Monday, July 14, 2014

Movie Review: Prayers for Bobby

Today I'm doing a movie review. I first saw the book at a local Barnes and Noble, then saw the movie on Netflix. I have yet to read the book, but after seeing the movie, I definitely want to.

Prayers for Bobby is about a young man, Bobby, who lives in a fundamentalist Christian family and is struggling with his sexuality. Once his family finds out that he is gay, his mother tries incessantly to change him through making him spend more time with his father, therapy, Bible verses, etc. Eventually it drives him away, and he commits suicide by jumping off of a bridge in front of an 18-wheeler.

After his death, his mother goes through a great deal of soul-searching. She reads up on homosexuality, seeks counsel with the minister of her local Metropolitan Community Church , and visits her local PFLAG (Parents, Familes, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter. After coming to terms with her guilt, she becomes a very outspoken member of PFLAG.

This movie resonated with me on many levels. Although my questioning my sexuality over the years wasn't a directly contributing factor to my own temptations for suicide, I definitely relate to the feeling that you don't belong, feeling that people wouldn't accept you if they knew the "real" you, and yes, there were times I even had an idea of how I would kill myself. If I'm truly honest with myself, one of the primary factors in not attempting it wasn't some noble idea of knowing things would get better or not wanting to take the easy way out. It was the fear that I was such a major failure in life, I wouldn't even be able to properly off myself, and thus have to deal with the questions, the accusations, the guilt, that is directed towards people who struggle with suicide, by people who are well-meaning but don't understand.

Growing up in an extremely religious family, and being someone who is still in the closet to that family, I can't help but compare the mother in the movie with what I imagine my own experience would have been if I had explored and chosen to accept my sexuality sooner, while I was still living with my family. My mom made casual comments over the years about sending us to therapy if either one of us ever said we were gay. She only thinly veiled the disgust and disapproval in her voice when she told me my stepcousin is a lesbian. While I know that I will come out to her - especially now that I'm in a wonderful relationship with a great guy - it's still something that makes me sad to have to prepare for the worst for. Family is family, and it seems you're stuck with your family because of it. Can't help where you're born. I guess there's still that part of me who struggles for the never-available, complete acceptance of my family that I never really felt I had for one reason or another.

But anyways, this movie definitely is worth a watch.

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