Comedy isn’t often given centre-stage at the Toronto International Film Festival. Bros is a welcome exception. Led by an all-star cast, this movie had a lot of expectations as an LGBTQ+ rom-com. The laughs are non-stop, and the ride is an enjoyable run. There’s a lot to love in this big-hearted project about finding hope among cynicism. In addition to being about two people about finding each other, it’s an exploration of the importance of accepting oneself.
The humor starts out strong, and is unrelenting to the end. Seriously, it’s possible to miss a significant majority of the jokes from laughing too loudly to hear them. It never feels overdone, however. The humor only adds to the story, and makes already loveable characters that much more endearing. This is the best of the rom-com genre. Sure, there might be cheesy moments. As a whole package, though, the jokes are whip-smart, and makes the audience feel smart with it.
Billy Eichner is at the height of his powers in Bros. His neurotic, anxiety-ridden, earnest self is so incredibly relatable. His Bobby just gets sweeter, in spite of his best efforts. Who among us hasn’t given up completely on the abysmal misery that is online dating? What really makes this character stand out, however, is his steadfast commitment to do the right thing, even when everyone around him is telling him to settle and get by. The fact that he wants more for himself and his community is aspirational.
Luke Macfarlane is the romantic interest that the world needs right now. His charisma carries each and every scene he’s in. His himbo energy is a perfect contrast to Eichner’s neuroses. His Aaron is the sweet, hometown boy that will take your breath away and satisfy your every need. He’s who you wished guys you went to high school grew up to be. While the reality is far, far less attractive, it’s nice to imagine an alternate timeline where these boys grew up to be men. There’s actually a massive brain underneath all that brawn, and it’s just as attractive as Macfarlane’s beautiful face.
At it’s core, Bros is a poignant reflection on LGBTQ+ history, and why we tell the stories we do. Who gets to write LGBTQ+ history, and why must every story be one of misery and destruction? While there’s no point in denying that these dark times are an integral part of understanding the LGBTQ+ experience, there are plenty of stories of joy to be found. Additionally, there’s plenty of commentary on the fact that only straight people are allowed to relay LGBTQ+ stories.
Finally, it’s been a long time since a supporting cast has been so strong in a story about two people. This movie is an academic lesson in how to incorporate an ensemble without overwhelming the leads. The ensemble lifts the entire story up, which is how it should be. Even the cameos are perfectly placed, adding to the comedy and further proving the points being made. There’s one cameo in particular that is…pure perfection.
Ultimately, Bros is better than it has any right to be. If you don’t care for the romcom genre, you may find this new take refreshing. If you love it, you’ll find something new here along with all of the best classic tropes. What separates it from just being run-of-the-mill is that it has a necessary story to tell. If you show up for straight men playing gay characters, and cis actors playing trans characters, you need to re-evaluate your life, and then check out Bros.
Bros is in theatres now.