Netflix recently added their newest teen comedy, Alex Strangelove, which stars Vancouver-native Daniel Doheny. He plays Alex Truelove, a well-rounded high school senior as he dates girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein) and plans to lose his virginity to her… but things get complicated when he meets Elliot (Antonio Marziale), a charming gay kid who puts Alex on a rollercoaster of sexual exploration.
This modern coming of age story is a little messy, but that’s exactly what high school is like. It’s not a perfect movie or script and at times it’s a little awkward or stilted, but overall this movie is a great teen romcom. I would have loved this and identified with it when growing up, even though I wasn’t questioning myself in the same way as Alex does. It just embodies the teen experience in a lot of ways.
Although Weinstein’s Claire is mostly there for the de-virginizing girlfriend role, it feels like there’s a more fully-formed character lurking in the background—she’s smart, quirky, troubled with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and overly empathetic for a teenager. I would have loved to explore her story more since we do see her for so much of the flick.
Doheny also fits his character well, easily filling in the sweet, adorably awkward and quirky high school character. He has a great comedic timing from his time on stage and created a wonderful tension and chemistry with each of his romantic interests. His main love interest, Marziale, plays the teen crush well, managing both confidence in himself and a nervous uncertainty around Doheny’s Truelove.
This isn’t a ‘great’ gay romantic comedy by any means, I’d hope that one would have us pining after that relationship early on, rather than focusing heavily on the hetero pair. However, this is an incredibly fun, refreshing take on teen romantic comedies. It’s open about sexuality, handles teen sex realistically, and the occasional gross-out jokes are actually funny.
You can find Alex Strangelove on Netflix now.