“I gave you unrestricted access to our room for TWENTY SEVEN MINUTES. What the fuck were you doing?”
Story: BFFs Noah and Howie (Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang, playing fictionalized versions of their true selves) head to their yearly summer week at Fire Island, to relax, have fun, and reconnect with their chosen family, headed by unofficial matriarch Erin (Margaret Cho). But when Howie starts to crush on Charlie, a wealthier-than-thou guy, Noah gets bad vibes from Charlie’s BFF Will. Hey; it’s a truth universally acknowledged that when a bunch of single men of good(?) fortune get together at Fire Island, misadventure – and love(? Pt2) – won’t be wanting. Or something like that.
Genre I’d put it in: Fun Inclusive Rom-coms Perfect For Summer Viewing
Release Date: 2022
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Loosely based on the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Gotta say: Before I get into this review I want to let you know that while I am not a gay dude, this film has all the things that would make me predisposed to absolutely love it. Austen riff? Check. Gorgeous beachy location? Check. Margaret Cho and Bowen Yang? Checkity check. Now let’s break down why I think you’d like this movie. Ready? Let’s go.
I loved this movie. Like, I’m gonna put this ish on loop this weekend, loved this movie. From the locations set on Fire Island NY to the wide range of characterizations with nary a stereotype to be had (okay, so maybe Keegan is a bit too much, but see the next paragraph for why that’s cool…), Island is a good time wrapped up in a touching, heartfelt story of friendship, camaraderie, and social divides that’s well worth your time. It’s as if Jane Austen herself decided to hop into screenwriter/star Booster’s brain and drag Pride and Prejudice into the 21st Century. And I say thank you. Just when I thought I’d already seen every possible permutation of P&P, Island stops me and says hold my molly. Which reminds me – Island pulls no punches when it comes to the lives of its young, fun-loving characters. So do come to this table knowing that you’ll either roll with it, or be schooled. Don’t let that feel like a warning, it’s just a 411, and if you’re new here, you’ll quickly bond with these characters. (And if you’re like me, be all sorts of jealous of those fantastic house parties. Cheese? Yes PLEASE.)
Characters? Okay, It’s time for the breakdown: we’ve got Noah/Elizabeth, Howie/Jane, Will/Darcy, Charlie/Charles, Erin/Mrs. Bennet, Luke/Lydia, Keegan/Kitty, and a fantastically low-key Torian Miler as Max/Mary. More would be a bit of spoilerage, and anyway, the real fun is seeing how these modern-day characters echo their Regency counterparts in their own indominable ways. Meanwhile, in the midst of the fun – and let’s face it, the watching out for Austen references – there’s soul in this story. This is some real, honest feelings these characters are throwing down. For folks who aren’t LGBTQIA/don’t truly know anyone in that alphabet? It’s a helluva deep dive into the heart and soul of these characters. For folks who know? It’s powerful stuff that’s brought to life by the incredibly talented cast of in a way that feels true. It’s incredible. Seriously, this cast is amazing, and I want to see them in so much more.
All that, and this film is stuffed full of classic tunes that’ll have you bouncing in your seat…or you’re dead inside y’all. But Jay Wadley’s score is also fire, pun not intended, but hell let’s roll. Need more convincing? Bitch, the movie’s end credits play out to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer, in a way that had me happy crying. What more could you want? Nothing. That’s what you need. Absolutely nothing more than the wonderful journey Island took you on. This movie has got all the summer-ness, romance-ness, and fun-ness. So watch. You’re welcome-ness.
#Protip: Want to feel like you’re on the island? Grab your sunscreen and check out this fantastic, fabulous, and fun 2021 Invasion vid from SuperFriends NYC! (Be sure to read the video description for some important LGBTQIA history!)