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iApprove: Prayers for Bobby.

February 20, 2009

When I first heard of “Prayers for Bobby”, I was skeptical.  Not only because it was a movie dealing with Christian-Homosexual relations (with huge emphasis on Christians attempting to deal with homosexuality), but because the site from where I first heard about it described it as yet another piece of conservative propoganda.

All I can say is: WHUT?

This movie is incredible on many levels.  Almost from the beginning, running all the way to the second half, I find myself relating to Bobby on a deep personal level.  Though I am not homosexual, I did go through an extremely troubling time (spiritually) at about the same age and received about the same reaction from my parents when they learned what had happened.  I remember with some bitterness the tears, the anger, the guilt-trips, the threats.  The feeling that the entire world and beyond has turned against you.  One line resonates particularly well with the way I felt: “I just want to hide under a rock and sleep forever.”

But the similarities didn’t end with Bobby.  In his mother I saw much of my mother – loving and truly dedicated to saving her child from eternal Hellfire, but so blinded by her determination and religious upbringing that she could not even touch my side of the story.  In his brother I saw a person I once was – agreeing not to share my sister’s darkest secrets, only to turn around and tell everything to my mother, convinced that I was doing the right thing.  In Bobby’s dreams – I had all but forgotten those particular dreams, leaping into flight only to find the air full of power lines… but oh, I do remember them.

And that’s just the first half.

The movie doesn’t even kick off in earnest until Bobby kills himself.  Then the focus changes to his mother.  Suddenly, she realizes that although she condemned the homosexual to hellfire, she cannot do the same to the boy she knew.  Seeking justification for his death and redemption for his soul, she embarks on a huge personal journey, uncovers some of the Bible’s greatest inconsistencies, and ends up a spokeswoman for the very thing she condemned.

(I cried almost nonstop throughout the second half.)

The acting was incredible.  As I said, I had no difficulty identifying with the characters and what they were going through.  Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley were impeccable actors, bringing the characters of Mary and Bobby to life through love, bitter arguments, and tears – plenty of tears.  On a funny note, Scott Bailey, though a minor player in the story, had me thoroughly convinced that he was actually homosexual (no offense to Mr. Bailey).  But in all seriousness, the performances were incredible.

All-in-all, this was an excellent piece of work, and it does a beautiful job of showcasing the pain that results when a parent is so blinded by the fires of Hell that they can’t see the face of the person they love.

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