TWO AND A HALF STARS Michael and Kit's rocky relationship suddenly got a lot rockier.
ROMANTIC DRAMA US English #SPOILERALERT
Starring Jim Parsons, Ben Alridge
While this has all the marketing baubles of a rom-com, we’re actually in dramatic territory, the undemanding kind typically found on summer schedules when broadcasters are less concerned about viewer numbers. The switch here is that it’s a gay love story and instead of a happy-ever-after ending, spoiler alert, a main character dies and his husband is left alone. Ensure your tissues are on stand-by and get ready for a tear-jerker.
Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) meets Kit Cowan (Ben Alridge) in a nightclub. They hit it off until they don’t, then they do, then they really don’t, Kit gets sick, Michael becomes the reluctant carer, they marry and Kit dies. No spoilers in this as A) it’s explained in the opening scene and B) it’s telegraphed in the title. Based on Ausiello’s book Spoiler Alert, The Hero Dies, this is an easily digested story about two people who fall in love only to have that love torn away. It’s tragic, familiar, relatable.
Parsons and Alridge are compelling in their roles, delivering the right mix of drama, romance and comedy to keep things afloat. Supported by Sally Field and Bill Irwin as Kit’s open-minded parents (We were gonna go to Woodstock you know. We bought the tickets…), the results are imbued with enough warmth and sadness to make you care.
Directed with calm sincerity by Michael Showalter (THE BIG SICK), SPOILER ALERT is an honest account of how life-threatening illness is such a, well, spoiler. While the film doesn’t reach for any auteur pretension, it’s certainly not a cinematic show-pony, what it lacks in creative pizazz is more than compensated for by heart, integrity and honesty. Sometimes, that’s all you need.