor after being bullied in school. When Lydia and Charlie are evicted because of Lydia’s earnings from her work are not adequate to pay the rent, Jean invites them to stay in her home and she and Lydia soon develop a friendship and something more.


Wild Nights with Emily is a 2018 American biographical comedy film starring Molly Shannon as Emily Dickinson. It was written & directed by Madeleine Olnek. This is a dramatic comedy about Emily Dickinson’s life as a writer, her attempts to get published, and her vivacious, irreverent side that was covered up for years, most notably, her lifelong romantic relationship with another woman, dispelling the myth that she was an unloved recluse once and for all.


Colette is a 2018 biographical drama film directed by Wash Westmoreland, from a screenplay by Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, based upon the life of the French novelist Colette. It stars Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denise Gough. After marrying a successful Parisian writer, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.


The Favourite is a 2018 historical period comedy-drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah Churchill governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail Masham arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let anyone stand in her way.


Mystère à la Tour Eiffel is a French TV movie directed by Léa Fazer and broadcast on January 11, 2017 on France 2. This is the second episode of the series Mystère à Paris, which is a collection of French anthology telefilms. These fictions have for common point to infuse the thriller codes in Paris of the Belle Epoque. The daughter of one of the architects who built the Eiffel Tower gets framed for a murder that has taken place there, so she and her girlfriend embark on a quest across Paris to solve the mystery.


The Girl King is a 2015 biographical drama about Christina, Queen of Sweden. It was directed by Mika Kaurismäki and written by Michel Marc Bouchard who wrote his stage play Christine, La Reine-Garçon. An enigmatic young woman in conflict – torn between reason and passion; between her woman’s body and being raised as a prince; between the ancient and modern worlds and between the brilliance of her educated mind and the conservative forces around her. Crowned Queen at the age of six, Kristina of Sweden was thrust into a labyrinth of power and tradition, where a court of austere, Lutheran men pressure her to marry and produce an heir to fulfill her destiny. She finds sanctuary and love with her lady-in-waiting, the beautiful and elegant, countess Ebba Sparre, although the Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, pressures her to pair with his son, Johan. Soon the forces around the Queen realize that Ebba is the key to controlling her, but they underestimate Kristina’s brilliant mind and her drive to be free.


Farewell, My Queen is a 2012 French drama film directed by Benoît Jacquot and based on the novel of the same name by Chantal Thomas, who won the Prix Femina in 2002. It gives a fictional account of the last days of Marie Antoinette in power seen through the eyes of Sidonie Laborde, a young servant who reads aloud to the queen. The film stars Diane Kruger as the Queen, Léa Seydoux, and Virginie Ledoyen. This is a look at the platonic relationship between Marie Antoinette and one of her female readers during the first days of the French Revolution.


The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a 2010 British television biographical drama film about the 19th century Yorkshire landowner Anne Lister. It was directed by James Kent and starred Maxine Peake as Lister. The script by Jane English drew from Lister’s diaries, written in code, and decoded many years after her death. The story follows Lister’s lesbian relationships and her independent lifestyle as an industrialist. It was filmed in late 2009 in various locations in Yorkshire. The film received its world premiere screening when it opened the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in March 2010. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom by the BBC.


Viola di mare, also known as The Sea Purple, is a 2009 Italian romance drama film directed by Donatella Maiorca. It is based on the non-fiction novel Minchia di re written by Giacomo Pilati. The film tells the love story between Angela and Sara in 19th-century Sicily (circa 1860, during the Expedition of the Thousand). To survive the scandal, Angela’s family winds up passing her off as a boy, going so far as to alter her birth certificate. Angela cuts her hair short and hides her own femininity, in defiance of the mentality of the place.


Affinity is a 2008 UK film adaptation of Sarah Waters’ 1999 novel of the same name; directed by Tim Fywell. Affinity is set in Victorian England; the story of an upper-class woman, Margare, who becomes an official “Visitor” to a woman’s prison; however, she becomes emotionally attached to one of the inmates, Selina. As the story progresses through Selina’s shady background, and Margaret’s dislike of her home life; a plot to break out of the prison develops. But just what the plan is, and who calls the shots is yet to be discovered.


Fingersmith is a two-part BBC mini-series that was televised in 2005. The story, which is an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Man Booker Prize nominated novel, follows the meeting of two very different young women and what madness ensues. Directed by Aisling Walsh, it stars Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Elaine Cassidy, Rupert Evans and Charles Dance. The lives of two young women collide in Victorian England when a group of thieves concoct an elaborate scam to defraud a young heiress of her inheritance. The story alternates between the twisting back alleyways of Dickensian London and the cloistered gloom of a Gothic mansion in 1862.


Tipping the Velvet is a 2002 BBC television drama serial based on the best-selling debut novel by Sarah Waters of the same name. It originally screened in three episodes on BBC Two and was produced for the BBC by the independent production company Sally Head Productions. It stars Rachael Stirling, Keeley Hawes, and Jodhi May. Set in the 1890’s, tells the lesbian love affair between male impersonator music hall star Kitty Butler and Nan Astley.

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