‘Spoiler Alert’ A Gay Romantic Drama That Finally Plays It Straight

The irony of a movie like Spoiler Alert is that Hollywood movies that seemed to tackle real relationships of the LGBTQIA community and don’t exploit them for comedy often end sadly. Movies like Philadelphia, Longtime Companion, Jeffrey, and Chantilly Lace, to name a few, all had some character’s death associated with it. Why is Hollywood afraid of portraying the LGBTQIA in realistic and thus non-eventful light?

The irony is made even more abundant by the fact one of the movie’s central characters is Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) who in real life was an entertainment reporter for TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly before launching his own newsite TVLine. Michael’s childhood as the middle child is told through flashbacks like a 1980/1990s sitcom as he and his mother have a bonding experience watching certain TV shows. Guess what happens to her?

When the movie opens, Michael is lying in a hospital bed next to his husband, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge), dying of a rare form of cancer. Flashback to 2001, when he was writing for TV Guide, he meets Kit at a nightclub after being brought there by a friend. Kit is a photographer and there is a spark. They date over time and become a couple but keep their own individual homes. They’re both worried about long-term relationships because neither has been in one before.

A year later, Michael meets Kit’s parents at the hospital after he has an appendectomy. Kit’s parents, Marilyn (a delightful Sally Field) and Bob (the criminally underrated Bill Irwin) don’t know Kit is gay and are confused about the friendship between the two, particularly when Michael lets it slip he’ll get the sheets for Kit’s parents to sleep on the futon. Kit comes out and says he’s gay and Michael is his boyfriend. Marilyn and Bob are surprised but they very much accept their son’s new boyfriend.

Overtime, Michael and Kit move in together but over the years have their ups and downs as it gets harder for each to get use to the other’s habits. Kit feels Michael spends too much time with his company as Michael is upset over Kit’s frequent cannabis use as well as how untidy he is with it. Around Christmas 2013, Kit explains he has been having some health issues and it’s reveal he has a tumor in his rectum.

Michael’s mother died of cancer when he was young. So, Kit moves back in and the two try to repatch their relationship. It’s eventually discovered Kit is in stage-four of nueroendocrine cancer. Michael makes note of how the doctor (Shunori Ramanathan) looks like she’s an actress who often plays doctors on TVs and movies. As Michael and Kit deal with the inevitable, they fall back in love with each other again.

At the heart of the movie is how relationships of all kinds need constant work. You have good days and then you have bad days. The bad days may outnumber the good days at time. But you stay together and work it out the best you can. Both Parsons and Aldridge give some good performances and the movie is a tearjerker. While he’s known for the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Parsons shows he can make people cry as much as laugh. Parsons who is credited as one of the producers read Ausiello’s book Spoiler Alert:The Hero Dies and was so affected by it, he bought the rights.

What I liked that writers David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage and director Michael Showalter do is present a gay romantic drama that plays it straight, for lack of a better word. Even though it’s about the relationship between two gay men, there’s none of the stereotypes of flambouyant outrageous characters that have been in previous movies. I think Marilyn and Bob kinda knew Kit was gay for years, but didn’t know how to ask.

And anyone who has lost a partner/spouse will find some scenes hard to watch. Showalter, who started out on the MTV sketch comedy The State, has emerged in recent years as a great director. I found myself noticing similarities at times with The Big Sick before doing a quick search and discovering he directed that as well. His previous movie The Eyes of Tammy Faye won two Oscars, including one for Jessica Chastain in the title role. He seems to have a certain knack for movies that have a special little something about the human element below the surface that make them better.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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