The Out List // American Film Review

Welcome to Queer Fudanshi! Let’s talk. Today, we’re going to talk about The Out List.

The Out List is an HBO documentary film that was released in 2013. The film interviews several LGBT people, both celebrities and lay people, about their life’s trials and triumphs concerning their Queer lives. Some people that were interviewed are Neil Patrick Harris, Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres, Lupe Valdez, R. Clark Cooper and more.

An official synopsis and more information about the film can be found here on the project’s official website.

The Trailer

My Thoughts Before Watching

I put this on the schedule because it was something random and new to me. I saw Neil Patrick Harris’s face, and read the description and was like, “yeah, I’ll watch this.”

This is The Out List.

The Talk (Spoilers Ahead):


This is a movie about LGBT visibility. In this film you hear stories, see faces, and gain role models. I love how this film isn’t just about big name celebrities. There was also a sheriff, a politician, a teacher, and a financial author as well as many others.

With this movie I learned about a lot of successful people and their history. I took note of their organizations, protests, creative works, and other accomplishments. This is just as much about Queer culture as it is about these specific Queer people.

Editing and Tone


In addition, I have to say that this film was edited very well. First, I noticed a wonderful editing cut which used incoming audio while keeping the B-roll from the earlier conversation going. Also, the very tone of The Out List shifted smoothly from person to person. The editor did a wonderful job of arranging the different interviewees in a way that the film flowed nicely.

I love how The Out List started in this creative space with actors and writers before shifting into this historical and activist-centric perspective. The Playwright Larry Kramer particularly was powerful as he talked about the Act UP Wall Street Protests.

Adding to that, every person had a different story, fell, and presence. Wanda Sykes was hilarious, Larry Kramer was powerful, while Christie Quinn was personable and compelling.

Gay Marriage


In addition, I love that many of the interviewees talked about their loved ones and about gay marriage. I looked it up and this movie was released in 2013 before the US Supreme Courts decision to make Gay Marriage legal throughout the country. I feel this film was in part created to discuss gay marriage and combat the homophobic Prop8. While I of course support that, I was just happy to see all the lovely queer couples that were loving each other. That was great representation to me.

Favorite Lines


Lastly, here are a few of my favorite lines from the movie:

  • “Why can’t we just be validated for being human beings and being who we are? We need to say it’s ok to be who we are.” – Lupe Valdez
  • “Do gay kids value their predecessors? No… We started your gay rights!” – Lady Bunny
  • “We need to understand we’re all us.” – Cynthia Nixon

In Conclusion

This was a refreshing documentary/interview film full of compelling stories from inspiring people. I highly suggest if you have an hour to go seek out this film on Netflix or anywhere else you can find it. It’s full of culture, history, and role models.

My rating for The Out List is 4 stars out of 5. What’s yours?