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Movie Review: Crush (2022)

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It’s spring, and we gays are getting all the pre-pride month streaming service queer movies and shows. I was really excited to see that that this high school rom-com was sapphic because they seem pretty rare. We’ve had Love, Simon, of course, telling an mlm love story, and the Netflix series Heartstopper similarly telling an mlm love story. There’s the The Half of It, and But I’m Cheerleader both of which I love with all my heart, but I need more.

So now we have Hulu’s Crush (2022), which tells the story of Paige, an aspiring artist who is forced to join her school track when she’s accused of vandalizing the school. Paige is also tasked with finding the vandal, KingPun, or she’ll be suspended, ruining her chances of attending art school. She’s also struggling to work up the nerve to make a move on her long-time crush, Gabriella. Gabriella’s sister, AJ, is training Paige in track, and Paige manages to convince her to help her find KingPun.

The plot was bit predictable, I guessed the plot twist within the first fifteen minutes of the film. But it was entertaining. The jokes were sometimes funny, sometimes flat. I didn’t love the joke that school principal made about Taylor Swift’s age. But I did like some of Paige’s mom’s jokes, usually about sex.

Crush movie review & film summary (2022) | Roger Ebert
Stacy (Teala Dunn), Paige (Rowan Blanchard) and Dillon (Tyler Alvarez).

That’s one notable tonal difference between this film and the other LGBTQ+ teen rom-coms I’ve watched, even though there aren’t any sex scenes, the presence of sexuality looms large in the film. It’s there from Paige’s mom’s comments about sex toys to Paige’s friends, Stacy and Dillon, having sex at a party. Personally, I prefer to see teenagers less sexualized in movies and shows. But this is complex issue when in comes to how sexual we make LGBTQ+ representations. At the end of the day, the most sexualized character in Crush is Paige’s mom who is an adult.

It was also very lighthearted focusing on receiving acceptance after coming out and representing many openly sapphic characters. It gave me hope that maybe some LGBTQ+ teenagers are having that experience, or that future teens will have a more accepting future. I also appreciated that Gabby and AJ weren’t pitted against each other. I was worried that Gabby might be demonized or seen as less queer because she’s more traditionally feminine than AJ. But instead Gabby was kind and supportive of AJ, and she was supported in turn.

All in all I’d recommend Crush if you’re looking for a lighthearted Sapphic teen rom-com, although I prefer Half of It and But I’m a Cheerleader. But our options are limited so I’ll take it. Also the main actresses, Rowan Blachard and Auli’i Cravalho are both openly bisexual in real life. I would give Crush 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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