Fire Island (2022) Poster


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Andrew Ahn and Joel Kim Booster deliver a solid adaptation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice with a gay twist
IonicBreezeMachine3 June 2022
A group of cash strapped gay friends consisting of Noah (Joel Kim Booster), Howie (Bowen Yang), Luke (Matt Rogers), Keegan (Tomas Matos), and Max (Torian Miller) embark on their annual weeklong vacation to Fire Island to stay with their friend Erin (Margaret Cho) who has a house on the island. Noah despite often engaging in hedonistic sex and partying the year's prior decides to put this on hold until he helps Howie find a man for himself. The group eventually come into contact with wealthy gay men Charlie (James Scully) who seemingly hits it off with Howie, and Charlie's friend Will (Conrad Ricamora) whose demeanor initially gets under Noah's skin but overtime a romance develops despite their class disparity.

Fire Island is the latest film from director Andrew Ahn who's become something of an indie darling in recent years with prvious films such Spa Night and Driveways garnering Ahn critical acclaim. Written by comedian Joel Kim Booster, the gay themed take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was initially intended as a project for the now defunct Quibi streaming service (which is the subject of a joke in film) under director Stephen Dunn of Closet Monster before the series was cancelled along with several other in development or filming Quibi shows. Searchlight Pictures purchased the script roughly 6 months after Quibi shutdown and repurposed the concept as a feature film and Ahn replacing Dunn in the director's chair. Now the movie makes its way to Hulu and Ahn shows himself to be just as steady helming a studio release as either of his indie projects.

Joel Kim Booster does an excellent job serving as writer and star of Fire Island as he takes the basic framework of Austen's story while incorporating various aspects of the real life Fire Island and gay culture into the story to give this classic story of classism and romance a modern day LGBTQ twist. The movie mines a lot of sharp humor from its usage of Fire Island serving as a microcosm of a class divide between upper class gay people and those of lower means and it sticks pretty true to the Austen work. The movie's ensemble does quite well with the relationships between Hoan, Howie, and the others very endearing, and Margaret Cho is lovable as Eri who by her words serves as the "mom" in their surrogate family. Fire Island is quite a sweet movie when it comes to its characters and it helps that not only are they interesting and funny, but there's a strong sense of familial love among the sequences of romance and hedonistic sexuality that keeps the viewer engaged.

Fire Island continues Ahn's solid work in the director's chair and serves as an excellent showcase for Joel Kim Booster as a leading man and a screenwriter. If you're familial with the Jane Austen story Pride and Prejudice you'll have a lot of fun noting the parallels in the story and how well they've been adapted and even if you're not the movie still works on its own terms.
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As a gay I hated this film
jakethesnake-420078 June 2022
I hated hated hated this film. Every gay stereotype times 100 in this film. Finally they make a gay film and then they make it awful. The characters where so unlikeable I hated every one in the film. As a gay man I hated this film even more because it's such stereotypes gay people oh gay people do drugs oh gay people hate relationship oh gay people get drunk it's just awful. Even the characters or stereotypes oh the hot gay one is the one who turns out to be the jerk but the rest are not. It just drive me nuts. Margaret Cho is the only good thing about this show. Oh and the end is so bad it's like why did I waste 2 hours on this and did anything really happen in the 2 hours. Skip this movie trust me your saving yourself.
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Hateful characters
isaacochoterena7 June 2022
This is a movie that has a plot that can be resolved with a conversation.

The main conflict can be resolved very easily, but because the characters are toxic and there is no communication between them we have this movie. It is difficult to define the genre of this film, first it seems like a comedy, then a dramatic comedy and at the last a romantic comedy, because of this it was difficult for me to connect with the story, even though it has some good things. The characters are very annoying, since their stubbornness is unbearable and creates many conflicts in the story, the ending does not have much to do with what they were telling us almost the entire movie, it does not feel necessary to have seen everything before to understand the final. It has some good things like talking about the beauty stereotypes that exist within the gay community, also judging someone by how they look and the prejudices that exist when seeing someone's way of dressing or expressing themselves, although it does not delve into these issues, is good that the plot mentions them. Other remarkable things about the film are the performances, everyone manages to give a convincing performance, this makes some moments seem real. The characters have very little development, as well as others not at all.

