From its opening moment, Fire Island ensures its viewer is aware that it is a Jane Austen adaptation. In voiceover, Noah (Joel Kim Booster) recites Pride and Prejudice’s first line, and even goes as far as to show us a copy of the book lying conspicuously on his bedside table. Fire Island loosely follows the structure of this oft-adapted source material, centering fun-loving and stubbornly independent Noah (mirroring the sharp and brazen Elizabeth Bennet) as he accompanies his friends to the country’s ultimate gay-hub, Fire Island. There, he meets his sullen and irritable Darcy, Will (Conrad Ricamora), and the two engage in a delightful love-hate, will-they-won’t-they relationship. Meanwhile, Noah’s best friend Howie (Bowen Yang) falls into a too-good-to-be-true romance with Charlie (James Scully): Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley. Of course, Fire Island comes with a notable twist. Director Andrew Ahn has transformed a story deeply rooted in heteronormative standards and ideals into one about the gay experience. The epicenter of the film lies in its characters’ sexualities, from discussions about the unique struggle of gay Asian invisibility to refreshingly candid conversations regarding the minutiae of their sex lives.
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