Photo by: IMBD
SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for Bros
After years of denying queer voices in the mainstream, it seems that big movie studios have finally decided that inclusivity is more profitable than bigotry, thus leading to a recent increase in LGBTQ+ stories being told. One of these stories is Bros.
Bros is the second romcom released by a major legacy studio to have an entirely LGBTQ+ cast, after Fire Island from June this year. It follows Bobby Lieber (played by co-writer Billy Eichner), a 40-year-old gay man who has always put his independence over his desire for a meaningful relationship. This changes when he meets Aaron (played by Canadian actor Luke Macfarlane) and the two of them struggle to grapple with their feelings for each other, as well as their own insecurities.
Initially, it’s hard to sympathize with Bobby. His idea of small talk is to insult the people he talks to and he seems incapable of not speaking his mind. But this becomes less of an issue the longer he is with Aaron, as though this was merely a result of his subconscious bitterness at his single life. The only scene in the latter half of the movie where this lack of filter reappears is when Bobby confronts Aaron’s mom about her belief that second graders are “too young” to learn about queer history. While uncomfortable, this scene highlighted the importance of talking about these topics before children are taught to be ashamed of them, and his openness was welcome.
For much of the movie, Aaron acts as the emotional glue keeping this couple together. This makes sense: because the movie is told from Bobby’s perspective, Aaron’s flaws are less apparent than Bobby’s when we first meet him. Where Bobby is an emotionally repressed mess who can’t flirt, Aaron’s similar behaviour makes him come across as mysterious (or later on, charmingly nervous). This makes their big argument at the end of the second act a much larger blow to the audience, sympathizing with Bobby.
The supporting cast had some highlights, though none stood out too much. I was somewhat disappointed that the only bisexual character in the movie was an attention-seeking loud mouth, but thankfully that’s as close to offensive as these portrayals get. And because the crew is entirely LGBTQ+, the less flattering depictions of certain groups come across more like playful teasing than malicious stereotyping.
Bros is a good example of the kinds of stories that only queer people can tell. Bobby is unapologetic about his sexuality, whereas Aaron is less comfortable with his own. Bobby is launching an LGBTQ+ history museum while Aaron gave up on his dream of becoming a chocolatier because it seemed too “gay;” he’s attracted to men but hates to be associated with Bobby’s genre of loud and proud gay men.
This comes to a head when Aaron introduces Bobby to his parents, and Aaron (fearing Bobby might be “too much” for his parents) asks him to be less of himself. Bobby refuses; he knows what that’s code for. This is what sparks their big argument and causes them to break up. This is an inherently queer problem, as gay people attempt to reclaim their pride while others tell them that their identities are somehow indecent. And I don’t think this story would have existed, let alone been delivered this well, if Universal Studios hadn’t hired LGBTQ+ people to make it.
Overall, I think this movie is a good romcom and a good representation for the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re not interested in either, this movie may not be for you, but it’s got some genuinely funny moments you might enjoy regardless.