Alex Strangelove (2018)

CRAIG JOHNSON

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2018.  , , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Alex Truelove (a wonderful ) is succeeding in high school, popular and academically successful and prepared for a bright future.  His girlfriend () has been his best friend since childhood and they’re looking forward to crossing the next milestone of their relationship, losing their virginity with each other under the most wonderful and romantic of circumstances.  It’s all systems go until Alex meets Elliot (), a young man who has no compunctions about his sexuality, and that secret feeling Alex has been suppressing inside himself starts to become more tangible and difficult to ignore.  Because this is a film written and directed by intelligent people, Alex’s struggle isn’t just charming and humurous but a long and painful road to the point where Alex can even begin to deal with himself.  At first he reacts to his gradual understanding of who he is by clinging that much more to his relationship with Weinstein, putting more pressure on himself than is necessary; in a nice twist on teen dramas, she is not made to feel an unfair level of pressure from him sexually, but she is rightly angry at him for insisting that she expect more from their relationship than he has to offer (Weinstein is lovely and sympathetic in the role and, between this and Beach Rats, can’t seem at catch a break with these gay boyfriends).  The film is less mainstream than Love Simon and allows for darker undertones than that one did, but it’s also not as memorable; the main disappointment here is that, outside the story’s focal relationship, everything else isn’t as well observed or sympathetic, the character types are either silly or dull and the situations that don’t involve the main couple lack ingenuity or sharp observation (something surprising from the director of the poignant The Skeleton Twins).

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