I don't think it's a good movie, it doesn't work as a romantic comedy, nor does it manage to highlight some issues that are important to open a conversation about, I didn't empathize with the characters or their mission due to their lack of development, but I can say that there are some well-done scenes that kept my attention throughout the film despite its flaws, as part of the community I did not identify with the plot nor do I think it is an unmissable romantic comedy.
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Lotsa drugs, booze and screamers, but not too many laughs
justahunch-705495 June 2022
I don't think this film does any favors to the gay community especially on a streaming service available to view by so many for so many reasons and some of those will be for the wrong reasons. Laughing with gay people is not the same as laughing at them. This is only a depiction of a small, select section of gay men and the ancient stereotypes on constant display will only add fuel to the fire of haters, though I suppose those who hate will do so no matter what they see. Still, it is not an accurate depiction of the average gay man and I think that is damaging. As a rom-com, I suppose it's decent enough, but I'm not the one to judge that accurately as they are not my kind of film. There are a few funny lines, but many more wince worthy moments. I suppose if you don't find these types offensive, it's all pleasant enough in a silly way and some of the music is enjoyable. Booster is pretty much the star of this and is the best thing in it, but since he also wrote this, that is a half-hearted compliment. This is what he wants the world to think about gay men?!
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Yes it's cringeworthy
joesorce6 June 2022
This is like a bad episode of Saved By The Bell with an all gay cast. And Margaret Cho as the guidance counselor. The jokes are not funny, the acting is barely adequate with one actor racing through his lines like a jackhammer on steroids, and the script is amateurish (why are so many gay films so amateurish?) Save your time and give this garbage a pass....but if you REALLY want to know just how cringeworthy it is, just fast-forward to the last 2 minutes of the film. The "big climax" will make you laugh out loud it's so cliche. Or maybe it was meant to be mindboggingly silly, who knows when it comes to a mess like this?
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Runs on too long.
CriticsVoiceVideo2 July 2022
It's not the worst movie ever made. It's also not original in the slightest bit. I picked up all the "homages" and inspiration from other films fairly quickly without knowing a thing. I chuckled a few times but I don't see myself watching this ever again. Totally predictable and cliched with a running time about 40 minutes too long.
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Disappointing Jane Austen adaptation...
nathan-p-hart6 June 2022
I've been waiting my whole life for a gay version of the classic "Pride and Prejudice". The story lends itself well to gay life and culture. So why was this movie such a let down? The rich friends are vapid, which is true to the story. However, the writing and dialog give these characters nothing else to work with. The main character and his best friends are also very one dimensional. The best part of the novel is the characters and this movie oversimplifies them to a point it is almost insulting.
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A gay twist on "Pride & Prejudice"
Avidviewer-0284715 June 2022
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." The opening words of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and this script is a gay spin off of that novel. This is a mostly Asian caste that goes to Fire Island for an annual week's vacation. Enroute they repeat one of the island's mantras, "No Fems, No Fats, No Asians", their group mostly fits that stereotype.

The script isn't perfect, but it's adequate. It's mostly drama school trained actors and it's funny. I enjoyed this more than "Queer as Folk" (2022). Not an exact match up of characters to the Jane Austen novel, but it's close enough.
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Seems like a bad time capsule from the 1970s
judgewashington9 June 2022
If you've just awakened from a 45+ year coma and want a view into your Grandfather's Fire Island, this is the movie for you. The characters are latter-day stereotypes, promiscuous and cringeworthy, missing only 70's porn moustaches. The five "boys," protected by damaged mother-hen lesbian Margaret Cho (was Rosie O'Donnell unavailable?), jiggle about wearing as little as possible, and speak the "F" and "S" words in almost every sentence, attempting to disguise a complete lack of a literate script. The romantic leads have no chemistry whatever, and the sex scenes are surprisingly graphic for a light-hearted rom-com. Not a word is mentioned about engagement or marriage because, after all, Gay people couldn't do those things 45 years ago. Ultimately, this unfunny little movie conveys the worst relics of pre-AIDS culture while pretending to be a contemporary Gay comedy. We've long since moved on from material like this, which is now just embarrassing.

BTW, any correlation between this film and Pride and Prejudice is laughable.
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The script feels like a first draft
zanepena6 June 2022
It shouldn't be overlooked that Fire Island's existence is a massive win for the LGBTQ community as well as for the Asian community. Far too often queer characters (especially queer characters of color) are relegated to the snarky one note best friend character. To have a feature film written, directed, and starring queer people of color is incredible.

That being said I wish I enjoyed the movie more. The script is very quippy, but often it trades a quick laugh in favor of moments that actually round out the characters. Joel Kim Booster's "Noah" doesn't feel like a real person. I think the problem originates from the characters lack of world view. Sure he goes on rants about the evils of capitalism and body image and being a minority, but these monologues are often surface level talking points you might find on social media. Noah's struggles seem separate from him as a character, as if Joel Kim Booster did a google search for "problems gay men have". It's this lack of specificity across the board that makes everyone feel like caricatures and less like empathetic characters.

