Three Months, writer/director Jared Frieder’s debut feature is a rather wonderful queer teen rom/com that includes an AIDS scenario that is both contemporary and positive and for once doesn’t end in death. It’s a finely nuanced tale that is both entertaining and informative that reminds us that the spread of HIV may have declined, it is far from over.
The key to the film’s success is 26-year-old Australian/South African singer-songwriter and YouTuber Troye Silvan‘s pitch-perfect exhilarating star turn that is such a sheer joy to watch. He can even hold his own against the major acting talent the Frieder managed to cast in his low-budget film such as Academy Award winners Ellen Burstyn and Lou Gossett Jr.
Silvan plays Caleb a quirky charismatic gay teenager who is on the eve of his high school graduation and who works part-time at a local convenience store in Hollywood, Florida alongside his best (and only) friend Dara (Brianne Tju). On a drunken night, he picks up a man at the Ramrod, and in the middle of making out, the condom breaks.
Now worried about the possible consequences Caleb goes to an STD clinic to get tested and is disturbed to discover that to be 100% sure of his status he will have to wait three months. The Clinic’s doctor persuades him to attend a support group and there he meets closeted teen Estha (Viveik Kalra) with whom he strikes up a friendship.
Caleb is out to his Jewish grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) with whom he has lived since his father died, but he has still not told her of his possible HIV status. Estha who also lives at home has told his conservative Hindu parents even less. It’s one of the reasons that these two ‘loners’ become good friends and maybe more.
It’s a love story on several different levels: Dara is jealous that Caleb now has another friend and ends up making out with the female boss of the convenience store: ; Grandmother and her live-in boyfriend (Lou Gosset Jnr) are devoted to Caleb after his mother abandoned him soon after his father died ; then there is the burgeoning relationship between the two young boys that neither know how to deal with; finally Frieder clearly shows his love affair with Hollywood itself.
Frieder’s script is very authentic which makes one think that the story could be part autobiographical, but he peppers it with some hilarious one-liners. Grandmother declares she’s ‘lived through two husbands, seven wars, and five revivals of Oklahoma‘ whereas Caleb an avid Bowie fan accuses Estha into turning him into Taylor Swift.
It’s a next-generation queer film that can be appreciated and enjoyed by a much wider audience, especially by those who have waited for the whole possibility of happy endings
(P.S. Three Months will stream on Paramount+ on Feb 23rd)
Labels: 2022, HIV, Jared Frieder, Rom com, Three Months, Troye Sivan