Review by Sean Boelman
There aren’t very many queer films that come out of the studio filmmaking system, so the fact that Fire Island exists in the first place is a miracle in and of itself. But even beyond its cultural significance in the filmmaking world, this romantic comedy is fantastic in its own right, one of the funniest, most poignant LGBTQ movies in quite a while.
The film follows a group of friends who take a vacation at the legendary gay destination the Fire Island Pines, getting entangled in various romantic trappings along the way. Inspired by Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice, Joel Kim Booster’s script takes familiar tropes of romantic comedies and puts an even more intelligent, earnest spin on them.
One of the best things about Kim Booster’s script is the way in which it blends widely accessible sex comedy with very specific queer humor. There are bits in this movie that are designed specifically to make the LGBTQ community laugh, and it’s great that this type of representation and jokes are being made on a massive platform such as this.
However, this isn’t just some frilly comedy. Like Austen’s iconic romance, this film has its finger on exactly what is happening in the world of modern romance. The movie addresses a lot of the issues that the LGBTQ community is facing right now in a way that is extremely honest and insightful.
Much of the film’s success is owed to the dynamic that exists between the main group of friends, and it is absolutely fantastic. With an ensemble movie like this, one normally expects there to be at least one person who is left in the dust, but we really get to admire and love all of these characters equally.
Kim Booster takes the lead in the script he wrote, and SNL’s Bowen Yang gets the other main role. Both are fantastic and each have the commanding screen presence it takes to lead a romantic comedy like this. Matt Rogers, Tomas Matos, and Torian Miller round out the group charmingly well. Everyone who watches this film is going to have a favorite character — and all of them will have their share of fans.
However, perhaps the single biggest standout in the cast is Conrad Ricamora, who plays this story’s Mr. Darcy. It’s one of the most fascinating characters in all of literary history, and he does an exceptional job of bringing his own spin to it. His chemistry with Kim Booster is pitch-perfect too, capturing the unique dynamic between the two.
Fire Island is a fantastic reimagining of a literary classic for the modern age. Joel Kim Booster’s script is one of the smartest in any romantic comedy in recent years, much less a queer romantic comedy, making this a movie not to miss.
Fire Island streams on Hulu beginning June 3.