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Photo: ‘Spoiler Alert’
Directed by Michael Showalter, ‘Spoiler Alert’ is the 2022 Drama/Comedy adaptation of Michael Ausiello’s book, ‘Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies at the End: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words ’. The film stars Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge, Sally Field, Bill Irwin, Antoni Porowski, Josh Pais, Nikki M. James, and Tara Summers. The story is told through the lens of Jim Parsons’ character, Michael Ausiello, who is recounting his relationship with his late husband, Kit Cowan. The story is framed as a highlight of their love story and the highs and lows they go through until Kit’s untimely death. The visuals, music, and overall story were strong and made for a compelling watch, despite the ending being given away from the start.
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Michael and Kit’s Awkward Yet Beautiful Relationship
The focus of ‘Spoiler Alert’, start to finish, is the relationship between Michael and Kit. From the beginning of the movie, we see that Michael is not someone who really enjoys going out to meet people in public settings. He’s a clear introvert and enjoys niche things. Once he meets Kit, Michael begins to open up not just about his hobbies but his insecurities and really explore his emotions. A touching scene in the film is where Michael reveals his peculiar obsession with the animated children’s television show, ‘The Smurfs’. Instead of judging Michael for his niche interest, Kit takes his hobby seriously and opens up about engaging sexually with someone else. Not only does the scene exemplify that Kit deeply cares about Michael, but it shows that he has respect for him that cannot be shaken.
Despite Michael and Kit’s issues, such as Kit’s secret affair with Antoni Porowski’s character, Sebastian, they still manage to get through these problems and put their love for each other first. While the issues they’re forced to face sometimes feel relationship ending, we already understand that, in the end, Michael and Kit will work through their problems because of the honesty these two have with each other and their willingness to make their relationship work. At times, Jim Parsons and Ben Aldrige struggled to make this romance convincing, but when they do, it makes for amazing cinema.
Another deeply heartwarming but sad moment in ‘Spoiler Alert’ is when Kit is showing Michael his apartment and points to the closet space where he’s put up a plaque with his name. Michael sees it and is instantly shellshocked at the sight with him feeling a swell of emotions. It is here that Michael tells Kit “I love you” for the first time but Kit says it back at the same time. Later, Michael and Kit have to clean Kit’s apartment of everything that will lead his parents to believe that he’s gay, one of those things is taking the plaque with Michael’s name down. Something about this moment was particularly heartbreaking as it was clear how much Michael meant to Kit so to see the two have to pretend to not be a couple was difficult. It is the scenes like these in ‘Spoiler Alert’ that remind us that this is a film about how the little moments you share with the people you love are just as important as the big ones.
The Impending Doom of ‘Spoiler Alert’
From the literal opening scene of ‘Spoiler Alert’ the audience is made abundantly aware that Kit will die from cancer at the end of the film. Because of this, it frames the rest of the film in a lens that constantly reminds us that we as the audience will have to watch Michael, our protagonist, come to terms with losing the love of his life and Kit come to terms with his own death. Despite the utterly depressing ending set up in the opening of ‘Spoiler Alert’, the film pushes the notion that relationships are never about the destination but the journey and hardships to overcome along the way. What also worked with Kit’s death in ‘Spoiler Alert’ is despite it being based on a true story, Kit’s death did not feel like something shoehorned in at the end or forced in any way throughout the movie. The film does not constantly remind the audience that Kit dies but instead lets the remainder of his story play out in an intriguing and heartfelt way.
The Visuals and Fun
One of the most impactful moments of ‘Spoiler Alert’ is when we enter the mind of Michael and see him almost pretend that he is on a film set as his husband, Kit, is dying, and just before Kit passes away, he interviews him in a TV style way. This was an incredibly impactful moment as just before Kit passes away, Michael tells Kit the interview is over and he can go. As Michael says this, Kit flatlines and passes away from cancer in his bed. Along with the scenes like this, ‘Spoiler Alert’ has excellent cinematography and visuals with the screen often being occupied by warm colors that match the Christmas time energy of the movie. The soundtrack, with the score by Brian H. Kim, is also well done and incorporates impactful tracks.
Worth the Watch
Overall, ‘Spoiler Alert’ was a moving piece that felt both clever and emotional when it needed to be. Despite the relationship between Michael and Kit sometimes feeling a bit off, both Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge nailed this couple and brought excellent performances to this film. What makes ‘Spoiler Alert’ so watchable at the end of the day is how realistic and down to Earth the film feels, especially considering it is based on the true story of Jim Parsons’ character, Michael Ausiello. Once again, Michael Showalter proves that he is a master at telling endearing yet funny love stories. ‘Spoiler Alert’ is in theaters starting on December 2, 2022, and is rated PG-13.
By Spencer Hoffman
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Spencer Hoffman is a writer for The Hollywood Insider and current film student. He is an avid consumer of cinema and television and enjoys sharing his insight on these topics within his features and reviews. He strongly believes in the power of the written word and the importance of truth in everything. Spencer aligns with The Hollywood Insider’s views of empowerment and raising all types of voices up. He hopes to entertain and incite meaningful conversation with his pieces.