The Reel Review
Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge star in this romantic dramedy about a gay couple facing the end of their long-term relationship when one is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film is based on entertainment journalist Michael Ausiello’s 2017 memoir, “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies,” about his relationship with husband Kit Cowan.
Written by David Marshall Grant and LGBTQ+ activist/journalist and sex advice columnist Dan Savage, Spoiler Alert is a realistic portrait of the complicated nature of relationships made even more complicated by cancer. Under the direction of Michael Showalter (The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Big Sick), Parsons and Aldridge (Pennyworth, Fleabag) have an easy onscreen chemistry as the flawed, relatable (and sometimes mismatched) duo working through their respective emotional baggage, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Sally Field and Bill Irwin as Kit’s loving parents.
The film’s only real weakness is its reliance on 1980s sitcom vignettes to help tell its story. While the creative choice is commendable, its jarring execution detracts from the otherwise outstanding storytelling, particularly during its emotional gut punch of a finalé. That, however, is easily overlooked given how beautiful and vulnerable a tearjerker Spoiler Alert is. It will absolutely tear your heart out. Wipe away those ugly cry tears and stay for a touching mid-credits moment.
• Jim Parsons became interested in making Michael Ausiello’s memoir into a movie after sobbing through the story prior to leading a Q&A panel in Los Angeles. Parsons and his husband Todd Spiewak are producers of the film.
• Michael Ausiello says he’s still close with Kit’s parents Marilyn and Bob, and that the Smurfs memorabilia in the film are his real-life treasures and only a fraction of what the self-proclaimed competitive Smurf collector owns.
• Spoiler Alert co-writer David Marshall Grant (A Million Little Things, Brothers & Sisters) is also an actor, receiving a 1994 Tony nomination for Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Grant also played the father of Anne Hathaway’s character in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada.
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