There’s no shortage of romantic comedies to choose from this Valentine’s Day, but if you’re gay and you want to see something on screen that feels a little more relevant to your life, the choices are pretty bleak. Most same-sex romantic comedies go direct to video and are, to be as kind as possible, a babystep above the writing quality of a late night “Skinemax” production. The majority of mainstream movies about gay people are depressing as all get out, like Brokeback Mountain or Moonlight. So your options are Love, Simon, which is more of a coming of age story than a romcom, or Freeform’s new movie The Thing About Harry. Better late than never, right?
The film follows Sam (Jake Borelli) and his relationship with a high school bully turned friend named Harry (Niko Terho) over the course of several years. Sam is looking for a career-minded man who wants a monogamous commitment. Harry is a womanizer who comes out as pansexual to Sam early in the film, a fact that is more than just another attempt at representing another sexual identity. It’s a real source of conflict as Sam’s feelings for Harry grow stronger because he second guesses every person Harry looks at and finds himself jealous of everyone Harry interacts with.
The ups and downs of Sam and Harry’s relationship is where the film’s excitement really lies, with Jake Borelli and Niko Terho doing a great job of maintaining their chemistry and tension. The ending may be a little predictable, but the twists and turns along the way are engaging and the supporting cast is tolerable, handled by Britt Baron and Japhet Balaban as Sam and Harry’s best friends. Tertiary characters in these kinds of films are often annoying and flat, but they feel real and relatable here.
While there aren’t a lot of good LGBT films to compare The Thing About Harry to, there are a few TV series, particularly Looking and Queer as Folk. The latter of which starred Peter Paige, who directs this film and also has a cameo as one of Sam’s roommates and mentors towards the end of the film. Sam and Harry’s tension isn’t as extreme as Brian and Michael’s from Queer as Folk and thankfully wraps up within 90-minutes as opposed to five seasons, but the two projects feel linked in more than a few ways.
Like the best romantic comedies, The Thing About Harry sets up a complicated romance that you can’t help but root for as it unfolds. Sam and Harry are the latest in a long line of great cinematic romances that include Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy, Cher and Josh, Westley and Buttercup, and Belle and the Beast. You can watch their romance unfold this Valentine’s Day as the newest Freeform original movie.
I give The Thing About Harry 4.5 out of 5 synergy Disney references.
The Thing About Harry premieres Saturday, February 15th, at 8:00 pm on Freeform.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.