Alex Strangelove: Movie Review

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If you loved watching ‘Candy Jar’ or ‘The Kissing Booth’, then you will enjoy watching ‘Alex Strangelove’. The movie is about high-schooler Alex Truelove, played by Daniel Doheny who’s ready to give up his virginity to his long-time friend turned girlfriend Claire played by Madeline Weinstein. When we say ‘he’s ready’, we mean he wants to because to him, that’s the ideal situation and doing it would make sense.
However, there’s something else preventing him from going the whole nine yards and it’s clear that it’s more than just about-to-lose-my-virginity-anxiety. When he meets Elliott (Antonio Marziale), this feeling is challenged. Elliott is openly gay and has a feeling that Alex might be, too. Since Elliott was kicked out by his father for being gay, he understands all too well why Alex would choose to hold back on his feelings.
The two begin a friendship and go to a concert, walk around the city in the night, and the film gives viewers a glimpse into the relationship. They both click but we also see that Alex might be denying (or is unaware) and we can feel the struggle each time he tries to suppress his curiosity in his friend Elliot.
The performances from each character are stable even though Alex’s relationship with Elliot and his girlfriend are at low stakes. The director was able to capture the awkward phase of being a teenager facing something as new as their first sexual experience. Doheny manages to keep Alex’s character grounded but also pushes him to be as frantic as possible so that his scenes with Marziale and Weinstein- who could be potential love interests- run well.
However, in spite of Alex’s inner turmoil, the movie doesn’t give too much tension. There is the presence of chemistry when the script tries to explore love in a variety of ways. Given the quality of the movie, and past projects from the director such as ‘The Skeleton Twins’, and ‘Wilson’, it’s a surprise and even a bit odd that Johnson both wrote and directed it.
Alex Strangelove comes off as standard stuff considering it’s on Netflix where teen movies do the most to indulge the younger generation of viewers with intricate school events, voice overs that are easy to follow, and popping house-parties. While the movie had a great opportunity to turn into a fantastic teen coming of age story, it honestly turns into a 2018 idea of a progressive high school where everyone is thinking about gender identity, kids are doing drugs, and sexuality is at the forefront of everyone’s life.
The film does have quite a few images that are a little stereotypical. And, considering the amount of anxiety and turmoil the main character is going through with his complicated feelings, it appears to be too neat. But, considering the fact that it is a modern coming-of-age film that’s meant to keep teen Netflix’s progressive values on the home page, the movie does indeed possess a good dose of charm that’ll keep you guessing what’s next.

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