Spoiler Alert (M, 112 minutes)
It is now 25 years since the "Puppy Episode" of the sitcom Ellen, so named because when its star Ellen DeGeneres told the network executives she planned to come out as lesbian on her show, they suggested that her character just get a puppy instead.
Queer representation on screen has evolved considerably since - Ellen herself took Oprah's crown as queen of daytime talk shows and queer people don't just die of AIDS on TV shows to give the straight characters someone to mourn or victimise any more.
If you want to understand just how far queer representation on the screen, large or small, has evolved in 25 years, make sure you watch episode three of The Last of Us, currently screening on Binge or Foxtel, where Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman give future Emmy performances as a gay couple struggling through a zombie apocalypse.
That episode is being talked about as the best hour of television of the current century, and the fact it is about a gay couple is the least interesting thing about it.
Spoiler Alert comes along in the same fortnight as that The Last of Us episode, but rather than be compared favourably or unfavourably against it, it just reinforces that perhaps something has turned ever so slightly in the popular culture and we might be able to talk about this film or go and see this film as a love story, or a bittersweet rom-com, rather than a queer film.
It stars Jim Parsons of "Sheldon from Big Bang Theory" fame, and can I say how great he looks? That Big Bang money is sure being put to good use.
In a rom-com it takes two to tango, a Sally for every Harry, and in this case it is Ben Aldridge, one handsome Pedro Pascal-looking kinda bloke.
Parsons plays Michael Ausiello, a real-life television critic and current editor of the American television review website tvline, and the film's screenplay is based on Ausiello's 2017 book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies.
This is an occasionally funny, mostly sweet tearjerker of a film out in time for Valentine's Day, and most couples will see elements of themselves.
That in itself is a spoiler, as is the fact this film is directed by Michael Showalter, director of The Big Sick who is obviously carving out a niche for himself as the director of weepy rom-coms that try and knock off one of the protagonists.
Writer Michael (Parsons) meets Kit Cowan (Aldridge) at a party and lowers his defences for the handsome man who seems interested in him, even allowing him to see his apartment with an embarrassingly enormous Smurf collection. When they've been seeing each other for a little while, Kit can't get away with his usual "this is just my friend" routine with his family and has to out himself to parents Marilyn and Bob (Sally Field and Bill Irwin), introducing Michael as his boyfriend.
The love story that grows between Michael and Kit is timeless, proving itself to be so despite Kit's cancer diagnosis. What is a sweet lovey lovey kind of story amps right up after this, with Parsons and Aldridge delivering powerhouse performances, along with Sally Field who just lives for this kind of thing.
The screenplay is by David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage - Marshall Grant writes himself a role as the couple's therapist, while professional agony aunt columnist Dan Savage unpacks some of the bigger non-cancer-related issues of contemporary relationships throughout the screenplay, including Michael's body issues in a porn star-obsessed world.
A film about a television writer, pulled from the pages of the writer's autobiography, is obviously going to be a little "meta" and director Showalter enjoys playing with us as the audience. This is an occasionally funny, mostly sweet tearjerker of a film out in time for Valentine's Day, and most couples will see elements of themselves.
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