Fire Island is located on Long Island, New York. It’s a location where gay men and women and LGBT go on vacation in the summertime, where they can find love and companionship amongst like-minded people. For the movie Fire Island, Searchlight Pictures’ release strategy is to put the film out during Pride Month, the annual celebration of the LGBTQ community. Let’s see if the movie is all that and a box of chocolates.
This film depicts a group of twenty-somethings who go to Fire Island annually for their vacation. These guys come from all over the country to vacation here each year. Some are looking for love, others just to relax, hang out, drink, and do drugs. A few are looking to make a lifelong friend they can be with for the rest of their lives. That’s easier said than done. Even in the gay and lesbian community, there is drama, heartbreak, and backstabbing. This kind of stuff is everywhere, even in this subsection of society.
I’m not really that familiar with the cast of Fire Island except for Bowen Yang of SNL fame. He plays Howie, a man who thinks he’ll never find Mr. Right no matter how many rocks he looks under. His best friend Noah (Joel Kim Booster) is a free-flowing guy who doesn’t want to settle down until he finds the man of his dreams. He never thought he would ever find love in paradise. His friends try to help him get with this other man who is having doubts about what he wants to do with his life. He’s also a conflicted young man looking to party and have a good time while he’s young.
Fire Island isn’t trying to be Brokeback Mountain or anything, but it does have a message about love and romance in the gay and lesbian community. At first glance, this film would seem like a throwaway gay party film, but it has some merit to it. People in this community deserve love and happiness no matter how they can get it. That’s the underlying plot point here. Are these people different from other people of straight persuasion? No! They are not. Everyone has the same issues of jealousy and ownership. Love and sadness, there are no differences between this community and others.
Andrew Ahn, the director, isn’t trying to break any ground with Fire Island, but he’s not doing anything we haven’t seen before. Replace these gay men with straight men and women, and you have a generic party movie where they just get it on and have sexual relations on an island together. Maybe it’s Tybee Island in Georgia or South Padre Island in Texas. It’s the same thing. There is no difference between these people and this film being groundbreaking or not. Maybe people in this community will like it, but I found it shallow and pretty depressing, to be honest. I am not gay, but none of these characters were interesting or had anything to say about society. This film was a big letdown for me.
1 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media