Combined with Heartstopper, Crush gives you all the butterflies you need if you want a quality romance to watch, especially if you want same-sex couples.


Director(s) Sammy Cohen
Screenplay By Kristen King, Casey Rackham
Date Released (Hulu) 4/29/2022
Genre(s) Comedy, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT+
Duration 1 Hour and 32 Minutes
Content Rating TV-MA
Noted Cast
Paige Rowan Blanchard
AJ Auli’l Cravalho
Gabriela Isabella Ferreira
Dillon Tyler Alvarez
Stacey Teala Dunn
Coach Murray Aasif Mandvi
Principal Collins Michelle Buteau
Angie Megan Mullally

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Paige has dreams of going to Cal Arts for school, but many things are standing in her way. First and foremost, the application. But following that, there is the issue that Paige doesn’t do extracurricular activities and doesn’t compensate for that with anything else to make her stand out. But, thanks to being accused of being KingPun, an artist who vandalizes the school with quite good puns, things change.

With Principal Collins and Coach Miller, a deal is made where she’ll join her friends, Dillon and Stacey, on the track team, and be trained by AJ, the fraternal twin of Paige’s crush Gabriela. On top of that, Paige is tasked with finding the actual KingPun, or risk suspension.

But what starts off as a punishment and quest to vindicate herself becomes Paige opening up more, taking risks, and being fairly rewarded for doing so.

Things To Note

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (Throughout, but mostly to add oomph to a statement, nothing overly vulgar), Violence (Nope), Sexual Content (You will see sex toys, hear conversations about sex, and it is known Stacey and Dillon are having sex, but the most you’ll see is Stacey in bed with Dillon with a bra on), Miscellaneous (Teen drinking and smoking)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What happened in the Evans family line that made them so open about sex and sexuality?
  2. Why does Dillon talk like he is the man of Angie’s house and has any sway?

Collected Quote(s)

“Why would you sweat when you don’t have to?”
— Paige

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Paige

Paige (Rowan Blanchard) longing to talk to AJ
Paige (Rowan Blanchard)

Paige has wanted to go to Cal Arts for a long time, but with them asking what her happiest memory is, she struggles to pinpoint the one that fits. Though considering her academic resume is sparse and her social life, it seems that being accused of being a popular local graffiti artist may jumpstart her junior year and her life.

AJ

AJ (Auli'l Cravalho) looking exasperated
AJ (Auli’l Cravalho)

AJ is Gabriela’s fraternal twin sister, who is the more athletic and lowkey of the two. In fact, AJ feels that Gabriela often does things that put her in the shadow, like coming out after her and even, in 5th grade, making a move to talk to Paige after her.

Gabriela

Like her sister, Gabriela is gay, but while AJ is bi-sexual, Gabriela is lesbian. Also, unlike her sister, Gabriela is well-known and popular, and AJ would say that Gabriela is also the favorite of the family.

Dillon

Dillon is Paige’s closest friend and at the heart of one of her fondest memories. But, things have gotten a bit weird since he got with Stacey, who Paige likes and is friends with, but it can make her feel like a third wheel.

Stacey

Like Dillon, Stacey is highly ambitious, and like Gabriela, she is well-liked by her peers. Hence her running for Class President, and while Dillon is too, all signs point to Stacey winning.

Coach Murray

Coach Murray (Aasif Mandvi) and Angie watching Paige try to win AJ back
Coach Murray (Aasif Mandvi) and Angie

Coach Murray is the track coach and wishes that he could also control the disciplinary aspect of reprimanding students, especially since Principal Collins would rather not go to the extremes Coach Murray likes.

Principal Collins

Principal Collins (Michelle Buteau) saying they know Paige is KingPun
Principal Collins (Michelle Buteau)

Funny and fair when she can, Principal Collins genuinely doesn’t want to be the bad guy. As her job calls for it, she’ll be tough, but she would like the students to enjoy the high school experience. That and join the renaissance club.

