Rating: 4 out of 5.

Here is a sentence I never thought I would write: from Disney and Hulu comes the best gay rom-com I have seen in a very long time. Bursting with the energy of the modern LGBT experience, Fire Island takes us on an annual vacation to “gay Disneyland” with a diverse and colorful cast of lovable characters. This is the type of film that I would have been obsessed with as an older teen, evoking the best of Queer as Folk. Summer vibes and cutesy charms injected with just the right amount of sizzling sexual chemistry? Time to sign up for a trip to Fire Island

Narrated by the adorable Noah (Joel Kim Booster), Fire Island reimagines the story of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice with a modern gay twist. Thusly, it closely follows the general structure of that tale—this is not in any way a dig at the film’s script, which is actually a terrific reimagining. Noah, his shy virgin bestie Howie (Bowen Yang), and their friends the smart uptight Max (Torian Miller), and theatrical self-obsessed Luke (Matt Rogers) and Keegan (Tomas Matos), are headed to Fire Island for their yearly celebration of friendship, underwear parties, sunset-gazing, and drugs galore. This year is different, though. Their lovable host and mother figure, Erin (Margaret Cho)—who hilariously made a fortune after she ate a piece of glass at a restaurant— has fallen on hard times, and will likely have to sell the getaway home on Fire Island that she and the former brunch-buddy pals have frequented for years. This may very well be their final hurrah.

Noah has made it his mission to finally help Howie lose his virginity. “Everyone should fuck on Fire Island at least once,” Noah insists. In fact, he goes so far as to insist he will not engage in any sexual activity until this feat has been accomplished. Howie is more of a hopeless romantic, whereas Noah loves hookups; however it is definitely notable that neither have had a real boyfriend in their lives. Early on, a charming white boy named Charlie (James Scully) catches Howie’s eye. Charlie, a rich doctor with friends who seem mostly arrogant and stuck-up, takes a liking to Howie. Charlie invites Howie and his friends to an exclusive afterparty complete with wine and a hot tub. How can they say no?

The afterparty winds up being at a massive mansion directly on the beach, and it quickly becomes clear that this group of people is well out of this friend group’s metaphorical expenses orbit. Will (Conrad Ricomora), a super cute rich lawyer friend of Charlie’s, seems utterly disgusted by Noah and company at first, but could there be relationship potential? Noah is constantly at odds with his wildest impulses, while trying to make sure that Howie lives his best life in the process. On an island filled with so many drool-worthy men, a happily ever after seems a distant pipe dream.

Fire Island cleverly reimagines the classicism of Jane Austen through queer culture. Fats, fems, and Asians are at the bottom of the food chain, with a ladder of status that includes “race, masculinity, and abs.” Following Noah and his friends on this journey puts emphasis on the often disgusting way that gays can act towards their own community. No one should have to feel body shamed or lesser than when we are all in this crazy world together. Thankfully, Fire Island ends up being an impossibly cute movie with big explosive rom-com energy and gay dating mishaps aplenty. It may just be the perfect movie for a generation of LGBT+ people who need positivity and fun in their summer.

Fire Island pops the cork on the fun when it debuts exclusively to Hulu on Friday, June 3rd.

One thought on “Film Review: Fire Island

  1. Another cliche riddled piece of garbage. Fire Island is a racist tragedy, why every single gay “movie” is about going there is beyond me.

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