The Big Gay Love is about an unconditional and pure love that is apparently very hard to find. The ironic thing though is that the big gay love is really inside each of us. But it can still be awfully difficult to discover.
Quick Synopsis: Bob, a successful and insecure party planner, searches for love in a city obsessed with body image until he meets Andy and his world is turned upside down.
Bob is a bit awkward and lacks self-esteem, and we see him in the beginning of the film looking to buy a house. This house represents something – it is Bob growing up and settling into his own skin. However, a movie can’t start with such an ending. And the synopsis is a little misleading – Bob’s life was already upside down even before Andy came along.
Bob has had many unsuccessful attempts to meet guys – we mainly see the ones set up by his friends Chase and Aiden. Now I use the word “friends” loosely, because they are really anything but. They represent the extreme stereotype and shallow side of gay culture that relies on looks and status for social well-being. These two imply that Bob is not good enough the way he is, that he should get plastic surgery like they did, and are certainly not loyal friends.
But then Bob meets Andy and starts to fall in love. The problem is that he just can’t seem to get over his self-esteem issues enough to be himself around Andy, nor can he get past his insecurities enough to see Andy for who he is. Their relationship goes through starts and fits so many times that you have to wonder where this will all go. There is a scene at a pool party where Bob makes himself a scene, and it’s almost hard to watch. You know he’s making an ass of himself, but then you also know exactly why. Fortunately, the film has a message that I think it delivers loud and clear.
There is a clear commentary about gay culture and how it is often shallow and judgmental. We so often see the snide, witty remarks that people make, and take that for gay culture. Media portrays this side in all its lopsidedness. Everyone seems to judge everyone else, even though deep down none of us want to be judged. Isn’t that a part of being a counter-culture anyway? People judge Bob – his friends Chase and Aiden do. Even his potential new neighbors who are on the settled, conservative side of gay life judge him. Most of all Bob judges himself based on some shallow ideals.
The next step in this is that people need to learn to love themselves – and this generally needs to happen before they can love someone else. The director, Ringo Le, says that part of the message of the film is that you have to allow yourself to be loved and love yourself. No amount of external fixings like plastic surgery or even crazy workouts will fix the broken parts inside that need to heal on their own. Bob’s friend Lana says it clearly: “You know you have to learn how to love yourself.”
We all know I love a film that has a clear and unique message. This film certainly has that in spades, and I think the story is unique enough that it steers the cliches that I would normally find annoying right into the writer’s message in a way that makes sense. The movie is funny, clever, and full of metaphors that drive it’s message home in multiple ways. If you don’t realize that love starts with you instead of someone else by the time the movie is over, then you ate too much popcorn.
“Without the silence you can’t learn to filter out the noise.” – Bob
“Life is harder than complexity…. You have to peel away the layers to become refined to live in your simplicity.” – Director Ringo Le’s commentary