Two gay men navigate the challenges of a smartphone era relationship in Sell By, writer-director Mike Doyle’s debut feature film that aims to push the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre by avoiding its tropes.
The movie, which premiered at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival and screened at Outfest Los Angeles, is a star-studded ensemble piece about the lives and loves of seven career-driven pals in New York. At the core of this Manhattan friendship circle are Adam (played by Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew), who have been together for five years.
Though Adam dreams of making a name for himself in the visual art world, he’s settled for a “ghost painting” gig with established artist Ravella Brewer (Patricia Clarkson), who passes his work off as hers. Meanwhile, Marklin has shot to internet fame as an Instagram influencer and, much to Adam’s chagrin, has outpaced his boyfriend’s modest salary through sponsors and partnership deals.
The movie is a thoroughly optimistic piece and emphasizes the similarities between its straight and gay characters as opposed to their differences.The heartfelt film proves that love is a dangerous game for a group of self-absorbed friends who are trying to navigate their own romances. Nobody said love was easy.
“There have been so many great films about coming out and battling adversity,” said Doyle. “I wanted to make a film that presupposed all of that and simply showed a gay couple in a relationship with one another. In doing so, I hope to portray the universality of the challenges of being in a relationship with another human being, regardless of sexuality or gender identity,” he explained.
Director Doyle talks about his movie below: