Existing as an organic blend of documentary and narrative film elements, Thick Relations is a snapshot of an urban, queer community. Featuring a motley crew of compelling queer anti-heroes, this film constructs and calls forth queer accounts of time, space, and relationality which are unscripted by conventional or institutional forms of social belonging. Thick Relations is a Chosen Family affair. Director, Jules Rosskam uses recurring water images as a metaphor for the fluid promises and potentialities of queer desires and kinships, making his film a celebration of the intimacies that exist outside the normative trappings of “proper” or “mature” romances. In this way, Thick Relations exists as a kind of Anti-RomCom; it defies narrative resolution and allows for relational ambiguity. Thick Relations subverts romantic tropes and opts to trace the ways that chosen family arrangements embrace a different logic of love, alliance, and identification.
Rosskam’s film is not a place to define things, to define people, or relationships. It is an ambiguous cinematic space where every day tasks, dinner conversations, and sexual themes all run parallel in an open and unresolved fashion. Inside of this current, the film’s central characters are permitted to express love in incalculable ways. Thick Relations is a celebration of a queer counterpublic that embraces desire/pleasure as its primary, orienting ethos. In one scene, someone casually remarks, “Once I date someone, they become family.” This is the principle tenet that underscores each character’s respective journey through the film. How is chosen family built, maintained, and mourned?