'Love, Victor' Review: Though tame, Hulu show is a sweet story of a young man's exploration of sexuality and lust
'Love, Victor' explores how a sophomore highschool student navigates all that life throws at him while dealing with conflict over his sexuality
When 'Love, Victor' had moved from Disney Plus to Hulu, the expectations for the show mounted high. A show targeted at young adults that would speak to the conflicts that many are experiencing increasingly -- the confusion of identifying and establishing one's sexuality. As the spectrum becomes more detailed, the confusion among young teenagers increases and acceptance plays a huge role in understanding oneself better. Do I like men? Do I like women? Am I straight, bisexual or pansexual? What is the right label that I can fit under? This question is what drives 'Love, Victor's lead character Victor (Michael Cimino) further into the pit of an identity crisis.
Unfortunately for the show, however, the gravity that is required of an idea such as wrestling with oneself over sexuality being something that can be explored freely with the right company and acceptance is absent. A bit more of the push and pull that shows such as Netflix's 'Sex Education' or even HBO's 'Euphoria' excellently portray, adding to the drama, is something that 'Love, Victor' could have done with.
Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is legendary at Creekwood High for having come out as gay to his friends and his beautiful love story that began with a Ferris wheel ride at the school's Winter Festival is still something that students swoon over. Victor, who has just moved to Atlanta with his family has joined Creekwood High and after hearing about Simon from the vice-principal, his hopes are high for having a comfortable coming out experience. However, as he spends his day with the students and hears the underlying prejudice, he is once again let down. The anxiety kicks in and that is why instead of taking the opportunity of this blank slate that he was given midterm, he continues to live the facade that he had back in Texas.
His family is religious and Mexican, and coming out to them is something that Victor fears. So he had pinned all his hopes on living an open and free life outside of his home. However, his hopes shatter and in a moment of apprehension, he even acts on the rapport that he has built with Mia Brooks (Rachel Naomi Hilson). He makes a romantic move and initially, even convinces himself that what he feels for Mia is real and romantic.
It is Simon's voice that we hear in the background, as he explains that a romantic relationship is not just about butterflies in the stomach, but much more than that. That scene foreshadows the oncoming conflict and confusion that Victor would face in the future. The fact that Victor is also unsure of where he stands in the spectrum that covers sexual identity makes this an interesting representation of the confusion that many feel the first time they find themselves being attracted to someone of the same sex or otherwise.
The curiosity that comes with all of these new emotions that are running amok within Victor is further aggravated when he learns the real reason his family had to move from Texas to Atlanta in the first place. The possibility that his near-perfect mother, who loved him dearly would have at any given time cheated on their father is a hard pill for Victor to swallow. With everything that is going on in his life, this added pressure of having found out the deepest darkest secret of his parents puts more pressure on Victor to do right by his partner in his own relationship.
Amid all this, what does come as a respite to Victor is a visit to New York where he spends some time around Simon and his boyfriend Abraham aka Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale) and this definitely gives Victor that much-needed perspective that he seemed to be missing when it came to his intense attraction to Benji. New York as a city is portrayed to be more empowering for a young gay man because it is less homophobic than the places that Victor has been to before. The freedom that Victor enjoys opens his eyes to possibilities but all that is fleeting in the face of returning home. This fleeting happiness that Victor had felt when in New York is something that he must try to capture again and amid his people -- his friends and family and this is the journey that the show banked on.
All episodes of 'Love, Victor' released on June 17 and can be streamed on Hulu.