The suicide rate for gay teenagers is very high. According to a recent news story reported by WBOC, this rate increases if the teen has a disapproving family. This is the story of one such suicide.
So far, many critics have praised the performance of this TV movie's star, Sigourney Weaver (Alien and Ghostbusters). The Oscar-nominated actress plays Mary Griffith, a real-life Christian woman whose religious beliefs and conservative values are challenged when she learns her teenage son, Bobby, is homosexual.
Weaver is good. That's no question. She hits all the required emotions and has some very powerful scenes. She starts in denial. Then she's angry. Then she's guilty. Then she's remorseful. All of it eventually goes back to her being proud and at peace, and it's all very believable. The question becomes, "Is it enough?" The whole thing doesn't push the boundaries and becomes too predictable to me.
It's predictable probably because I've seen several films, mostly documentaries, deal with this subject more poignantly. Better films that deal with teen suicide among gay youth include Doing Time on Maple Drive, For the Bible Tells Me So, Save Me, and Equality U.
In this film, as in those, the chief antagonists to the gay youth are those with hardcore religious beliefs. People who have the most objections, the most problems with accepting it, are people who are strict interpreters of the Bible. In the movie, Griffith meets a pastor, played by Dan Butler (Frasier and Roseanne), who explains the flaws and contradictions with strict interpretation.
Griffith asks all the questions that one would expect. She engenders the conversation that many families have had. The TV moviemakers handle the material here in a very touching way and do much to build and advance acceptance of gay teens for who they are.
The real hope is for suicide rate among gay teens to drop. As the film opens, Bobby is made to feel like something's wrong with him. Bobby is told that he's sick and that he needs mental help. His mother comes to be embarrassed and thinks he should be embarrassed as well.
Yet, the ultimate message of the movie is being gay is not wrong. It's not a sickness. It's not something of which to be embarrassed. It's not really about undermining anyone's beliefs or faiths. It's merely saying remember love and remember these are our children, and, in the end, the prayers aren't for Bobby. They're for his mother.
Four Stars out of Five
Running Time: 2 hrs.
Available on Demand
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