LOOKS like it’s now an SOP for movies and TVshows to give more representation to queer and sexually fluid characters. Shows like “Euphoria”, “Heartstopper”, “Sex Education”, “Hacks, “Sense8”, “Bonding”, “The White Lotus”, “Fear Street” and yes, “Pose”, a tribute to the gay community standing up to AIDS in the 90s, all feature an explosion of queer storytelling with trans actors.
Films that feature lesbian stories include “Ammonite” with Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in steamy bedscenes, “Carol” with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Tell It to the Bees”, “Miseducation of Cameron Post” with Chloe Grace Moretz and teen lesbian love stories like “The Half of It” and “I Am Not Okay with This”. Even a fantasy-action film like “Everything Everywhere All At Once” also features a lesbian love story.
Films involving male homosexuality include the award-winning “Power of the Dog”, “Love, Simon” (that spinned off on TV as “Love, Victor”), “Boy Erased”, “Bros”, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, “Supernova”, “Falling” with Viggo Mortensen, “Giant Little Ones”, “My Policeman” with Harry Styles. Even the coming new “Thor” movie, “Love and Thunder” now features a gay angle.
We’ve just seen “Crush”, a teen high school love story on Hulu that has been told before in teen romances like “She’s All That” and “Ten Things I Hate About You”. It features all the genre’s familiar beats, except that, this time, all the characters are very pretty nubile girls.
The lead character is Paige Evans (Rowan Blanchard), a teen student at Miller High School whose single mother, Angie (Megan Mullally), is overly supportive of her being a lesbian. Her mom even gives her dental dams, protection used between the mouth and vagina during oral sex.
Problem is, Paige has never had a girlfriend. But since childhood, she has a big crush on a Latina beauty, Gabby Campos (Isabelle Ferreira), and gets tongue-tied when she’s in front of her. Paige is very artistic and because of this, their school’s track coach, Coach Murray (Aasif Mandvi), and Principal Collins (Michelle Buteau) suspect that she is KingPun, a graffiti artist who vandalizes school property with beautiful artwork.
When the coach and the principal confront Paige about this, she denies it and says she will just join the school’s track team to help uncover the identity of the real KingPun. As luck would have it, Paige is made to team up with Gabby in the relay race, along with Gabby’s sister, AJ (Auli’i Cravalho), who keeps low profile compared to the more popular Gabby.
AJ is assigned to train Paige and she asks AJ to help her investigate about KingPun. Together, they attend a party where they suspect KingPun will be present. She and AJ becomes closer and while she is on a stakeout in school with Gabby, they share an awkward kiss, but Paige realizes her crush on Gabby has waned as she now finds more affinity with AJ.
In a party, Paige and AJ are paired in a team where they are made to kiss each other. But soon AJ, gets jealous of Paige and her own sister Gabby. Complications happen but you know all is well that ends well since this is apparently meant to be a feel good lesbian love story with a happy ending.
There is even no conflict about coming out or gender identity among any of the other characters since it appears that same sex relationships is just so normal and conventional for all of them. As a teen romance, it has the colorful look and the crisp pacing of movies adapted from a typical Young Adults novel, except that the milieu is different.
This is the directorial debut of Sammi Cohen and she and her writers, Kirsten King and Casey Rackham, obviously want their film to gain more acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
It’s all quite sweet and relatable as the movie’s message is that even with all the gender-fluidity we hear today, even gay lovers trip through the same baby steps when it comes to the throes of first love that heterosexual teens of past generations have gone through before.
The ensemble acting is fine, with Rowan Blanchard perfectly portraying the awkwardness of someone in love who gets painfully shy when faced by her crush. Isabel Ferreira is perfect eye candy as the spitfire object of her affection but she gets even more crackling chemistry when she’s with Auli’i Cravalho as AJ.
Baby boomers like us might not be able to relate to all their shenanigans but even though we confess we don’t totally vibe with this movie (it makes us feel more than a hundred years old), it kinda grows on you, what with that joke about Taylor Swift being old! Guess we have to be ready to face more Gen-Z gay romcoms, since only straight romcoms have been ruling it for sometime now.