Prayers For Bobby (2009)

DVD Cover (A&E Home Video)
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Overall Rating 81%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,330
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In "Prayers for Bobby," Mary Griffith is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby confides to his older brother he may be gay, life changes for the entire family after Mary learns about his secret. While Bobby's father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, Mary believes God can cure him of what she considers his 'sin' and persuades Bobby to pray harder and seek solace in church activities in hopes of changing him. Desperate for his mother's approval, Bobby does what is asked of him, but through it all, the church's apparent disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed. Guilty over the pain he is causing Mary, Bobby moves away, yet hopes that some day his mother will accept him. His subsequent depression and self-loathing intensifies as he blames himself for not being the 'perfect' son and is driven to suicide. Faced with their tragedy, Mary begins to question her faith when she receives no answers from her pastor concerning her devastating loss. Through her long and emotional journey, Mary slowly reaches out to the gay community and discovers unexpected support from a very unlikely source. --IMDb
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Henry Czerny
Henry Czerny
Ryan Kelley
Ryan Kelley
Austin Nichols
Austin Nichols
Carly Schroeder
Carly Schroeder
Review by bluemeanie
Added: January 24, 2009
There is just something that doesn't appeal to me about Lifetime films, but the fact that the film featured such an impressive cast and dealt with a subject matter near and dear to my heart made me make the exception. I first read the book "Prayers for Bobby" when I was 14-years-old and just coming out of the closet to my family. It made a lasting impression on me and did for countless others also. The fact that a film has now been made based on that book is a real source of happiness for me because it is such an important story.

In 1982, Bobby Griffith (Ryan Kelley) lept from atop a bridge in Portland, smashed into an eighteen wheeler and was killed instantly. He did this because of the conflict and torment he felt with his homosexuality. His family, especially his devoutly religious mother Mary (Sigourney Weaver), could not accept him and his mother was always telling him how he was a sinner and was doing something that would send him to hell. After trying everything he knew to get her to understand, he decided to take his own life. His mother, torn apart by what she read in his diary, went on a crusade to find out more about her son and homosexuality. She eventually become a gay rights advocate and a champion of civil rights to help all young people struggling with these issues.

As a film, "Prayers for Bobby" works. The performances are exceptional, especially Sigourney Weaver as the mother who has to face a tragedy to finally see the light. Ryan Kelley is also very effective as Bobby, the first real meaty role I've seen him take since "Mean Creek". The script is a tight one, which elevates this film above your typical Lifetime picture. You can tell the producers put their hearts and souls into this picture and it shows. The subject matter is so powerful and so personal that you expect this kind of outcome. There are scenes in this film that are difficult to watch because you know that this story does not have a happy ending. You hear Weaver saying these things to her son and you cringe because you know what effect they will have.

I encourage everyone to check out this film when they can. It tells an important and powerful story that is even more relevant in these times when Proposition 8 has passed and various other anti-gay measures have been pushed throughout the country. The film does a good job of showing you just how little people knew about gays and lesbians back in the early-1980's, right before AIDS hit hard. It also shows how the religious community initially responded to homosexuality in the mainstream, with some of them still sticking to those guns. "Prayers for Bobby" is an important film and a successful one. Kudos to Lifetime for taking a chance with it and kudos to the producers for taking a book that meant so much to me and giving it a new life. 9/10.
Edd #1: Edd - added 01/25/2009, 02:33 PM
I really didn't think you'd fall into this trap of a movie. Sexual preference aside, this was just another shitty Lifetime movie.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 01/25/2009, 04:21 PM
I beg to differ, sir. The quality of the performances in this film were leagues better than the quality of performances in other Lifetime movies. Sigourney Weaver alone was enough to recommend this film. There was not 'falling into a trap' about this film. The book had a huge impact on my life and I thought the film did the book as much justice as it could.
Anthony Spadaccini #3: Anthony Spadaccini - added 01/26/2009, 01:27 PM
I am in total agreement with you. I had never heard of either the book or movie before yesterday morning, and I had the pleasure of catching an encore presentation. Wow. Sigourney Weaver's performance was so haunting and realistic. And Ryan Kelley was absolutely breathtaking. For once we see an honest, non-stereotypical portrayal of a gay teenager. Very refreshing to see.

I got into a debate with someone last night. I for the most part do not care for either Lifetime movies or the vast majority of gay cinema (how many man-hating or coming-of-age stories can you do before it starts getting stale?) - a fact I make known to anyone who will listen. This individual thought that I was being hypocritical because I thoroughly enjoyed Prayers for Bobby (a gay movie airing on Lifetime! Who would've thought?) - I however do not consider it on the same level as the typical Lifetime movie. I also don't consider it a "gay movie" since seriously, when it all comes down to it, it's a movie about blind faith and intolerance. The dangers of making antiquated religious principles a priority over another human being.

You could replace the homophobia theme with racism and the message would still have been the same. It wasn't a gay movie. It wasn't a Lifetime movie. It was just a great movie. Period.
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