Review | ‘Spoiler Alert’ is equally hilarious and heartbreaking

Spoiler Alert | Opens Feb 9 | Dir: Michael Showalter | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Based on the book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies this comedy drama opens up with Kit Cowan dying in the arms of his husband Michael Ausiello following an 11-month battle with cancer. The real-life story then recalls their 14-year relationship from start to finish.

In 2001 Michael, played by Jim Parsons, is living in New York and working as a writer for TV Guide. On a night out at a local gay club he meets Kit (Ben Aldridge), and the two immediately connect. They are two very different people. Michael is a complete fanboy and insecure about his body, while Kit is confident, mature and forthright.

They both share their fears of getting into a long-term relationship, and worry about potential heartbreak, but they begin dating and slowly a relationship builds. Along the way there’s coming out, meeting parents, buying houses and dealing with jealousy.

The film is hilariously funny, and once Kit’s parents Marilyn (Sally Field) and Bob (Bill Irwin) enter the story a series of comical scenes flow. Things take a turn, both for the story, and the tone of the film, when Kit is diagnosed with cancer.

Queer Eye alum Antoni Porowski appears as Kit’s colleague Sebastian, while Tony award winning actor Nikki M James plays friend Nina, and Jeffrey Self rounds out the cast as Nick.

Following the couple’s challenges and ambitions is an emotional experience. At the sold-out preview screening held by Pride WA a few weeks ago there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The depiction of this couple is very real and relatable.

With a script written by Dan Savage and David Marshall Grant, this film from director Michael Shoalwater successfully takes us from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.  The film reunites Shoalwater with the legendary Sally Field, who starred in his earlier work Hello, My Name is Doris.

The director’s most recent work prior to this film was 2021’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye which saw Jessica Chastain named Best Actress at the Academy Awards.      

Graeme Watson

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