Warning: Contains spoilers for Bros!
It may be the story of Bobby and Aaron falling in love, but there’s a surprising amount going on in it brothers that may make the ending unclear to some. With the brothers movie, Universal Studios makes history as the first LGBTQ+ romantic comedy from a major studio. It follows in the footsteps of earlier queer romcoms like Hulu’s Happiest Seasonbut it also certainly takes the next step.
Bobby (Billy Eichner) and Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) are both sure they don’t want a relationship. Bobby is sure that his single life and random hookups are enough for him, and Aaron is eager to let go of everything. However, in true romantic comedy style, the two fall for each other and by the end of brothers they agree to try to make a relationship work.
While Bobby and Aaron’s relationship and struggles take center stage in brothers, their story is set in an equally important background. Throughout the film are references not only to the life and experiences of queer, but also to the importance of LGBTQ+ history and a focus on how that history has been obliterated for so long. It all leads to a nuanced rom-com finale, and LGBTQ+ history and experiences are key to understanding brothers‘ ends.
What does a 4 on the Kinsey scale mean?
In the brothers end scenes, Aaron’s mom (Amanda Bearse), is seen touring the LGBTQ+ History Museum that Bobby has been working on throughout the film. One of the holographic characters, Ben Stiller came as his Night at the museum character, Larry Daley, tells her she is a 4 on the Kinsey scale. Aaron’s mother seems surprised by this, but does not dispute the case.
The Kinsey scale was developed by Alfred Kinsey and he first published on the concept in 1948. The scale runs from 0 meaning “Exclusively heterosexual” to 6, indicating “Exclusively gay” while also X for “No social-sexual contacts or reactions.” While 3 is the immediate center, a 4 on the Kinsey scale is relatively middle of the road, marked as “Predominantly homosexual, but more than occasionally heterosexual.” This suggests that in brothers Aaron’s mother is bi/pan+. The Kinsey scale has fallen out of favor in more recent history because it focuses on binary terminology and does not serve as a good representation for trans or non-binary people when measuring their sexuality or the attraction of others to them. This is a nice nod to the fact that, like almost all cast and crew for brothers, Amanda Bearse is LGBTQ+, specifically lesbian. More importantly, though, it highlights the structures society is adopting that have led Aaron’s mother into a traditional marriage without her having previously questioned her own identity.
The latest exhibition of the LGBTQ+ Museum explained
The last exhibition for the LGBTQ+ museum in brothers is a subject of much discussion throughout the film, with the board repeatedly arguing about it. While the final version of the exhibition as a whole contains a wealth of lesser-known LGBTQ+ history, it also contains deliberate cultural incentives. In response to Aaron’s comments, they’ve shot a series of holograms of straight actors playing the roles of iconic historical LGBTQ+ figures, poking fun at the long-standing issue of LGBTQ+ roles going to non-queer actors.
The latter exhibit itself is ultimately not about Abraham Lincoln’s sexuality, but instead seems to be somewhat absent. In a way, Bobby and Aaron become the last exhibit, as they show their affection for everyone. But more importantly, they show their love in their own way and the fact that the community is not a monolith is the capstone of the museum in brothers.
Why do Bobby and Aaron agree to date for 3 months?
In the brothers At the end, it appears to the audience, Aaron, and the crowd of onlookers that Bobby is planning to propose to Aaron with the large ring he borrows from Tamara (Eve Lindley). Instead, however, he asks Aaron to date for three months and then “re-evaluate.” This may seem strange, but it’s the perfect ending to a story about how gay relationships are their own. While Bobby could have imagined in a classic rom-com style, it would fit in the form of “Hallheart” movies with their happy LGBTQ+ endings. A shorter commitment and then a careful re-evaluation suits both better brothers characters and is more representative of the variety of experiences in the LGBTQ+ community.
What does Bobby’s song ‘Love Is Not Love’ mean?
written for brothers by Billy Eichner & Marc Shaiman, Bobby performs the song “Love Is Not Love” for Aaron in front of the museum. The song, performed in the style of Garth Brooks, may seem odd for a rom-com with the chorus that “Love Is Not Love” and references to many things the couple went through that aren’t part of the traditional romantic comedy story. That’s kind of the whole point of the song though.
brothers “Love Is Not Love” riffs on other comments from Bobby throughout the movie about how the idea that LGBTQ+ romance is exactly the same as cishet relationships isn’t true. Instead, he explains that it was basically a marketing plot by the queer community to convince society to accept them, with the tagline “Love Is Love” being a key marker for that. “Love Is Not Love” as a repetitive comment highlights the fact that LGBTQ+ love is different from “traditional“seen romances in rom-coms, but that’s who they are and that’s okay too.
The real meaning of the end of Bros
Much of the meaning of the brothers ending is encapsulated in the song “Love Is Not Love” and the build-up that Bobby gives to that moment throughout the movie. However, it also goes beyond that. When it comes to romance, the LGBTQ+ experience is different from other relationships because the whole community and culture is different. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accepted and that’s exactly why society needs movies like brothers to shed light on an unrefined exploration of queer love and relationships.
But the movie goes beyond that as indicated in the brothers ending with the school trip Aaron’s mom takes to the LGBTQ+ museum, realizing that Bobby was right that they weren’t too young. So much of queer history has been lost, forgotten, or intentionally erased, and brothers repeatedly nods to the fact that so much of the community and oral history has been lost to the AIDS crisis. brothers not only explains some of that history, but also encourages people to explore it and highlights how much better it can be for people (including children) to understand who they are and not have to go through the struggles of self-examination alone. While it may seem like a fun queer rom-com at times, brothers‘ ending leaves viewers with strong messages about the importance of acceptance and a better understanding of LGBTQ+ history.
Next: Everything we know about Bros 2