Several films have dealt with the idea that homosexuality is something of which one can be cured, a behavior or choice one can change, or, a disorder or an addiction from which one can be saved.
But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) was more comedic and satirical. Fixing Frank (2002) was more analytical and intelligent. This film, however, is more gut-wrenching and emotional. While the other films involved processes that are cold, clinical or harsh, the one depicted may be the most effective or the most evil, as the homosexual reform comes not from a stern or austere hand but a warm, loving embrace.
Chad Allen (from TV's Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) stars as Mark, a gay drug whose brother sends him to the Genesis House to help kick his drug habit as well as homosexual habits. Mark is at first resistant. He's at first doubtful and cynical to it all.
It's interesting because the circumstances of this film is very similar to another that openly gay actor Chad Allen has done before. Shock to the System (2006) had Allen playing fictional gumshoe, Donald Strachey, who goes undercover as a gay man wanting to be turned into a heterosexual one. Yet, with this newer film, it's not as campy or ridiculous.
Judith Light (from TV's Who's the Boss) co-stars as Gayle, the woman who runs the Genesis House. What started out as an outreach program of a local church has grown into a deep-seated passion for her that stems from events in her own life. Her words are gentle and reasonable, but her overprotective mother-instincts may be doing more harm than help.
Robert Gant (from TV's Queer As Folk) plays Scott, a man who's been in the Genesis House for several months. He sincerely wants to change but his reasons may only be superficial. His may only be a mask to some dormant issues, which come to a head with Gayle's. Gayle, in fact, calls him a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Director Robert Cary (Ira and Abby and Standard Time), clearly shooting on digital video, opens with a shocking contrast of two images, one of sinners and saints. He cuts back and forth between moments of church choir singing and moments of intense gay sex and drug use. Cary then restrains from any more sensationalism until the end.
The rest of the film is a straightforward, pun-intended, story of people trying to find some understanding and some connection to the world. What's most brilliant is the way the script in conjunction with the director reveals the inner thoughts of several characters.
At several points, selected characters are given monologues, which never feel like such. They feel like touching half-conversations that open up the mind and heart of whoever's speaking it. From the way, Cary frames these characters to the words provided by screenwriter Robert Desiderio, working from an idea from Craig Chester and Alan Hines, they become perfect glimpses into these people's souls.
Judith Light delivers the final of such monologues. Hers is almost a confession of not only her own but what she perceives as brokenness. She may seemingly be the antagonist, but her role is probably the most heart breaking of them all.
Five Stars out of Five
Unrated but only for mature audiences
Running Time: 1 hr. and 36 mins.