Someone take me to the beach where you find true love ASAP!
It’s extremely appropriate that my review of Fire Island (2022) should come out during Pride season, a time of celebration, because this review marks my 300th REVIEW!! You guys!! This is fucking incredible. When I started this blog I would have been impressed if I made it to like 50 reviews. So to be 300 in and still going strong blows my mind. I sincerely thank each and every one of you for the support, feedback and views. It means everything to me and I certainly wouldn’t be here without you. THANKS SO MUCH! Here’s to 300 more!! While I had a great time watching this refreshing comedy, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed in it only because I know how close it is to being something truly sensational and revolutionary.
Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” Fire Island follows a group of friends as they spend a week-long summer vacation on the legendary gay vacation spot. Noah, an eternal bachelor, strives to help his friend Howie find love but unexpectedly may have run into Mr. Right himself.
Before watching this movie I didn’t know very much about it. All I knew was that it was original content which I’m always down for. Original content with queer characters in the spotlight. Original content with queer characters in the spotlight who are played by actual queer actors and given dialogue written by an actual queer writer! Seriously, a movie like this is a rarity and we need to appreciate and support that it got made at all. Even within the first two minutes I can tell such a difference in the writing between this, something actually written by and starring queer people, and some nonsense that a big studio with a cast and crew full of heterosexuals would push out. It’s refreshing. It’s so damn realistic! These are real conversations and experiences that mirror the realities of gay people. It’s extremely common that queer characters in mainstream movies are watered down, sexless, stereotypical archetypes and that isn’t the case in this movie at all. Fire Island gives you accurate representations of queer people in a movie that manages to at times still be heartwarming and hilarious.
Fire Island is really cute and occasionally had me laughing out loud, but I found myself just really liking it when I wish I could say that I LOVED it. I think where this movie fails is that it tries to be too serious (hello, a scene of someone writing a somber letter on an deserted beach on a grey day) and doesn’t lean into the fun that easily could have been had with this premise. The tone is just so melancholy. I think if they had strived to be more like Clueless (1995), which is a unique, faithful, silly and beloved adaptation of another Austen novel, “Emma,” the movie would have been more enjoyable for me. I just don’t think Fire Island is the successful blend of comedy and drama it hopes to be. It nailed the drama but this movie needed just a splash more of Girls Trip (2017) zaniness. By the way, check out my review for that movie, here. There were times when quality-wise the movie slightly gave off Netflix vibes, or God forbid, something starring social media influencers, but rest assured it’s significantly better than that. Truthfully, I think it was the slightly wooden performances that had me questioning the movie’s quality.
Screenwriter Joel Kim Booster, who stars as Noah and the movie’s version of Elizabeth Bennet, probably should not have been chosen for the lead role. Simply put, he doesn’t have the acting chops to carry a movie. Case in point, his chemistry with Conrad Ricamora, who plays Will and the movie’s version of Mr. Darcy, is non-existent. Even at an hour in, the movie did next to nothing to compel me to root for their romance, one that should be overflowing with romantic tension. Now, granted my knowledge of “Pride and Prejudice” isn’t all encompassing, but Ricamora’s portrayal of a Darcy-esque character was far from great. He was much less a mysterious brooder and essentially just a mopey dick.
In all honesty, I would have much preferred Fire Island to focus on the romance between Howie and Charlie, who play this movie’s versions of Jane and Mr. Bingley, respectively. Which is surprising because if your adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” features a more interesting relationship between secondary characters Jane and Bingley than protagonists Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, you’ve fucked up. I wouldn’t have been mad at all if the relationship between Noah and Will had been cut and the one between Howie and Charlie had become the central romance of Fire Island. They were in the sweet, silly romantic-comedy I desperately wanted this movie to be! OH! You know who absolutely encapsulated the tone I wish Fire Island had taken? Matt Rogers as Luke and Tomás Matos as Keegan! I can only describe them as comedic relief twinks with no stakes in the game who were amazing and my favourite part of this movie.
I would definitely recommend checking out Fire Island. It might not have been the perfect movie I was hoping it would be, but believe me when I say that it was EXTREMELY close to being that. Support this movie and all other queer content (Pride is all year, not just in June!) so we can have more cool movies like Fire Island and not just superhero movie after superhero movie. And that’s coming from someone who loves superhero movies. Also, DEFINITELY go see Bros (2022) when it comes out in theatres! Check out the trailer, here.
Have you seen Fire Island ?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!