FFF 2016 Day 2 An Act of Love and Becoming Blair

This Movie Truly Was An Act of Love

This Movie Truly Was An Act of Love

The second day of the FFF came to a close with two very powerful, not to be missed films dealing with issues from the LGBT community. Both films take the conversation out of the impersonal and deep into the intimate. It becomes obvious that whatever your position is on LGBT rights, you have to acknowledge you are dealing with human beings.

Becoming Blair

Mother and Son. Where's Dad?

Mother and Son. Where’s Dad?

Somehow, Blair has always known he was male, despite what might be written on his birth certificate. Born to a conservative Catholic family, he suspects his parents find this difficult. His mother struggles to find acceptance, but what else can she do? The answer to that question is demonstrated by his father who obviously refuses to participate in this movie. At the very end he unintentionally provides a glimpse into how this issue affects him. It was the most powerful and distressing moment so far at the FFF. An utterly heart wrenching movie.

An Act of Love
Another incredible documentary takes a long, hard, deep look at a United Methodist minister defrocked after choosing to celebrate the wedding ceremony of his gay son. After winning the appeal with his church, he faces one more trial that could leave him unemployed for good.

If there’s one thing to criticize about this film, it’s that it does not do a very good job of portraying the other side of this story. Clearly, the filmmakers fully support the minister. But they do show enough people who don’t support him that it gives you a glimpse of the other side. However, the minister’s side is shown with compassion and depth. It’s obvious how the church’s decisions are affecting the people who support the gay community. On the other hand, the film’s presentation does not reveal the same personal emotions of those who feel their church is betraying them. Such a perspective would have made a very good film even better.

Reverend Frank Schaefer married his gay son almost six years ago–which is significant because six years is the statute of limitations for any complaint. However, when Frank attempts to fire another church leader, a relative of that leader suddenly files a complaint about the gay wedding. This leads to monumental decisions within the international church organization that tear at the very fabric of their belief system. Do they support their own book of discipline or do they follow what Frank’s supporters characterize as Jesus’ teachings on love?

The movie introduces a host of articulate, thoughtful members of the United Methodist church. They struggle to help the church accept the inevitability of opening their doors to the LGBT community while a small host of dissenters give brief insights into their disapproval.

In the end, a charismatic Frank Schaefer unwittingly becomes the lightning rod of this contentious issue. He handles the role with compassion, depth, wisdom and courage. The result is a powerful film. One of the best in this year’s festival.

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