What’s with Netflix originals I’m watching this week being totally mediocre films? First Sierra Burgess and now this one..
Alex Strangelove is the story of Alex Truelove (Yep, that’s his last name). For some reason he reminded me of Ross from FRIENDS (watch and let me know if you felt so too?). So, Alex the nerd is a virgin and his equally nerdy girlfriend Claire wants to devirginize (is this a new word I don’t know? Gen Z, I tell you) him. Alex, however, is so prudish you would think he’ll make Alok Nath proud. Enter Elliot, a curly-haired boy who’s out and proud, and Alex begins to wonder which way he swings. From here on, the story is anyone’s guess.
Spoilers from here:
What I liked about this film: Madeline Weinstein’s presence as Alex’s girlfriend Claire. She’s so easy on the eyes, and steps up to deliver a heart-warming scene or two when required. Alex’s friends – mainly Daniel Zolghadri as Dell and Nik Dodani as Blake – are superbly cast. Zolghadri gets some of the best lines in the film and he’s spot on with his acting. I’d love to see more of him. The run-time is around 100 minutes, and giving credit where it’s due, the film doesn’t really drag.
What I disliked: This list is longer than I thought it would be. To start with, I don’t understand why we weren’t shown Alex’s journey with his sexuality right from the word go, in chronological order. I say this because, towards the end of the film when Alex declares to his girlfriend that he’s gay (only after realization dawns on him thanks to his little reverie in a swimming pool that brings back memories from childhood), I didn’t actually buy it. Agreed, coming to terms with sexuality may not happen gradually for everyone. Agreed, it may take just an encounter or two for you to realize you actually play for the other team (as well). Alex’s coming out to Claire seemed off because he says he kinda knew it always but didn’t really face it. Why then, would he, with cent percent conviction, outright deny being gay earlier in the film? If he was blatantly lying then, or even wondering about it himself then, there’s nothing on Alex’s face that shows this. When Claire asks him how he couldn’t know and why he didn’t tell her, he says, “for the fear of losing you”. Doesn’t this seem off? I don’t know. Maybe this is just me, and others might find this totally convincing. I would have loved to watch his journey with his identity from the word go (one thing Sierra Burgess got spot-on!).
Antonio Marziale’s Elliot is a pawn of sorts here. His character lacks any depth and is merely used a litmus for Alex’s sexuality. There’s hardly any chemistry between the two men, partly because their romantic angle wasn’t fleshed out well. Moving on…we don’t get enough info about Claire’s family, and her Mother’s health in particular. Alex’s parents too hardly get to do or say anything. Elliot’s best friend gets just once scene, and I wish she had more to do in the proceedings.
Overall, Alex Strangelove ends up being mediocre. I’m going with 2.5 out of 5! This film is streaming on Netflix.
All the images used are screenshots from the film’s official trailer on Netflix.