The script also has glaring plot holes in it. The group of gays make a huge fuss about losing the fire island home only for it to not matter in the end. Sure there's the age old "it's not the house it's the people" trope that gets shoehorned in to try to fix this plot hole, but the film leading up to that moment has nothing to do with characters learning that message. So the result is that it feels like sloppy writing or an artifact from a draft of the script that was intended to be a television pilot. Sloppy writing isn't new in queer cinema, but given the caliber of people attached to the movie, I was expecting something better. I feel like the movie as it's presented is a very solid first draft. Watching it I couldn't help but think "there's something here" but whatever it is gets bogged down by clunky writing and poor performances.

That brings me to the acting in this film. Let's be honest, Joel Kim Booster, as beautiful as he is, cannot carry a movie. He's consistently outshined by his costars Bowen Yang and Margaret Cho in almost every scene. His lack of charisma on screen paired with the superficial and shallow script makes for a movie that's incredibly difficult to watch in one sitting.

Overall Fire Island is a movie that tries to have its cake and eat it too (while ignoring the carbs so everyone's six packs are visible). The script lacks perspective beyond "everyone's gay" and any time a serious dialogue is started about a serious subject (race and body image come to mind) it's heavy handed while being simultaneously tone deaf. If you're a fan of Bowen Yang or Margaret Cho, the movie is fun for their scenes alone. The rest of the cast either hams it up like they're in a collegiate improv show or lacks any and all emotional depth. The result is a movie that is a decent freshman outing, but one that will be forgotten by this time next year.

As a gay man myself, I think it's incredibly important to be honest about the queer media we're given. I think more queer people should have the opportunity to tell their stories, but the fact alone that queer BIPOC people are making something doesn't innately make it good or enjoyable.
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Joyless, Soulless, Pointless
coco1234517 June 2022
I love Bowen Yang but even if this was Fantasy Island he's not a sex symbol. Jane Bennett was the loveliest woman in the English county. Bowen bless his adorable heart ain't no Jane. So for stud Charlie to fall in love at first sight with Bowen across a bar full of hot near-naked men is beyond belief.

Getting past that though there were still so many issues. Mostly the fact that this movie was sad and humorless and boring. Didn't care about a single character. Though that's no surprise b/c they were all one-dimensional caricatures.

Loved the concept; hated the casting, directing, writing, and execution.
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A bit tragic really
lineart-129734 June 2022
Some people don't appreciate what they've got. Despite the other comments this is not about marginalized Asians or any race. Most of the characters portrayed are just low-confident, shallow, and way too sensitive. Many are like this in real life, but this could benefit with at least a couple of well-adjusted individuals to balance things out.
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Same old cliches, same old gay blah blah blah
panther_husky12 June 2022
I am so tired of these films where you have sexy, perfect, unblemished bodies, gay dorks not being excepted, unable to find love. For years and years the same thing is being portrayed and it seems film makers can't come up with a different story line. I love the Europeans when they make gay films. It is raunchy, you have all types of gay men from bears to admirers and so on. I didn't watch all the film because I found it ridiculously stupid. I am gay, I am big, I am not hot, I don't go round prancing in public and I don't need to look like a God to be able to find a lover. Also, sex is not the only thing gay men live for.
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So much for only gay actors playing gay roles
DJWinston26 June 2022
Watching 'Fire Island" reminded me of way too many gay-themed films of the 1970s and 1980s. Have we not grown at all ?

This film also took me back a few years to when 'The Prom' came out and there was this gay uproar here and elsewhere that a particular straight actor was playing a gay character as a stereotype. Whether true or not, their conclusion that was screamed from the rooftops was that only gay actors should play gay characters.

Well, this movie should put an end to that argument once and for all. All we see onscreen in "Fire Island' is flat, predictable stereotypes. Not one layered, three-dimensional, actual human being appears. Granted that's largely in the writing, but a really talented actor (yes, god forbid!, maybe a straight actor even) can still put some depth and layers into a poorly-written character.

As a gay actor, I so wanted to enjoy this film. But I didn't. Everything about it was shallow. It just left me sad.
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How long are we going to keep representing ourselves like this?
avenuesf2 July 2022
I can certainly appreciate "Fire Island's" message about how gay Asian men are steretyped and discriminated against in our community, but the director and writer of this film have managed to pigeinhole all the rest of us in the process. This is yet another film produced by gay men that portrays a group of mostly superficial, vapid 20-something-year-olds whose main interest in life is sex, getting high and finding the next party (oh, and getting a boyfriend). It's a tired depiction that's becoming more and more offensive, and it's refreshing to see others posting reviews here who feel the same way I do.

There isn't one character in this film who is over the age of 40 (or maybe even 30?), unless you count Margaret Cho's customary reprisal of a fag-hag, another stereotype we've seen over and over again. No one in the film seems to have any political interests or awareness whatsoever, considering the day and age we're currently living in.

