Do you love Jane Austen and the storyline of Pride and Prejudice? Would you like to spend a week on a beautiful island with your closest friends? Are you a sucker for a rom-com? Do you agree that we need more Asian-American and LGBTQIA+ representation in Hollywood? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to watch the new Fire Island movie.
Fire Island is 105 minutes of breathtaking scenery, relatable characters, hilarious one-liners, and romantic moments that get you in your feelz. It is an absolute joy to watch––I watched it twice in 48 hours!
What is the Fire Island movie about?
The movie Fire Island comes from the mind of comedian and screenwriter Joel Kim Booster (Big Mouth) and stars Emmy-Award nominated SNL star Bowen Yang (Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, The Lost City).
Fire Island is a modern-day rom-com that puts a diverse examination of queerness and romance at the center of its story. Inspired by the “queen” Jane Austen’s literary classic Pride and Prejudice, two best friends (played by Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang) set out to have an unforgettable summer adventure. Along with their group of eclectic and instantly loveable friends better described as chosen family, we get to join them for each day of their week-long vacation in the iconic Fire Island Pines, a short ferry ride from Long Island.
What makes Fire Island even better is that Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang are best friends in real life. In fact, the duo travels to Fire Island every year!
“ was the first close gay friend that I had who was also Asian,” Joel says of BFF Bowen Yang. “There’s so much that we have both experienced that is similar. Finding that person finally and feeling seen for the first time by someone like that is so powerful and important. There’s so much that we can talk about and relate over and so much that goes unsaid that can be shared. We look at each other and it’s like, Oh, I know what you’re feeling right now. This movie was really born out of that experience and that relationship.”
SNL favorite Bowen Yang feels the same way.
“[Fire Island] is his little baby, and I’m just really happy to be along for the ride,” Bowen Yang tells POPSUGAR. “The fact that he even thought to include me in this is just so surreal. I mean, we would come up in bar basements together, or we would not see each other for weeks at a time but then see each other at a show and check in. I feel like I lucked out so much by just having him around me.”
Joel Kim Booster got the idea of adapting Pride and Prejudice on his first visit to Fire Island a decade ago. He brought a copy of the Jane Austen classic with him and realized similarities between the book’s observations about class and society and his own observations of class and society in the Pines.
“There is this other side of the island that is scary and alienating in a way—it is oppressively white and inherently classist,” says Joel, who is of Korean descent. “Once you’re here, it can feel very alienating if you’re a person of color or you’re of a different body type. It’s funny to see how when gay men are together and we are the majority, how we discriminate and divide ourselves even further. I was like, I want to write a story about this.”
Fire Island is directed by Andrew Ahn, written by Joel Kim Booster, and stars Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomás Matos, Torian Miller, Nick Adams, Zane Phillips, Michael Graceffa, Aidan Wharton, Peter Smith, Bradley Gibson, and Margaret Cho.
Director Andrew Ahn, who made his feature film debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with the movie Spa Night, laughed out loud many times while reading the Fire Island screenplay. “What I loved about the script was how funny it was, but at the same time how much heart it had,” says Andrew. “It was a real Trojan Horse for emotion and interesting themes about gay social class. It felt like it had a little bit of everything wrapped up in a delicious package, and really felt like something I wanted to be a part of.”
Fire Island Trailer
Get ready to be transported to an LGBTQIA+ oasis
In an ideal world, every queer person would get the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Fire Island, often called America’s first gay and lesbian town. Considering that Fire Island Pines has some of the priciest real estate on the whole island, is only accessible by water, and has no private vehicles or paved roads, it’s certainly not the most accessible destination.
Luckily, this movie makes this queer oasis accessible to anyone with a Hulu login. There’s even some history squeezed in, including a look at the Sunday afternoon tea dances, which was an opportunity for the LGBTQIA+ community to discreetly come together and dance. Shot mostly on location on Fire Island, the film had some photography completed on mainland Long Island as well as New York soundstages.
“Fire Island is my favorite place to be,” says Joel Kim Booster in production notes shared with the press. “When I was still struggling to be a success working a day job that I hated and was miserable every day, oppressed by just how straight the rest of the world is, you could go there and you would explode because you could feel so free. You can carve out your own space and find the people that you vibe with.”
“I wanted the audience to watch Fire Island and feel like they were there,” says director Andrew Ahn in production notes shared with the press. “Even if they’ve never been here before, they could get some sense of the experience, the light, the sights, the sounds of this place.”
What we think about Fire Island (no spoilers!)
At Hollywood.com, we don’t have a resident movie critic. We simply have a team of writers who love movies and TV shows and share their thoughts and feelings with all of you, so here’s what we think about Fire Island.
If you’re a sucker for a wholesome rom-com, you’ll love seeing the familiar romantic comedy formula get the queer and diverse representation it deserves. The meet-cutes are perfectly awkward and endearing, the “Sometimes I Run” karaoke performance will have you singing along at home, and the big romantic gestures will make your heart swell––keep some tissues nearby.
Fire Island teaches you how friends can become your chosen family, an experience that is relatable to many in the queer community who have had to distance themselves from their biological families.
Along with a truly good love story, Fire Island reminds us that being vulnerable is worth it, even when it hurts.
Our favorite quotes from Fire Island
These are some of the most quotable moments in the movie with absolutely no context whatsoever:
Noah: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want for a wife.” You know who said that? Jane Austen. The queeen! Pretty dope way to start a story right? Heh, well no offense to my girl Jane, but that sounds like some hetero nonsense.
Noah: We’re going to Fire Island! It’s like gay Disney World––fun for the whole family.
Noah: “Monogamy industrial complex rears its ugly head. Listen, I’ve never had a boyfriend either and I’m f**kin’ awesome!”
Noah: Everybody should f**k on Fire Island at least once. It’s like our birthright.”
Howie: I want the romance bullsh*t, I like the rom-com stuff, like kissing in the rain and standing outside my room with a boombox, or confessing things in a gazebo…what’s wrong with that?”
Luke: If you don’t get Apple Care, you have no one to blame but yourself.
“Seriously, what is the point of liberation if we can’t feel a little liberated?!”
Noah: What happened? I haven’t seen you like this since your Four Loko days.
Howie: I think it’s the expensive booze. Guess my body is used to well.
Man in Pines Pantry: And for you to charge $11 for one box of Cheez-Its––which you fully well know a box of Cheez-Its is on average $7.59 in any store in New York, and I don’t throw this term around lightly, sweetheart––is homophobic.
Noah: Something important to understand about Fire Island is that time sort of works differently here. For whatever reason, call it magic or too many drugs, a full day in the Pines can equal anywhere between a week to three months out in the real world.
Luke: I found this on the ground…It could be Molly, or it could be, like, a probiotic.
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