The Thing About Harry

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Thing About Harry TV Poster Image
Sweet characters, some sex in cheesy-cute LGBTQ romcom.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

This movie is so lightweight that messages don't land solidly, but messages of communication and integrity are visible in plotlines about living an authentic life and accepting oneself as well as others. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam and Harry are a cute couple who are comfortable with their sexuality. Their gradual courtship is charming, but watch out for negative messages about appearance as Sam and other characters talk extensively about others being "hot" and "handsome" and insult those they find less attractive, like a man with a larger nose who Sam calls "toucan Sam." During a date, Sam finds out a man is bald and is instantly turned off. Also messages about sexuality that are less than positive, like when Sam calls Harry "slutty" and a "man-whore."

Violence
Sex

A romance between two men slowly builds over course of movie. B story is the romantic life of one character's female BFF; expect passionate same- and opposite-sex kissing, and sex between two men (all private parts covered; action is gauzy and diffuse). A man is seen nearly nude (buttocks concealed) from behind in nonsexual contexts (showering, sleeping). Sexual jokes are common: "You wish I was riding you," jokes Harry's roommate, while Sam's pokes fun at him for masturbating to sleazy porn. In one scene, a woman asks a man at a party to "screw me into oblivion" in a bathroom. Two men on a first date kiss, one goes down on knees as prelude to oral sex, but the encounter is ended suddenly and comically. 

Language

Cursing is infrequent ("s--t," "a--hole," "hell") but sexual language is common: "balls" (meaning "courage" and the body parts), "d--k" (a jerk), Sam refers to a "lousy lay." Potentially homophobic words are used affectionately: "homo," "queer." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer and cocktails at gatherings and parties. At one party, a main character says he's "kind of wasted" and seems sloppy and out of it. Scenes take place at bars, gay and otherwise, with partygoers drinking and dancing. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Thing About Harry is a TV movie about two young men who fall in love despite romantic obstacles. The leads are charming and accept themselves and are supported by their loved ones; at the start of the movie, both men are comfortably out of the closet. Sexual content is strong for network television: Two men have sex in a gauzy montage (no private parts are seen, mostly what we see is kissing and bodies shifting next to each other); the next day, we see them in bed waking up. There are references to casual sex, passionate same- and opposite-sex kissing, and a man sinking to his knees in front of another man, presumably to perform oral sex. Jokes about sex and body parts are also common. Messages of communication and integrity are clear from storylines about living an authentic life, accepting others and oneself, and making amends for mistakes, but there are some negative messages too, like when some characters are mocked for being unattractive while others are rapturously praised for their looks. A man who has had many partners is called a "slut" and a "man-whore." Cursing is infrequent -- expect "s--t," "a--hole," and "hell" -- but there are vulgar terms for body parts ("balls," "d--k") and language that could be homophobic used playfully ("homo," "queer"). Characters drink at parties, gatherings, and clubs, and at one point a main character says he's "kind of wasted." Mainstream romcoms with LGBTQ characters are rare, certainly on network TV, so The Thing About Harry stands out for that. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byEzFe August 11, 2020

Positive Message

I think that it is on par with rom-coms in which the protagonists are heterosexual. For pre-teens and teens who are questioning it has a fun and positive messa...
Teen, 17 years old Written bySunshine . May 27, 2020

It was a awesome movie, definitely ok for tween/teens.

The movie was awesome! It was a coming of age I think we all need to see. I would be very ok watching this movie with a 12 year old. It was fun to watch and I’m... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Sam (Jake Borelli) is recruited to give his high school bully Harry (Niko Terho) a ride to their hometown for a party, he soon discovers THE THING ABOUT HARRY is that he's no longer a closeted jerk. In the years since high school, in fact, Harry has come out as pansexual, and though Sam's attracted to Harry (and vice versa), a series of misadventures keeps them apart ... but for how long? 

Is it any good?

All the romcom clichés are on full display (romantic misunderstandings, love triangles, a big fancy wedding), but what's remarkable about this TV movie is that the romance is between two men. It's not the first LGBTQ romcom, but it may well be the first on network TV, accessible to more viewers than indie movies or streaming fare. Even better, there's no tiptoeing around sexuality. Sam's been out and proud since high school, and though Harry took longer to embrace his pansexuality, he announces his orientation without a particle of shame, and is generally relaxed about having both boyfriends and girlfriends. So without the usual source of tension in mainstream LGBTQ-themed fare (which often focuses on coming out or hiding, all the better to snare gay audiences without turning off uptight ones who presumably don't want to watch a gay couple kissing), The Thing About Harry is free to focus on the kind of plot devices found in hetero romcoms. 

It's pretty silly, of course -- most romcoms are -- but it also goes down sweetly, thanks to the chemistry between Sam and Harry, and the hijinks that keep them apart for the duration of a two-hours-plus-commercials movie, including the intercession of manic pixie dream girl Stasia and Harry and Sam stubbornly pretending not to be into each other. Some of the roadblocks are pretty unlikely, but romcoms aren't about logic, they're about romance, and the slowly building one between Sam and Harry is easy to root for. Let's hope that this cheesy, predictable, lovable movie won't be remarkable just for existing in the future, and that romcoms about all kinds of couples are on their way. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the kinds of characters romcoms are usually built around. Describe them. How are the characters in The Thing About Harry different from or like these typical characters? Other than the fact that the main couple is same-sex, how is this movie different from other romcoms? 

  • Are the things that happen in this movie realistic? Does that detract from your enjoyment, or not? There's a movie critics' cliché that says "Every movie gets one miracle," meaning the viewer can ignore one silly or unrealistic plot point, but not more. What's The Thing About Harry's miracle? Is there more than one? 

  • How do the characters in The Thing About Harry demonstrate communication and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love LGBTQ characters

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate