If Elliot hit on me the way he hit on Mia, he wouldn’t have gotten the time of day. Clearly Tinder has desensitized her – an unwanted intrusion and the implicit assumption that women somehow owe some kind of interaction to all men who ring the doorbell aren’t enough to dissuade her. She consents to a date, her roommates encouraging her to “get her dick wet” and he confesses: he was just diagnosed with cancer yesterday. It’s life threatening, and more importantly, sex threatening (ie, a tumor on his pubic bone, specifically Ewing’s sarcoma, if you’re the type who likes to Web MD that shit). With sex off the table, Elliot’s going to have to relearn how to talk to women!
So anyway, this puts kind of an awkward pressure on their relationship for a couple of kids in their early 20s who weren’t necessarily looking for anything serious. This pressure cooker means they get to know each other very intensely and soon they’re inseparable: chemo, radiation, surgery, and even a bucket list for broke 20somethings. The other people in his life get a little jealous that Mia’s monopolizing all his time, but they’re living like these might be his last days, because these might be his last days.
Jeremy Allen White and Mia Monroe are excellent as two people on this impossible trajectory. Either their love is doomed…or it’s doomed. Youth and passion may be enough to plow through the indignities of a medical crisis, but what happens outside those bounds? What will they even have to talk about if not tumors and ports and hair loss? Even if forever isn’t exactly a long time, it’s still further ahead than either of them has ever though. Cancer has launched them into a premature adulthood, which may be a flimsy premise for a love story. You think that illness is going to be the greatest test, but lots of mundane things topple relationships with deeper roots than theirs.
P.S.: it’s National Wear Red Day!