Angie

Angie is Paige’s mom, a nurse, and if you wonder why we don’t hear about Paige’s dad? Angie decided she wanted a kid and got a sperm donor. Women in her family are independent and bold like that.

Review

Highlights

AJ and Paige

The complete story of AJ and Paige, played by two Disney alumni, gives you everything you need. It doesn’t dive into stereotypes or make some outdated jokes about being a lesbian or bi. Also, it skips the coming out portion, for the most part, while noting Paige had an easier time than AJ. Rather, it focuses on what you want and need: To see two people find each other, accept each other, and begin the process of finding in love.

Mind you, not in some blissful, anyone could do it kind of way, but by putting in the work. You have to get to know someone by making yourself truly available and making an effort to connect. You have to be consistent to build trust, and when someone is vulnerable with you, you have to maintain the safe space they are trying to make with you to further develop your connection

All of that is seen, and while we get that usual dramatic reveal that throws off AJ and Paige’s trajectory, I would say, while the obligatory grand gesture to win AJ back is cute and touching.

Knowing There Is More to Gabby Than We See From Paige’s Eyes

Gabriela (Isabella Ferreira) shocked her sister is KingPun
Gabriela (Isabella Ferreira)

In many ways, there are some elements of Crush that will make you wish we were watching a mini-series. One of the examples is Gabby’s character, who is presented as popular, a jock, a lesbian, and charming, but there is more to her. While charismatic, it seems holding onto a relationship is hard for her. Despite AJ making it seem everything is about Gabby and life is easier for her, especially in their family, she makes it clear she has her stuff too.

Now, while we don’t get everything and more to know about Gabby, like with most characters, you can see enough breaches the surface for you to want more and desire some follow up on statements made by the character or others.

While Weirdly Intense, You Can Get Into Dillon and Stacey

Dillon (Tyler Alvarez) and Stacey (Teala Dunn) talking to Paige
Dillon (Tyler Alvarez) and Stacey (Teala Dunn)

Is it strange that nearly every conversation is a ramp-up to Dillon and Stacey kissing? Yes. Yes, it is. However, there is no denying they are a cute couple who might compete with one another but also support one another. They are a high school power couple, and while sometimes their relationship seems foreign, at the same time, the actors make it seem so real that you’re left feeling that while it may not have been part of your experience, that doesn’t mean there aren’t teens like this out there.

On The Fence

Sometimes It Overdoes It On The Woke Language & Showing Its Characters (Angie) Are Progressive

While not as heavy-handed as Mark, Mary and Some Other People, Crush does employ the use of dialog, which repeatedly puts in your face how Paige is different. Her being gay is repeatedly brought up for the sake of a joke or to further point out how she is socially awkward, and Angie? Don’t get me wrong, she is funny, and her bringing up dental dams and being sex-positive is wonderful to see. However, it becomes less funny and more awkward after a certain point.

Angie (Megan Mullally) noting she chose to be a single mother
Angie (Megan Mullally)

Like, did Angie really clean what she thought was Paige’s sex toy with the dishes?

Overall

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

While Angie and Paige can be a bit much, for the way their dialog is makes you wonder if maybe you’re disconnected with how Gen Z talks, everything else Crush offers is top-notch. The central relationship is beautiful, including Paige’s early conundrum. It’s funny when it isn’t trying to be overtly in your face, and it honestly leaves you wanting more in the best way.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 
Title Card - Crush (2022)
Crush (2022) – Review/ Summary
Who Is This For?
Those who like teen romantic comedies that don’t have much in the way of sexual content but has everything else you’d expect.
Highlights
AJ and Paige
Knowing There Is More to Gabby Than We See From Paige's Eyes
While Weirdly Intense, You Can Get Into Dillon and Stacey
Disputable
Sometimes It Overdoes It On The Woke Language & Showing Its Characters (Angie) Are Progressive
82


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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