This image released by Universal Pictures shows Luke Macfarlane, left, and Billy Eichner in a scene from “Bros.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Luke Macfarlane, left, and Billy Eichner in a scene from “Bros.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

On the Screen: ‘Bros’ takes up space on the screen and in the cultural conversation

New comedy tackles chasing dreams and finding love

“Bros” is a film about taking up space. It’s about chasing dreams and it’s about finding love. It is, fundamentally, a romantic comedy. It’s also, in many ways, a film about itself.

“Bros” follows Bobby Lieber — played by writer Billy Eichner — a detached podcaster who is hired as a curator for a museum for LGBTQ+ history. He goes on Grindr dates where he has meaningless sexual encounters with other men, and focuses entirely on his professional life. Until he meets “boring” Aaron Shepard, played by Luke McFarlane.

The two, through a rapidly blossoming relationship, find themselves opening up about their abandoned dreams and achieve better lives together, in somewhat rote but still certainly charming rom-com fare.

Eichner’s Bobby is doubtless the emotional core of the film. An impactful monologue in the film’s second act lays out the themes of the film. As a child, Bobby was told he was “too much.” He was criticized for his voice, his walk, his identity. He describes being told at every turn how the world isn’t ready for people like him — maybe it won’t ever be.

But he commands his own narrative and brashly takes up space, he helps open the museum for LGBTQ+ history to tell stories about Queer people who have been erased from history. He says “confidence is a choice.”

That becomes the main conflict of the film — Aaron is more reserved than Bobby. Around certain people, Aaron asks Bobby to tone things down, to be less. He cannot. He should not.

It’s not hard to see the parallels between that narrative and Eichner’s own personal struggle — and public anger — about trying to make a full budget film from a major studio about Queer people. The film has received solidly positive reviews, but it didn’t bring home much money in its opening weekend. Eichner posted on social media, angry that the film didn’t seem to find an audience.

“Bros” is far from the first film trying to tell a story about Queer people, but it is the first to be put on a stage at this scale. Eichner’s struggle — that the nationwide audience isn’t willing to listen to Queer storytelling — wasn’t disproven.

But “Bros” is a good movie.

“Bros” is funny, “Bros” is charming, “Bros” is something I’ve absolutely never seen before — especially not on the silver screen in Kenai, Alaska.

There’s something for many to connect with in Bobby’s hurt. Many have struggled with the idea that they’re “too much.”

There’s also something to connect with in Aaron, who hates his job helping old folks write their wills but really just wants to make fancy chocolates.

“Bros” is about being an individual without apologizing for it. It’s not a film for Queer people. It’s just a contemporary rom-com.

“Bros” will be playing at Kenai Cinema this weekend. Check showtimes and purchase tickets at catheaters.com.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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