Photo: ‘Fire Island’
This silly and wild romantic comedy is a good start to start Pride month of June 2022. Filled with witty one-liners, a Charli XCX reference and lovable characters, ‘Fire Island’ is an entertaining watch that encompasses both friendship and identity. The film is directed by Andrew Ahn who directed such films as “Spa Night” and episodes of “MacGyver” and “Generation.” Besides Ahn, Joel Kim Booster is an upcoming comedian who played the lead role in the film. ‘fire island‘ became Booster’s first film as a screenwriter. The story is absolutely shameless and a fun watch for the summer.
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A celebration of pride… and prejudice
‘Fire Island’ opens with a shirtless Noah (played by Joel Kim Booster) rushing to get ready as his wendy williams the alarm continues to blow “this is an icon, this is a legend”. As he urges a man in bed to leave his apartment immediately, the audience gets a glimpse of the novels strewn around Noah’s apartment and the camera focuses on the one and only, ‘Pride and Prejudice‘. The scene shows Noah rushing to the dock as he spots his group of friends on a ferry as they head to “Fire Island”. The place is a seaside town off the coast of the New York one Long Island which has somehow become a safe place for LGBTQ+ community. It is known to be a vibrant place that celebrated and welcomed everyone who was part of the community.
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The movie basically follows two best friends, Noah and Howie (played by Bowen Yang). They go to the island for a week filled with endless parties and potential encounters. They are accompanied by their three other friends: Luke (played by matt rogers), Keegan (played by Tomas Matos), and Max (played by Torian Miller). As they head to the Pines, they discover that one of their best friends who lives on the island, Erin (played by Marguerite Cho), sells the house they once considered their second home. Due to these unforeseen plans, the gang decided to make the most of their potential last week on the island. Throughout their time there, only one Noah decides to help Howie find a guy to go out with.
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Noah and Howie then come across a charming doctor who introduces himself as Charlie (played by James Scully) at one of the parties in Cherry Grove. Although Howie and Charlie seem to get along, it’s Charlie’s group of friends that causes tension on “Fire Island”. Cooper (played by Nick Adams), a brat family friend, and Will (played by Conrad Ricamora), Charlie’s pretentious best friend – despises Howie and his extravagant group of friends because they are of lower social status. As the story escalates, a strong-headed Noah clashes with several people from Charlie’s group, especially Will. The film’s timeline goes through every day of the week whenever a party begins. The quirky group of friends create an unforgettable summer as unlikely and unexpected friendships are made novels flourish throughout history.
A realistic view of LGBTQ+ representation
As cliché as the story is, “Fire Island” is a breath of fresh air that includes romantic comedy as gender. Although it is based on by Jane Austen remarkable “Pride and Prejudice”, his reimagining of gay romance is a joy to behold. There is the uncertainty of finding love with the character of Howie and the notions of enemies to lovers between the somewhat Elizabeth Bennet-inspired character of Noah and Will who plays the Mr. Darcy in the film. While following Austen’s romance, Noah makes it clear that he disregards the heteronormative and monogamous narrative, but also plays with the idea of relationships. Both the film and Noah’s character pull in between, which makes for an intriguing story. It has all the aspects that make it the perfect romance movie while having seemingly hilarious characters that lean on each other. Although the film challenges ideas of romantic relationships, it remains grounded in themes of having a family chosen from a group of friends who understand each other best.
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With such quirkiness and eccentricity, “Fire Island” is surprisingly woke in terms of social awareness. He understands the struggle that those who are part of the community go through. The island is considered a safe haven, but it still retains superficial, classist, and racial issues that the film reflects on. As Noah’s group of friends is racially diverse, they are blindsided when they go to Charlie’s party which is filled with rich white gay men who taunt the group. Booster’s writing acknowledges the exclusion that occurs within their own community, which is most LGBTQ+ movies are often not discussed. That’s not to be daunting per se, but it’s simple realism amidst this summer adventure. This is what brought these friends together in the very beginning as they shared experiences of racial commentary and exclusion.
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Is “Fire Island” worth the detour?
There are slight technical aspects of the film that could have been more refined, such as the cinematography. In terms of the writing, the answers to certain issues are left hanging or briefly mentioned throughout the film. Plots such as the issues surrounding Erin’s house are rarely touched upon and the only time they were acknowledged was near the end. There are criticisms about the ending of the movie because there were a few details that were unrelated, but I think that’s what makes it a fun movie. Despite some issues, it’s the characters that the film zooms in on. Some scenes are sometimes too ridiculous, but the unapologetic nature of the characters and the story as a whole make it enjoyable. A light-hearted film but one that also raises some important questions, “Fire Island” is pure, joyful summertime fun worth watching. “Fire Island” is available to watch on Hulu.
Cast: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Marguerite Cho, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, matt rogers, Tomas Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams | Director: Andrew Ahn | Writer: Joel Kim Booster | Producers: Joel Kim Booster, Tony Hernandez, John Hodges, johnny holland, Brooke Posch, Jillian Vogel
By Anica Munoz
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