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The Gay Rom-Coms of 2022 That Shifted Pop Culture

Fire Island; Bros
Hulu; Universal Pictures

2022 featured a few major gay romantic comedies that started a new conversation in Hollywood.

It's felt like a big year for the LGBTQ+ community on the big screen, despite a recent GLAAD report showing that only 16 of the 77 theatrically-released films included LGBTQ+ characters.

Two of those theatrical releases were Billy Eichner's gay romantic comedy Bros and Michael Showalter's emotional but still heartwarming and funny Spoiler Alert starring Jim Parsons. Outside of the theaters, the most popular gay rom-com of 2022 is arguably Joel Kim Booster's Fire Island, which streamed exclusively on Hulu.

Though these are only a few of the LGBTQ+ films released in 2022, they all played a role in starting a conversation around LGBTQ+ people being in leading roles in mainstream films that aren't almost exclusively about pain and suffering. Perhaps the most controversial of these films was Bros, which was intended to market toward a straight audience to help bridge the gap.

Unfortunately, though, Bros ended up triggering right-wing trolls. Eichner told THR, "That's just the world we live in, unfortunately. Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, and an A CinemaScore, straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn't show up for Bros. And that's disappointing but it is what it is."

Fire Island, on the other hand, had a totally different reception when it premiered on Hulu over the summer. Loosely based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the movie paid homage to the classic tale in surprising ways that felt fresh and relatable.

Both Bros and Fire Island tackled various tropes experienced by queer people, but some viewers argued that Fire Island tried less than Bros to appease viewers outside of the LGBTQ+ community. In other words, the Hulu film read the energy of the room and matched it... instead of trying to please a contrarian demographic.

As for Spoiler Alert, the most recent film about gay love to hit theaters, it certainly helps to bring an entire box of tissues to make it through the movie. The romance follows Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) and his husband Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge) in their relationship from inception to the untimely end caused by terminal cancer.

Parsons and Aldridge discussed the importance of the film and how rewarding it was to be a part of a film that focuses on gay love, joy, and loss. "This is a real story," said Aldridge. "This is true. I think that's what we most want as a community: to see ourselves truthfully represented, and not skewed one way or the other."

Other notable LGBTQ+ films that premiered this year were TAR featuring an incredible performance by Cate Blanchett as a lesbian conductor, They/Them about teens confronting a killer at a conversion therapy camp, and My Policeman starring popstar Harry Styles as a queer character who gets in a love triangle.

2023 is shaping up to feature some awesome gay films, such as Good Grief with Dan Levy and Luke Evans, Our Son starring Billy Porter and Luke Evans, as well as another tearjerker titled Of An Age set for a release on Valentine's Day.

RELATED | A Romantic Gay Drama Is Headed to Theaters in Time for Valentine's Day

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Andrew J. Stillman