20 LGBTQIA+ stories with upbeat endings

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8. Show Me Love

In quite a few settings in the U.S., Scandinavian countries are often spoken of as something of a liberal paradise. Health care is free, parental leave is generous, and everyone is generally happy and accepting. Then again, if you’re on the other end of the political spectrum, it may just seem like a socialist prison.

Of course, humans being humans and life being life, things are rarely so simple. Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark are places with long histories and complex cultures that transcend mere notions of utopia or dystopia.

The films and other artworks of these countries contain hints to their complex social systems. Take the example of LGBTQIA+ films, which show that Scandinavian people may also have a difficult time coming out and living in the open.

In Show Me Love, a 1998 Swedish film, two girls face just such a time. Agnes and Elin live in a small town. Agnes is a depressed outcast. Elin is popular and extroverted, but can’t shake the feeling that she’s missing something from her life.

A depressing birthday party

Agnes’ parents worry about her. In an attempt to cheer her up and perhaps kickstart her social life, they throw a 16th birthday party for their young daughter. Few people show up, humiliating Agnes. Elin arrives in an attempt to avoid going to another party and kisses Agnes on a dare. Elin runs out, further embarrassing the increasingly depressed Agnes.

However, Elin proves that she isn’t all bad by apologizing to Agnes. The two strike up a friendship which quickly turns into something more. The people around them are hardly accepting. When the duo attempt to hitchhike to Stockholm, the driver catches on and orders the two out of his car. Elin and Agnes — but Elin especially — have a hard time accepting their relationship and coming out to everyone in town. It’s a stressful time, to be sure, but one that ends on a distinctly hopeful note.