This coming-of-age gay teen dramedy has a sweet, sarcastic attitude.
Some of the best movies about characters with HIV include “Philadelphia” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” “Three Months,” which is being released by MTV Entertainment Studios on Paramount+, is another entertaining example, but more in a coming-of-age sense. It’s also about finding out whether or not the main protagonist has the disease, given the circumstances, and is anxious to find out.
The story is set in Hollywood, Florida in 2011. Caleb (YouTuber Troye Sivan from “Boy Erased”) is a young, rude gay teen, who has his reasons for his attitude. He is waiting to find out if he is HIV Positive, because the condom he used was expired and the boy he got down with has the virus.
I have a philosophy that some rude comments are more well meaning than they sound. Some people would say: “Quit the waterworks” or “Oh please,” but I believe there’s still goodness inside. As I was introduced to this teen, I start to think he’s some kind of a jerk, but as I continued watching, I acknowledge his own issues, and he also has supporting characters who try to bring out the best of him.
His doctor Diaz (Javier Munoz) tells him it could take “Three Months” to find out his results, and so he has to visit him every 30 days during that period. In the meantime, he advises Caleb to join his support group: “The Young and the Sexless.”
In it, he meets Estha (Viveik Kalra from “Blinded by the Light”), who is also waiting to find out if he has aids or not. He basically represents Caleb’s better half, and they spark a friendship. Maybe more than that. Kalra is also worried about what would happen when his parents find out his gay interests if he was HIV Positive.
Outside the romance, he lives with his grandma Valerie (Ellen Burstyn) and her new husband Benny (Louis Gossett, Jr.), both of whom share some sarcastic remarks with him. But they still care about him, especially his concerns about whether or not he’s clean.
He also has a hard connection with his mother Edith (Amy Landecker), who also doesn’t know about his homosexuality. When we finally get to see her, we see why he’s better off with his grandma.
Caleb works in a local minimart where his boss Suzanne (Judy Greer) is so stressed out by her husband struggling to find a job and raising her kids on her own, that she feels that scoring with his sarcastic Lesbian co-worker and only friend Dara (Brianne Tju) would make her life feel better. Suzanne also wants Caleb to have a better attitude, which would seem unlikely given his standards, and the fact that both he and Dara would get high in the store before closing time. As with romcoms, their friendship becomes affected by his new relationship with Estha.
“Three Months” knows how to use its attitude when it comes to characters who find themselves in unexpected situations or family lives, which set things in motions. Caleb deserves the BOTD (or Benefit of the Doubt if you don’t know what that is), because he’s worried about having the HIV disease, and you’re hoping he comes out heathy and clean.
This comedy also tackles on expired condoms, and I don’t believe I’ve seen that joke since “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” which resulted in Renee Zellweger’s character being pregnant. I’m not sure if the expired condom is supposed to be funny here, but it’s handled with a more honest and sincere sense than that mess.
Troye Sivan is wickedly funny and emotional as Caleb. Kalra has another charming role when he knows how to tame his new gay friend’s mannerisms. Tju reminds me of a sassy friend of mine, because of how she has her heart in the right place. And both Gossett Jr. and Burstyn both have their moments of empathy as Caleb’s grandparents. Writer/director Jared Freider in his movie debut allows the cast to show us there’s more than meets the eye, and it’s refreshing.
I trust in the movie’s judgement, and that’s why I was able to see some funny and affectionate moments, why we support the main protagonist, and why we should alway wear a condom and checking its expiration date.
Streaming on Paramount+ Tomorrow
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