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Movie Review

Release Date: 06/03/22 [Hulu]

Genre: Comedy/LGTBQ+/Romance

Studio: Searchlight Pictures


"A pair of best friends set out to have a legendary week-long summer vacation with the help of cheap rosé and a group of eclectic friends."


Last year, two movies made headlines by being the first of their kind to support all openly LGBTQ+ cast members, and the first one to be released, Fire Island, does not disappoint. Filled with pool parties, day drinking, and club dancing, anyone can feel as if they’ve been taken on vacation with a group of friends while watching this film. The scenarios that the characters in Fire Island are thrown into are incredibly realistic in the queer community, even if at times they are incredibly frustrating to watch and hindered by cliché and mediocre writing. However, the ensemble of bright, nuanced, and complex characters is what really brings this film to life, and create the captivating viewing experience that is hyper realistic to anyone who’s visited a queer space, even if it’s just a gay bar.


Noah (Joel Kim Booster) and Howie (Bowen Yang) accompanied by a few other friends take their yearly trip to Fire Island, a common gay vacation spot, to unwind and have a week filled with fun. Both are unhappy with their dating lives, with Noah having turned to casual hookups and sex, thinking that no one would want to date him anyway, and Howie desperately wanting to find someone he wants to connect with. Later, they meet another group of friends (Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, and Nick Adams), and begin spending time with them, as tensions rise and romance begins to bloom.


It’s a pretty common set up for just about any rom-com, and many of the situations they’re thrown into are incredibly predictable. The writing of the film definitely falls into the predictable tropes of the genre, and is filled with some cliché writing and scenes that feel a little bit too staged with some awkwardly written dialogue. Many of the scenarios and scenes seem to end up going in circles, and sometimes don’t even feel as if they’re going anywhere. This is Kim Booster's first credit as a film writer, as opposed to the stand-up comedy or comedy sketches that he usually writes, and you can tell it’s his first crack at it. It’s far from terrible, and “good” would be an adequate descriptor of the screenplay, but it leaves room for more to be desired.


That being said, it’s easy enough to swallow as a member of the LGBTQ+ community because I’ve been in situations exactly like it, with people exactly like it before. While it can be incredibly frustrating at first, it later becomes incredibly impressive how writer and star Kim Booster was able to craft these scenarios that are both hyper-realistic and fit so effortlessly into the rom-com formula. This is only further enhanced by the incredibly dynamic cast of characters that Kim Booster has created as well. Similar to the scenarios, each character feels like someone I would know in real life, including everything that makes them both endearing and incredibly frustrating to deal with. Kim Booster’s Noah is a sad reality at what a sex-driven community can do to people who already don’t have much love for themselves. Yang’s Howie is the elitist victim who claims “I’m looking for a real connection, I’m not like other gays who only care about sex,” and Ricamora perfectly fits into the predjudiced classist who sees himself as above those he meets simply because of his wealth status. Every character is incredibly interesting to unpack, and that only begins to touch on the incredible performances by each of these cast members who are able to really breathe life into these characters.

While it might be frustrating at times, and cliché at others, Fire Island is an astounding look into how different pockets of the gay community function and interact with each other, and it’s fascinating to begin to unpack the relationships between characters and their own personalities. It’s a stimulating watch for anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, and an incredible study, learning experience, and challenge for anyone who’s outside of it. Ultimately, it’s a film that demands to be watched by just about anyone.

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