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A Colourful Expedition of Discovery – Unicorns (Review)

2 min read
Ben Hardy and Jason Patel in Unicorns

is increasingly recognised by the mainstream. Over the past decade, we have witnessed a shift in how prevalent queer representation has become within media. Less than 20 years ago, queer cinema was still being treated as this underground, niche marginalised collection of films that would never be shown on a mainstream platform. Fast forward to today, and we have Moonlight winning Best Picture, Call Me By Your Name and Portrait of a Lady on Fire becoming modern classics, and Red, White & Royal Blue a recent streaming juggernaut. Queer cinema has come such a long way, be it with its audience reach, but also in its storytelling.

Sometimes, love comes to us in unexpected ways. That's the core concept of Unicorns, a beautifully tender narrative about how two souls are destined for each other. We follow Luke (Ben Hardy), a single father and mechanic who meets drag queen Aysha (Jason Patel) in a chance encounter. When sparks fly and Luke begins to fall in love with Aysha, he begins to question his sexual identity.

Unicorns is a colourful expedition of discovery. Brought to the screen by directors Sally El Hosaini and James Floyd, the central love story is a refreshingly romantic tale between two men. Often, queer cinema has largely been tragic love stories. Unicorns is everything you would find within a Hollywood romantic drama; the instant connection felt in the meet-cute, the dating stage, the complication, etc. We know the formula, but it's often never applied to queer relationships, especially in a film of this level.

Hardy and Patel are tremendous as the co-leads, with Hardy giving arguably his best performance to date. His nuance and awkwardness as he finds himself thrust into the world of drag queens convey so much with so little. He is a fish out of water, trying to find his place in the world after finding comfort in a completely unexpected place. Patel is equally giving a powerhouse performance, as his character lives a double life. At night, he is the seductive and confident Aysha, dancing in clubs and putting on a performance. During the day, he is Ashiq, a shop worker who hides his true self from his family in fear of it upsetting them.

Unicorns is a great addition to queer cinema. It is a classic love story showcasing two lost souls who find each other when they are at their most vulnerable. The direction is stunning, the performances are powerful, and the narrative is truly heart-warming.

Unicorns is currently in cinemas