Michael Showalter [Wet Hot American Summer (2001), The Baxter (2005)] directed Spoiler Alert, and David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage wrote the screenplay. The story follows two lovers as they grow together in their 13 years of relationship and how things suddenly change their lives when one of them gets diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The film is based on an actual book named Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. The movie adaptation is highly heartwarming and funny at the same time. The 112-minute film stars Jim Parsons famous for playing the socially awkward scientist from the hit sitcom The Big Band Theory. Ben Aldridge plays Parson’s partner in the film and has gained critical recognition with his role as Thomas Wayne in the sensational show Pennyworth. He recently also played Andrew in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin.
Spoiler Alert works primarily because of the book chapter style format and heartfelt performances by the leads. The film’s tone is humorous and cute but has an uneven structure that bothers the viewer sometimes. It is a sad story, and those who like their films to move them would definitely shed a tear or two by the end of the film.
Nonetheless, the film aims to tell you that life still goes on after it messes with you. It is just upon you to brave it and chin it up with a smile to start fresh.
In the following article, I have detailed everything significant that happens in the film with an added dive into the explanation of how it ends. And while there’s a big warning in the title itself, Spoiler Alert, kindly read at your discretion.
Spoiler Alert (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The film begins with two protagonists lying in a hospital bed next to each other. Michael narrates the story of his beautiful life with Kit, which he shared with him for 13 long years. It was the year 2001 when Michael was working as a writer at a TV prime show, TV guide.
He always imagined himself working there, and since he loved his work so much, he often stayed late in the office, working on his deadlines. One night, one of his friends from the office drags him to a gay nightclub in Manhattan.
It is when he sees Kit for the first time – a handsome young man dancing and waving at him. Michael is shy and has an uptight personality, but Kit is very social, and their opposite personalities help them click. After meeting for their first dinner together, we get to know that Michael was quite attached to his mother before she died of cancer. On the other hand, Kit is an only child and a photographer with an excellent eye for capturing beautiful moments with his camera.
The two soon start dating, and we learn that Michael has always been a fat kid and dealt with many body issues because of that. Kit makes him comfortable and shares his deepest secrets to make this conversation feel natural with him. They are both afraid of getting their heart broken and of getting into a long-term relationship since neither of them has ever been in one. Gradually, we see them living together and celebrating Christmas, which is Michael’s favorite time of the year.
The following year, Kit gets operated on for appendectomy, and his parents, Bob and Marilyn, drive from Manhattan to meet their only son. However, Kit is afraid that his parents will not be able to digest the fact that he is gay, so he requests Michael to go up to his apartment and clean everything leaving no evidence of the mere fact.
When Marilyn notices that Michael knows his way around Kit’s apartment, she gets confused and demands an explanation. It is when Kit finally comes out to his parents, fearing the worst reaction he would get from them. However, to everyone’s surprise, Bob and Marilyn are supportive and call themselves the cool parents who are okay with their son coming out to them.
Michael and Kit continue their relationship, and as any happy couple, they do everything together – including moving to an apartment. During their second Christmas evening, Michael invites Kit to lie down under the giant Christmas tree they decorated together and shares that since he was a kid, he has been doing this with his partner every Christmas.
In 2013, Michael and Kit invite their friends for a Christmas party, and that is when we know their paradise has finally hit rock bottom. There are complications in their relationships, and their sex life has become nonexistent. Michael spends too much time working on his company – TVLine, and drinking wine.
On the other hand, Kit struggles with his pot addiction and infidelity. Michael understands that Kit is handsome and it is not difficult for him to find someone better than him, so he always suspects that kit is having an affair with a particularly attractive guy – Sebastian.
The couple, after much consideration, decided to do couple therapy, where their therapist, after listening to their problems – tells them that Kit and Michael have started to resent one another. However, they love each other so much they can’t live apart. It is for their best, and they try living separately if they wish to work on their relationship.
The following year, on another Christmas Eve, Kit shows signs of health issues that worry Michael. They both visit different oncologists who suggest that kit has a growing tumor in his rectum. Michael, who has gone through a history of cancer in his life – the death of his mother due to cancer, asks Kit to move back in with him.
It is 2014, and we learn that Kit has a rare type of Stage 4 Neuroendocrine Cancer and must begin his chemotherapy to buy some more time. Over the next 11 months, Michael helps Kit battle the life-threatening disease with dignity. However, when they think everything is going right, the chemotherapy stops working on Kit, and now he has to go through radiation therapy, hoping it will work.
To Kit’s luck, it does help him somehow, and he decides to go on a vacation with Michael and his parents. Kit reconciles with Michael, and the two share an intimate moment that makes the scene extremely powerful and moving. However, good things last only for a while, and Kit’s health worsens. The oncologist informs both of them that the radiation therapy has stopped working as the tumor has grown more than expected. With that, we also know that Kit has only six weeks left with him.
Spoiler Alert (2023) Ending, Explained:
Does Kit really die in the end?
The night Kit learns he has only a few weeks to live, he and Michael spend the evening together. Michael apologizes to Kit for never appreciating how beautiful he is in fear that he would leave for a better-looking man. Kit also apologizes to Michael for cheating on him with Sebastian.
Michael decides to smoke weed with Kit for the first time in their 13 years of relationship. The next thing we know that Kit proposes to Michael, and the two decide to get married in court the next day in the presence of their best friends. Michael and Kit spend another Christmas with their parents and watch Rapual’s drag show as they did every XMas eve.
It is the present time – 2015- and Kit is rushed to the hospital. Kit’s friends come over to meet him, and so does Sebastian. Michael allows him to meet him for the last time. Soon the nurse comes in, checks his vitals, and informs the family that Kit has only an hour or two, so it would be best to say their goodbyes and tell him everything will be alright. After Kit’s parents bid farewell to their doting son, Michael lies down next to him and pretends that it is a scene from the television show he has always imagined himself in since he was a kid.
The director shouts cut, and Kit wakes up and goes out. Michael follows him like a tv reporter hoping to get answers to his question. He asks Kit how it feels to him that his character is killed off in the show. Kit shares that he is grateful for his time in the show and looks forward to the future. Michael then asks him what he should do when he is not here, and Kit tells him that he will figure it out himself.
It seems that Michael always puts himself in a spot of a TV show because that has been his passion and has always helped him get over challenging times in his life. Imagining himself again in such a scene helped him process his grief and let go of the love of his life.
Michael returns to reality, where he thanks Kit for giving him a family that loves him like their own and asks him to let go. Kit dies with Michael by his side. Michael continues to meet Bob and Marilyn after his husband’s death. Once back in New York, Michael says goodbye to things that made him remember his life with Kit. As he prepares to leave for Los Angeles, even though he is nervous to start afresh, he remembers being brave, just like he was when he began his story with Kit. The film ends on that note.
Is Spoiler Alert Based on a True Story?
As mentioned above, Spoiler Alert, which is based on Michael Ausiello’s 2017 memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, is, in fact, based on a true story.
Talking about the similarities between the movie and his real life, Ausiello said, “The movie is a version of my life story. It isn’t my life. So that also makes it easier when I was on set every day. I was always aware that we were making a movie. I never felt like I was watching my life unfold again before my eyes,” he also added, “Even though, yes, I knew we were making a movie, there absolutely were times where it took my breath away [with] how similar it felt the actual experience.”