When I was growing up, there was absolutely no teen-appropriate LGBTQ+ media. In fact, the only lesbian romantic comedy in film that I can remember seeing before the age of 18 is Imagine Me & You, and whilst I was very grateful for that movie at the time, it was about grown ass women. You see, it was relatable to an extent, but I was absolutely not mature enough to really feel seen in popular culture. Because of all that, it really warms my heart that films like this one are now becoming more of a regular occurrence so that today’s young adults have something really positive to take solace in.
Another sign of the times is that Crush recently made its UK debut on Disney+ (Hulu in the States), so it’s not only a very inclusive film, but it’s also pretty accessible. The story focuses on a young girl named Paige, who joins her school’s track team on a whim, purely because the girl she’s had a long-time crush on is also on the team. Things take a sudden, unexpected turn however, when Paige finds herself falling for someone else entirely.
Let me preface this review with one thing: my girlfriend and I couldn’t stop singing “I AM MOANAAAAAA” every time Auliʻi Cravalho came on screen so… even if this film was crappy we’d have had fun regardless.
It’s only a bonus then that Crush was actually really quite wonderful. Even though it’s the first teen romcom that I’ve seen from Disney+, it is immediately better than any movie Netflix have come up with in this genre… maybe ever. Not only were most of the characters actually pretty likeable and had some substance to them, but it didn’t overstay its welcome and was paced uncharacteristically well for a teen movie. (No shade, but teen movies are regularly way longer than they need to be, whereas Crush comes in at a slender 92 minutes.)
Unfortunately, the plot was almost entirely predictable (I figured out who the ‘mysterious’ KingPun was before we even met the culprit and it was way too easy to see the love story coming before the characters knew about it), but something about it was so sweet that it didn’t really matter. I kind of get now why straight people love romcoms so much; something I never understood as a small gay watching them growing up.
Now here are some things that really excited me personally that have relatively little to do with the movie itself, starting with some 10/10 lesbian band T-shirts. (Uh Huh Her, Gush, girl in red, I see you!) Might seem like a small detail to you, but I was BUZZING – these small details are a clear sign that the director and writers themselves are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The other thing? The soundtrack was genuinely one of the best I’ve heard this year. Perfectly fitting and worked to enhance the visuals. Good stuff.
Sweet, realistic and really quite funny at times, Crush won’t win any awards for filmmaking or artistry. However, it finds the balance between character and plot really well, and the inclusion of seasoned actors (Megan Mullally!) amongst a talented young cast is the movie’s master stroke.
Crush is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
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Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½