In a word: Heartbreaking
Movie goers who have negative personal history with persons who are gay, or have witnessed suffering by those who have been constantly bullied in the
school arena, should bring an extra hankie to this picture.
The main character, JOE BELL, played by journeyman actor, Mark Wahlberg, tells the intimate and emotional true story of an Oregonian father (and mother)
who struggle with acceptance that their 15 year old son, Jadin, is homosexual. Initially non-accepting, the dad eventually turns his feelings around and pays
tribute to his teenage son by embarking on a self-reflective walk across America, from Oregon to New York, speaking passionately to a myriad of heartland citizens about the terrifying costs of bullying which receives so little attention in
The real Joe Bell received a flood of national attention in 2013 for his plight, pleading with average people to gain awareness about the impact of bullying,
and the sensitivity it deserves.
In real life, actor Reid Miller, now 20, has seen his acting career soar to new heights, with many opportunities in the film and TV marketplace.
My criticisms of this movie are few. I think the director could have installed more clarity to time/place scenes which leaves audience members trying to discern what, when, where and how. (Where’s that remote when you need it?) Reid Miller is a good actor, though his diminutive stature and exotically blonde features bear
zero resemblance to either of the boy’s on-screen parents.
There’s far more power in the story which is omitted here, so the reader will not know all the important facts ahead of time. For sure, regardless of one’s orientation, the story is quite emotional, likely to hit hard to anyone who has endured similar issues among loved ones.
I doubt this movie will receive any Oscars, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile story which is well delivered by all the on and off screen persons.
I give this movie a 7.5 out of 10.