Written and directed by lead actor Tom Heard, a selfish man opens his heart and takes a chance on love. Also starring: Donato De Luca, Sharron Bower, Lesley Pedersen, Jason Graf, Adrian Laguette, Luke Hill, Rob Kaczmarek and Laura Galt.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider with this film is what it exemplifies for gay cinema, this is a simple drama about a couple of average people you could bump into on the street, dealing with relatable problems. It’s the sort of film you’d find scrolling through Netflix, and that’s an understated victory for LGBTQ+ filmmakers, for years gay cinema has been supporting characters, biopics or tales of woe and death but we’ve arrived at a point in time where people in films can just be gay without the story having to be centred entirely around that fact. The mainstream may still need a little more time to catch up but films like Happiest Season show that it’s on its way.
The story is one that feels very apropos of our time, following two people struggling to follow their dreams but have lost confidence because of hurtful experiences. There are elements to it that are fairly stereotypical, particularly with the dialogue and the initial introduction of the romantic link between Jamie (Heard) and Ben (De Luca) is slightly forced but after a bumpy start it settles into a smooth rhythm. It can be predictable at times, particularly in its ending but it redeems that with a sweetness and thoughtfulness to it that cuts through its more corny moments.
Heard and De Luca really build a convincing chemistry, it’s perhaps more interesting because it doesn’t come across immediately, it grows as the story moves forward and their relationship develops. Given that Heard’s Jamie is intended to be a selfish character, it’s definitely to his credit that he’s sympathetic and likable throughout, there’s a charming quality to exposing his flaws and his sensitivity to other people’s opinions. De Luca’s Ben plays everything very close to the chest in his first few scenes and makes it hard to get a read on him but then very suddenly he breaks out of his shell and becomes a strong factor in the heart of this film and its charm.
The style of direction feels very familiar, it takes a few risks with its more musical scenes which achieve varying levels of success as they could have pulled back at times but for the most part it creates a close, friendly atmosphere to its story. There’s some great location choices, particularly during Jamie and Ben’s romantic montage of their weekend away, it adds a lot of variety and gives the film a little extra room to roam outside of the apartments and offices that its mostly set in.
Getting It is the sort of film you search for when you need a break from reality, something easy-going and sweet. It does hit some stereotypical and predictable notes but it’s a great example of taking a style of film that’s usually monopolised by clichéd heterosexual stories and bringing a more modern, relatable tone to encompass a larger audience. It may not grab you immediately but before you realise it, you’ll find yourself incredibly invested in Jamie and Ben’s story.