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Film / Straight Up (2019)

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All talk. No Sex.
Straight Up is a 2019 Independent American Romantic Comedy, written, produced and directed by James Sweeney, and starring Sweeney, Katie Findlay, Randall Park, and Betsy Brandt.
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A chance meeting brings a nearly perfect couple together in L.A. Todd (Sweeney) is a part-time programmer and housesitter, who is attempting to explore his own sexuality, which he always assumed to be gay but is reconsidering. Rory (Sweeney) is a struggling actress trying to deal with intense cynicism. They instantly become enraptured with their conversational chemistry with each other. Complicating matters is that he suffers from OCD, and his friends - especially those in the gay community - believe in clear lines of sexuality being drawn.

Originally based on Sweeney's earlier short film Normal Doors, the film gained partial funding through a crowdfunding campaign on the website Seed & Spark, and later distributed by Strand Releasing.

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Tropes in this film include:

  • Ambiguous Ending: Do Rory and Todd end up together as a couple? They are together at the end, but also there is a third man (who we have never seen) who seems intimate with both of them. Are they a thrupple? Is he Todd's lover while he maintains a friendship with Rory? Or vice-versa?
  • Ambiguously Gay: The plot in a nutshell. Todd isn't quite sure of his sexual orientation, as he always assumed he was gay because of his atypical approach to masculinity. However, because his OCD completely zaps his sex drive, he has a hard time sexually connecting with men, and decides to try dating women.
  • Genre Throwback: Word of God states that the 4:3 Aspect Ratio is meant to reference the way that Rory and Todd's presented relationship is in line with those in Romantic Comedies during The Hays Code era, when the ratio was standard.
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  • No Bisexuals: Todd's friends take offense to the idea that Todd is trying to date women, rejecting the notion that he could possibly be anything other than 100% gay. Later averted with Todd's therapist, who mentions he might be a "Kinsey 3".
  • Rape as Backstory: Implied with Rory, who definitely has some type of trauma in her past.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Subverted. It seems at first that the chemistry between Todd and Rory is based on their ability to have these for hours, but the conversations actually evolve into intimately baring their souls to each other, and have quite a lot of meaning.
  • Shout-Out: As it takes some inspiration from Gilmore Girls, these are a given:
  • Super OCD: Todd legitimately suffers from OCD, which causes him a lot of problems, but it does help him with his housesitting business, as homeowners love that he organizes their closets.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: The climax of the film comes when Todd serenades Rory outside her office after they have broken up. It appears to fail, as Rory recognizes that their relationship problems are nowhere near addressed, but there is some ambiguity...
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