Unicorns Review

Unicorns
When mechanic Luke (Ben Hardy) and drag queen Aysha (Jason Patel) lock eyes across the dance floor, the chemistry is undeniable. Soon this unlikely love story changes both of their lives, uprooting everything Luke thinks he knows about his sexuality — and life as a whole.

by Ella Kemp |
Published on

Star-crossed lovers are always ripe for the big screen — a fact understood well by filmmakers James Floyd and Sally El Hosaini with the vibrant if familiar Unicorns. Mechanic-meets-drag-queen isn’t yet part of the genre’s vernacular, but the film makes a fine case for this new couple to become part of the canon.

Unicorns

The tragic lovers here are mechanic and single dad Luke (Ben Hardy) and drag queen Aysha (Jason Patel). They meet in a club — a wordless, intoxicating encounter — before Luke notices the Adam’s apple of his object of affection and things get complicated. Perhaps this kind of point-blank prejudice feels a few years old in cinema, but it’s no less tragic in the real world.

Luke and Aysha together are more compelling than the sum of their parts.

The film explores self-expression and the definition of family protection carefully, looking at what it means to shelter your children from harm across every age and circumstance. While Luke grapples with his responsibility as a father, navigating co-parenting and his own life as an adult, Aysha’s deeply traditional family values threaten to thwart everything she knows she and Luke could have.

Yet the dynamic of this romance retreads familiar ground: it's another story about a gruff, reticent partner (Hardy does a fine job) meets a firecracker dream girl, where everything goes well, until it doesn't. Patel comes alive in moments of romantic ecstasy, his eyes carrying a world of possibility, but Luke and Aysha together are more compelling than the sum of their parts. It feels like there is much more story to be told after the credits roll — but the will-they-won’t-they question somehow feels like the least important of all.

A compelling if formulaic star-crossed lovers’ narrative. Come for a wordless seduction, stay for the complexities of parenthood, drag queens and family loyalties that deserve more of your time.
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