Seeing Both Sides Uninflected Just Makes You More Furious
Yet another terribly upsetting chronicle of Christianity's war on homosexuality, this subtle, micro-budget documentary gives an interlocking picture of three families where gay relatives are rejected, or made to feel that "reparative therapy" is the one way their families will acknowledge them again. Though we are always entirely conscious of his presence behind the camera, gay documentarian Arthur Dong, who apparently suffered a gay bashing years before making this film, shoots both planes of the issue with soft charity and sensitivity.
Somehow, what Dong does is very clever, because seeing both sides unprovoked by biased filmmakers gives an even plainer, noninflected view of them, and it is so much more maddening. The professed Christian parents are all so fanatical and narcissistic that they are weak to any hint of change in their minds, fearing change to the degree that they would rather sever their connections with their children, who need them to love them more than they need anyone else to love them, than honestly probe their beliefs and interpretations of anything. That we see their gay children, who are so clearly happier and wiser, talk to them by any means demonstrates a degree of patience and tolerance utterly unearned by their parents, who, much to the irony of being such devout Christians, could not begin to understand that kind of patience or tolerance. One wonders how these people came to learn such strength and character, for it certainly was not from their parents.
That the men and women victimized and wounded by these self-unaware dinosaurs of archaic convention have nurtured themselves to live constructive lives and to find some amount of individual happiness at all despite such tyranny, cruelty and unadulterated bigotry divulges a tome in itself. This is the heartfelt importance of Dong's stomach-turningly sad piece. At the end of the day, one would think the true form of God as He is commonly interpreted would consider that young and vulnerable outsiders not be obliged to endure such torment and suffering.
This movie does not outright defy anyone to amend their viewpoint, but it does deeply urge everyone to appreciate one another more, and to doubt and to love, all in an hour and fifteen minutes.
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