2020 Realness

Stress Positions is so much more than a COVID comedy

It’s 2020 (shivers) and Terry Goon is trying and often failing to keep a strict quarantine in his ex-boyfriend’s brownstone in New York City while taking care of his 19-year old nephew, a model from Morocco named Bahlul left immobile after an electric scooter accident. A sign of the times. 

When Terry isn’t scrubbing down his door handles, he’s trying to keep his posse of gay friends from meeting his model nephew. He also fails at that. 

Stress Positions is not a movie about COVID. In fact, the pandemic is merely a backdrop that creates some hilarious situations. 

Between begrudgingly banging pots and pans out apartment windows, awkward DoorDash encounters and frantically putting masks on, Stress Positions is a 2020 postcard that nobody really asked for or even wanted but I liked it. A lot. 

Starring as Terry’s friend Karla — and writing the film  — is the irreverent comedian and co-host of the podcast NYMPHOWARS, Theda Hammel. If you’ve listened to NYMPHOWARS, it’s hard to imagine that Hammel is even playing a character, she’s just her outrageously funny self. 

Terry, played by Search Party star John Early, is neurotic, annoying and the perfect foil to counteract Hammel. Qaher Harhash, a Palestinian model makes his acting debut as Bahlul, the shy model whose journey of self and sexuality discovery adds a level of depth to the film making it more than a poke at the pandemic. Harhash’s performance is subtle but effective at peering into the lens of a curious newcomer who is greeted with open arms by his uncle’s queer community.

The writing, though, is what grabs me in Stress Positions. Hammel is witty, original and above all true to the queer community she’s writing about. You can stream Stress Positions on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV, Fandango at Home and Google Play Movies and TV. 

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