10 August 2009

Prayers for Bobby Recommendation

I hadn't watched this movie; figured it was likely mostly "subversive gay agenda" w/warm fuzzies thrown in to win people over to a political cause. I watched it for the first time this morning, and though the director admits to hoping it will sway votes on things like gay marriage legislation, and it's no Oscar material, it hit home for me in some significant ways. I appreciated that though it portrays the path of someone who became an activist, I think it's less about pushing an agenda and more about a deeper invitation: to try to understand, to love, to listen, to be mindful of subtle messages we send to those who are in pain or in need. I don't think you have to choose her path or compromise your faith or principles to achieve that.

I think that message is encapsulated in the final scene--the hug (try to overlook what you may not like about the parade, as I had to)--which struck a deep chord with me, since I experienced such an openly loving embrace a few years ago now from some LDS parents whose son had committed suicide, and I'd forgotten how much that moment meant to me at the time. This was before I'd told my family and friends about myself, so that kind of acceptance, not of all decisions I might make but of me, homosexuality and all, was something I’d not allowed myself to experience yet. It meant a lot to be unflinchingly embraced by faithful LDS parents who weren't phased by the knowledge that I was attracted to members of the same sex and who had welcomed me to their home one night when I was visiting friends in Utah. Fred and Marilyn, your expressions and outreach of love make a real difference, and I appreciate it so much.

So a bit late, I'm going to join the chorus of voices recommending Prayers for Bobby. I embedded the first of 9 parts from YouTube. I don't think you have to agree with everything that's said in the movie or buy into its emotional appeals at the occasional expense of reason to appreciate the underlying message of understanding and love. And it makes me realize how good I've had it with my own family and friends who have been so patient and supportive even when they haven't understood everything (as I haven't), for which I also am so grateful.

P.S.--yes, I think the guy who plays Bobby (Ryan Kelley) is seriously cute in this movie. ...hey, it's gotta be said. *wink*


blj1224 said...

I started watching it, but after the grandmother's comment and at the point he broke up with his girlfriend I had to quit. I honestly couldn't stand to see him suffer, even though it's just a movie. It's also real life. I don't understand people who can't accept and love good people regardless of their differences. I'm sorry; I just couldn't watch.

Alan said...

This movie was literally a life-changing experience for me. I watched it with my two kids the night it was first broadcast. During that final scene of the embrace along the parade route, as I was crying my eyes out, my kids swarmed over me with love and hugs and kisses and said if I wanted to find someone new and make a happy life with that someone, it would be fine with them.

How lucky am I to have such kids.

Original Mohomie said...

Alan, I don't know why, but after making it through the whole movie only using up two tissues, I fell apart at the hug. I knew it was corny, but it was real to me, and I bawled. I was all snotty and everything. It was a pretty bad sight. :-)

Abelard Enigma said...

In an interview Mary Griffith, speaking of that hug, said "That actually did happen. There was a boy in the crowd who smiled at me, and I went up and hugged him during that first parade."

CJ said...

I loved it mohomie. I've seen it twice. The first time there was the expected amount of tears with the hug. The second time around I focused more on other things. It's hard to see how they would criticize little things like his clothes and mannerisms. I can definitely relate to his feelings of inadequacy. His first love left him behind, and I understand how devastated he felt afterwards. This sounds pretty cheesy, but I wish I could give Bobby a huge hug. I approve of Prayers for Bobby and hope others can enjoy it as well.

blj1224 said...

I watched part 9. I thank God I have my son. I pray that I will always have him. I love him with all my heart, and I need him in my life. I know God loves him.

hiddeninthelight said...

I loved the movie too. I was afraid it would have more of a gay agenda than it did and that kept me from watching it for a while. I really cried a lot during the hugging scene too. So touching. I also remember feeling that way when Marilyn hugged me. I loved it!

Max Power said...

D is out of town and I had nothing much to do tonight, so I watched it while I pedaled my stationary bike. I cried almost as much as I sweated - and I sweat a lot.

Ewww. Maybe TMI there...

Danish Boy said...

