Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Review: Singer Troye Sivan is a Romantic Rebel in Terrific “Three Months”

Three Months (c) MTV Entertainment Studios

Film Review: Three Months 
Streaming on Paramount+ 

Premise: It is 2011 and Caleb (Troye Sivan) is working at a mini-mart in Florida the summer after high school. His summer is overshadowed by the fact that when he had sex with a man he just met at a bar, the condom broke. His doctor (Javier Muñoz) tells him he has to wait three months in order to know if he has HIV, so over the course of the summer, we follow the ups and downs of Caleb’s chaotic life. His father is dead and his mother (Amy Landecker) has re-married an Orthodox man who doesn’t approve of his gay life, so he now lives with his doting grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) and her surly paramour (Louis Gossett, Jr.). He works at the mart with his best friend, Dora (Brianne Tju), who enjoys flirting with their boss (Judy Greer). Caleb also meets Estha (Viveik Kalra) at an LGBT support group. Their puppy dog flirtation could lead to something, but Caleb can’t seem to shake the looming results of his HIV status. Estha is also from India and closeted, which complicates things even more. 

My Take: It’s been five years since “Call Me by Your Name” so it’s about time for a new cinematic gay crush. And while Caleb may seem to be cut from the same cloth as Elio (Timothee Chalamet) – hello you young, lanky, Jewish, hopeless romantic – it’s actually Caleb’s similarity to another cinematic gay icon – Molly Ringwall’s Andie in “Pretty in Pink” – that makes “Three Weeks” the next go-to, feel-good gay flick for the foreseeable future. Like Andie, Sivan’s Caleb revels in his non-conformity and is so hard wired to protect himself from pain that he is shocked when love somehow sits right next to him. Kalra, who was so impressive in “Blinded by the Light,” is an adorable Hindi Andrew McCarthy whose version of the “other side of the track” is his conservative family. And while Tju’s Dora may not be mooning for Caleb romantically, her Duckie is equally hurt when Caleb spends more time with his new crush than with her. The three leads play off each other engagingly and are believable as late teens (which they are not). The movie is also blessed with a stacked supporting cast of Oscar winners and great character actors. Because it’s co-produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, the film gets to include a lot of cultural references like Caleb binging episodes of “The Real World” with HIV+ icon Pedro Zamora as well as having cool music being played on iPod nanos (oh, I love iPods) like a Scissor Sisters song during a particularly energetic (if improbable) scene. Director Jared Frieder has an MTV sensibility (witness the opening credits) that provides his first film with a lightness it needs to carry the audience through the more serious moments. 

VIP: Troye Sivan. His Caleb is adorable and relatable, and while some of his antisocial rants feel overly written, Sivan makes it work. He even makes riding the awkwardly overt symbolism of his father’s tandem bike feel organic. Sivan ,who was so memorable in his small role in “Boy Erased,” has a nice flair for unironic romantic comedies that you wouldn’t have guessed from his provocative music videos or his fashion-forward red carpet appearances. He even contributed two lovely songs (“Wait” and “Trouble”) to the film. Caleb is the kind of character I wish populated the teen comedies of my youth.

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