Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


PRAYERS FOR BOBBY (2009 telefilm/Lifetime). Director: Russell Mulcahy. Based on a true story. Teleplay by Katie Ford from a book by Leroy Aarons.

Bobby Griffith (Ryan Kelley) comes out to his family in 1979 California, and they all seem to take it well except for his overly religious mother, whose well-meaning but homophobic attitude only adds to his sense of isolation when he sees his boyfriend with another man -- leading to his suicide at 20. Mary Griffith (Sigourney Weaver) makes it her business to learn why not all churches and religionists believe that homosexuality is a sin, and discovers that what she was taught was based on bigotry and distortion. This is a "safe" gay film that, while admirable and well-intentioned, is also a bit patronizing -- and like something made thirty years ago. In one scene at a meeting of PFLAG --Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- the parents all talk of how they knew their children were "different." Not only does this help foster stereotypes about the very diverse gay community, but isn't the whole point that gay people aren't different? Although Weaver of the Aliens series is a little self-conscious at first, she eventually manages to give a first-rate performance -- probably the best of her career. Kelley and the rest of the cast are all on target.

Verdict: Gay Lite, perhaps, but not without value. ***.

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