Thanks for sharing. I dont know that I would have watched it if you hadnt put that link up. I cried a lot. I love the message you pointed out. I didnt compromise my beliefs like i thought. You know, I really liked how she said that her son was not broken. There was nothing to fix in terms of his differences. He was beautiful the way he was. We are too! Thankyou. =o)

Danish Boy said...

BLJ1224: Thank you so much for what you just said. Its pretty amazing what the love of a parent can do. I feel it from my mom and dad. Makes a huge difference and makes me cry for those who dont have parents willing to come around to the idea that their child is still the same person worthy of love and acceptance just like everyone else. Thank you. =o)

Original Mohomie said...

Ha ha, we're such a bunch of homos (and mothers), all crying and crap. ;-)

I'm glad to hear it has touched so many.

Danish Boy, you talk about not being "broken", and I accepted long ago that there's a possibility that this is not an ideal or "perfect" condition, that it's an anomaly of nature or psychological development. And that even IF I am not perfect in that sense, nobody is, and we're all, every last one of us, "broken" or "tweaked" or "different" in varying ways, and it's what we do with it that matters most. In that light, does even an imperfection make me less of a person than anyone else or less deserving of love and respect and kindness? Pish tosh.

If you want what does make me less deserving, just ask some of my close friends and family, and they'll surely be able to name some behaviors and attitudes, but it's not the fact that I am for some reason inclined to the menfolk. ;-)

Bravone said...

My wife and I watched the movie and both got emotional. It was particularly meaningful for me because I am a parent, a gay man and have a gay brother. Thanks for the clips.

blj1224 said...

Moho, we all have personality quirks, and unconditional love is what we all need. Look at your close friends and family. Are any of them any more perfect than you? Are they any more deserving of love and respect and kindness? In your words, pish tosh.

Danish Boy, your parents are blessed to have you as a son.

A.J. said...

oh my the hug at the end always leaves me in tears. very beautiful.

jimf said...

> [A]fter making it through the whole movie only
> using up two tissues, I fell apart at the hug. . .
> I bawled. . .

_Prayers_ left me cold, for some reason.

I never cry at movies. I can think of only two exceptions.

In 2001, the Spielberg/Kubrick _A. I. Artificial Intelligence_
was an exception. When David and Teddy are in the amphibicopter
in the sunken Coney Island amusement park, my throat ached,
and I had to bite my knuckle.

David: Blue Fairy? Please. . . please, please make me into a real
live boy. Please. . . Blue Fairy? Please...please..make me real.
Blue Fairy? Please, please make me real. Please make me a
real boy. Please, Blue Fairy, make me into a real boy. Please. . .

Narrator: And David continued to pray to the Blue Fairy there
before him, she who smiled softly, forever. . . she who welcomed
forever. Eventually the floodlights dimmed and died, but David
could still see her palely by day, and he still addressed her,
in hope. He prayed until the sea anemones had shriveled and
died, he prayed as the ocean froze, and the ice encased the
caged amphibicopter, and the Blue Fairy too, locking them together
where he could still make her out -- a blue ghost in ice --
always there, always smiling, always awaiting him. Eventually
he never moved at all, but his eyes always stayed open,
staring ahead forever all through the darkness of each night,
and the next day. . . and the next day. . .

Thus, 2000 years passed by.

(I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to explain why
that scene might have some emotional resonance for a
gay man.)

The other exception is the end of _Sophie's Choice_, when
Stingo is ushered into the bedroom where Nathan and Sophie
have joined each other in death, and reads from Emily

Stingo: "Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe.
In it wait till judgment break,
excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight.
Be its pillow round.
Let no sunrise' yellow noise
interrupt this ground".

Narrator: And so ended my
voyage of discovery...
in a place as strange as Brooklyn.

I let go the rage and sorrow
for Sophie and Nathan, and for the many others
who were but a few of the butchered and betrayed
and martyred children of the Earth.

When I could finally see again...
I saw the first rays of daylight
reflected in the murky river.

This was not judgment day.

Only morning.

Morning: excellent and fair.