Hey Lyfers! Time for another flick thought! After 12 Dates of Christmas I’m surprised I was able to bring myself to ever watch another movie again to be totally honest. But I was impressed today with The Late Bloomer!
The What, Buttnana?
The Late Bloomer is kind of a genius concept: a fully grown man goes through puberty all at once. Better yet, the hero in question is a sex therapist and he’s made his entire life’s work about not having sex. How much more productive we could all be if we just channeled our sexual energy into other things.
It’s genius because he has to come to terms with the fact that his entire life is a LIE because he had a tumor. It tickles the darkest, most aubergine depths of my existential schadenfreude. This joker was lowkey a huge terrified prude for his whole life and it’s not a strength of character. It’s a benign god damn tumor. Oh it just makes the skin on my back prickle because he was WRONG.
And now. Now he has to go through puberty…all at once. As a 30-year-old doctor.
*vibrates into space*
So What Actually Happens?
Well, that journey happens. And of course there’s a girl he likes but her boyfriend is a dick. She treats Pete (our hero) like kind of an old-timey eunuch. Which is kind of shitty, but he clearly wasn’t interested in ever sleeping with her so…it worked out for everyone for awhile? I guess? I mean, obviously shit hit the fan when he started getting all teenager-y. It worked out in the end though. Another happy ending was had by all. Overall I totally recommend this film. The best friend characters were believable and they made me genuinely laugh with their exchanges. I have friends like those characters.
Interesting themes in the film include:
- the way our perspective is shaped by our circumstances
- the fear a lot of people (especially men) face when they think something may not be right with their bodies
- there’s a coming of age story wrapped inside of a self-discovery story and that’s not something we see a lot in film
- Bobby Flay. Yeah that Bobby Flay.
- there is a critique of masculinity in this film
I think the critique could have been a lot stronger. Like, instead of taking an essentialist approach to how hormones make us behave (men have testosterone and therefore they’re oversexed aggressive assholes), literally any other choice could have been made.
I have no idea how many men read my blog. Probably one. What up, you glittery devil you. But even if you’re not a dude you’ve totally seen one…and there’s no excusing shitty, possessive, aggressive behavior just because someone has a lot of testosterone in their system. I’m genderqueer and I have way more testosterone in my system than an average cis woman…and I cultivated this skill called emotional regulation because I’m not actually a bald swamp monster who learned how to put on pants from Wikihow. I’m a god damn adult.
The thing is, almost everyone gets emotional when they’re getting hit with a ton of new hormones. That’s normal. Men and women BOTH experience aggression, and there’s a link between testosterone and aggression. But when Pete acts all shitty because testosterone (and this a point clearly made in the film, for anyone who wants to stop reading here because my feminist illuminati political agenda came out), it completely sidesteps the bigger moral problem Pete has: he’s kind of a hypocrite because his real problem is that he actually has no emotional regulation skills. And that’s a way more interesting problem to have. Pete smash because woman pretty has been done.
Pete the gently removed sex addiction counselor, the doctor, the mental health professional…the guy who doesn’t actually know what the fuck he’s talking about because he’s never experienced the emotions he’s preaching to us about…that’s interesting. That opens a conversation about experience and what we can know about others. And I wish there’d been more of that in the film.
I have to keep my criticism small, though, because Pete does learn this in the film and he does modify his position accordingly.
Kay So Should I Watch This, Buttnana?
Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Just don’t blame your asshole behavior on testosterone.