Hulu’s new original film Crush is a coming of age highschool rom-com with a queer twist. The film is directed by Sammi Cohen and was written by Kirsten King and Casey Rackham – all identify as queer women.
It’s so refreshing to have a queer coming of age film, but where the film excels at two things. The first thing is joy. The movie is filled with fun and funny heartfelt moments that make you laugh at their absurdity. There’s a scene near the end where two characters are having a conversation that the viewers can hear perfectly, it’s the members of the audience in the auditorium that would like you to speak up please!
Crush is not afraid to poke fun at its own genre which helps you get into the movie as a light fun time. This leads to the second thing the film does well and that’s the ability to flesh the characters out past their sexuality. Even when said characters are horny high schoolers!
Paige (Rowan Blanchard) is a young, out queer woman who has the ultimate crush on the ultimately crushable Gaby (Isabella Ferreira). With the help of her best friend Dylan (Tyler Alvarez) and his #goals girlfriend Stacey (Teala Dunn), Paige tries to shoot her shot. Produced by Maya Rudolph and co-starring comedy greats like Megan Mullaly, Aasif Mandvi (sporting an ultimately confusing, but somehow it works southern accent) and Michelle Buteau, it’s a wonderful film for the pros to usher in the newer and queerer talent.
Crush is ‘qt’! There’s a bit of wishful thinking to the script – never have I seen a school with so many out queer people – but that’s what makes it motivational and inspirational. I used to think we only had 1 or 2 queer kids in school. Looking back I realized that we had dozens, maybe hundreds, they were just scared to come out and be their authentic selves. There’s dramatic tension in the film but it had nothing to do with the sexuality of the children.
Gaby’s little sister AJ (Auli’i Cravalho) is obsessed with pleasing her parents and the complicated relationship she has with the preternaturally popular Gaby. Stacey and Dylan are both running for class president and Dylan is the most supportive significant other, persevering even though he’s in a race he’s bound to lose.
Paige has her own handful of problems. On top of not being able to tell Gaby how she feels, she’s applying for a prestigious CalArts summer internship and can’t get over her block. The assignment of showing her at her happiest moment. To distract herself and clear her name, she goes on a hunt to find a graffiti artist who has tagged several interesting murals around the school. Simply known as “King Pun”, Paige has her suspicions, but wonders often if she’s upset or jealous.
This is a light-hearted film that shows the sweet side of teenaged angst. The kids are self assured and confident in themselves, it’s just the unknowns like love that get in their way, not the sex of the person they choose love.
I highly recommend this film and hope it serves as a forerunner for more goodhearted, coming of age films from people in marginalized communities. It’s a genre that is sorely lacking and I look forward to seeing more diversity.
Crush premiered exclusively on Hulu, Friday, April 29th