‘Three Months’ Review: Troye Sivan in a Refreshing Film About H.I.V.

It can take three months after exposure for the bloodstream to accumulate enough antibodies to test positive for human immunodeficiency virus, or H.I.V.

That diagnostic waiting period provides the time frame for the coming-of-age comedy “Three Months.” This movie, set in 2011, presents a sensitive and surprisingly buoyant depiction of H.I.V. in contemporary society.

The plot begins as Caleb (Troye Sivan), about to graduate from high school, takes an H.I.V. test because a condom broke during a one-night stand. His doctor encourages him to attend queer support group meetings, and there, Caleb forms a connection with another young man, Estha (Viveik Kalra), who is waiting on his own H.I.V. test results.

Caleb, who is Jewish, is accustomed to living openly with his sexual orientation. He knows he won’t face rejection when he tells his best friend, Dara (Brianne Tju), a lesbian, or his adoring grandmother (Ellen Burstyn), about his tests.

By contrast, Estha is Hindu, and though he comes from a home that’s no less loving than Caleb’s, he has hidden his sexuality from his parents. He fears being honest with his family, lest they withdraw their love from him.

The writer and director Jared Frieder adorns their courtship with pretty compositions — whoever saw a doctor’s office with walls painted in such a pleasant ocean blue? He draws strong performances from his cast, and he blessedly doesn’t try to stuff the dialogue with crude or overly referential humor to remind the audience that they’re watching a comedy.

But the contrast between Caleb and Estha remains the movie’s greatest asset. Their relationship grants room for the audience to witness and appreciate their differences, not just culturally, but as fully drawn individuals. The characters are young, but the perspective remains refreshingly mature.

Three Months
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes. Watch on Paramount+.

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