The same week this film was televised the Peacock channel also released a "new" version of "Queer as Folk," and it's almost a duplicate of this film in the way it portrays gay life. The only television show I've seen that made a serious effort to represent us as real human beings was HBO's "Looking," produced over eight years ago. That's really dismal, considering more gay people than ever have been given a voice in television the last few years. It may come as a surprise to gay scriptwriters in Los Angeles, but the vast majority of us just don't lead our lives in the way these shows are portraying us, nor do we want to.

The concerning thing is that there are straight people in small communities (who vote) who don't have exposure to gay people other than what they see in films like"Fire Island." These characters only perpetuate their narrow belief that we're a narcisssitic community only interested self-gratification and nothing else. It's seriously time to start portraying our community more responsibly as real human beings and not the same old cartoon characters the public has unfortunately become more than accustomed to.
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Fire Island
JoBloTheMovieCritic3 June 2022
8/10 - an impeccable soundtrack (when is the Pure Imagination Fire Island remix coming out???), likable characters, a hot cast, and a witty but also timely and insightful script make this a great Searchlight release, perfect for Pride month (I only wish it was available to be seen on the big screen instead of shuttled away into the depths of Hulu)
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Waste of time
slyfox-4003211 June 2022
A couple moments in this are good..a couple..stretched out to 2 hours it's grating and almost impossible to sit through..queenie boys , drama over nothing. One group always hang out together everywhere.looking to the eating out series funnier, Whittier and better acting.with a plot.i just finished watching Fire island on Hulu..glad it was free.once through was enough .this is in a word..forgetful.
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reginaguy6 June 2022
Badly acted by characters with no charisma and unlikeable . Storyline even worse.. never been to Fire Island but after this dreadful attempt of a film no desire to..
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Insightful representation of the common struggle in the gay community, especially Asian
LineYeDie3 June 2022
25 years and finally, i have a chance to see how my stories and my struggles of being an Asian gay shown in a movie as the main storyline. I cried and laughed and pondered and reflected. So many of my self-doubts and even self-loathes beautifully spoken out through the lines. What a ride to fire island! Thank you, Bowen Yang and the entire cast.
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bret-bannerman16 June 2022
Gross. Stereotypical. Sad. And Margaret Cho...seriously you should be a better actress by now. I can't. With any of this. Could some freaking writer/director PLEASE. STAND. UP. And make a good gay movie again PLEASE?! Beautiful Thing and Lilies aren't even viewed anymore, but man they also haven't had any competition or anything close to standing up to there amazingness in well I've 20 yrs. Sad and gross. For how "forward" we're supposed to be, I feel like we've fallen behind in gay cinema by centuries. Smdh.
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Corny and boring
MovieMutt9 June 2022
99% of gay movies are ever "good" because they rely too much on stereotypes and sex, but as queer people we gotta support them. Diversity and visibility are important. I just feel at this point society has evolved enough to make actual good gay movies. I guess the film is supposed to be a comedy but not one thing made me laugh. This one was very poorly written and acted. It came across as an amateur student film. Unrealistic nonsense stories between annoying characters, who had no chemistry. The only nice thing was the fact there are Asian leads which is also important representation. My suggestion is to play on your phone while having the movie play in the background in order to support a queer movie.
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New Gay Classic
kigaiyuuto3 June 2022
Finally another Gaysian story after a long time, last time it was The Wedding Banquet almost 30 years ago by Ang Lee which I owned on DVD.

Definitely feels like a passion project and thank God it turns out great, well done to the cast and crew. The semi-documentary and indie feel sometimes drag it down and the acting is uneven but they're all minor complaints.

A shame that it's released straight to streaming. Like Noah said in the movie, it feels like all the wrong things are changing......
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A Gaysian View of Jane Austen's World
EUyeshima4 June 2022
I wasn't aware I needed an Asian queer take on "Pride & Prejudice", but once I got past the bitchy one-liners (of which there are many), there was at its core a perceptive story of racial and social disenfranchisement as well as a Shakespearean roundelay of one-nighters that turn into romantic entanglements. Written by Joel Kim Booster, who stars as hypercritical Noah with the washboard abs, it veered wildly between broad camp and sentiment, but somehow it all came together.
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Well, that was cute.
starjosie4 June 2022
Fairly simple, sweet story about the confusion surrounding self worth and loving yourself. Laughed out loud about five times, mostly at Bowen Yang. My construction dude straight husband said "Pretty corny, but I liked it." Love that guy. I loved the movie, thought it was adorable.
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Cringey and overly classist
colebalogh4 June 2022
This movie is a lot. It had some good things going for it but also a ton of cringe, overly stereotypical gay sex tropes. It's also not very nice. I don't think this is doing many favors for the community. It's somewhat entertaining.
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