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Prayers for Bobby (2009)

True story of Mary Griffith, gay rights crusader, whose teenage son committed suicide due to her religious intolerance. Based on the book of the same title by Leroy Aarons.

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(teleplay), (book)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Nancy Griffith
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David
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Jeanette
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Psychologist
Madge Levinson ...
Ophelia
Marshall McClean ...
Reverend Owens
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Betty Lambert
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Reverend Whitsell
Anna Badalamenti ...
Michelle
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Doug
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Storyline

In "Prayers for Bobby," Mary Griffith (Sigourney Weaver) is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby (Ryan Kelley) 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 (Henry Czerny) 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is asked of him, but through it all, the church's apparent disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed.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 ... Written by Louie Neira

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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She loves everything about her son... except who he is.


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Details

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Release Date:

24 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bobby seul contre tous  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ryan Kelly and Carly Schroeder previously starred together in Mean Creek (2004) See more »

Goofs

The red convertible driven by Bobby's boyfriend as they drove up to his parents' home is a 1986 Alfa-Romeo Spider even though the story took place in the early 1980s. See more »

Quotes

Mary Griffith: To all the Bobbys and Janes out there, I say these words to you as I would my own precious children. Please don't give up hope on life, or yourselves. You're very special to me, and I'm working very hard to make this life a better and safer place for you to live in. Promise me you'll keep trying. Bobby gave up on love, I hope you won't. You're always in my thoughts.
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Connections

Featured in Prayers for Bobby: Meet the Stars (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Here I Am
Produced by Michael Lloyd, Greg O'Connor
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User Reviews

 
Bible study
25 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I cried my eyes out, so maybe I shouldn't raise any objections, but... many things in this beautifully made movie were more simplistic than they needed to be.

The priest called Mary's attention to commands in the Bible she obviously wasn't taking literally in her life: we should stone disobedient children to death, we shouldn't eat shellfish. She then looks up these passages and tells the priest she has read them, and continues to raise questions about his reasoning. But earlier in the movie the family amuses itself with Bible quizzes -- I say a phrase, you tell me the book and chapter it's from. How could a woman who clearly knew the Bible better than she knew her own son not already have read Deuteronomy and Leviticus backwards, forwards, and inside out? For a self-convinced Christian like Mary, the contradictions between the passages in the Bible she liked and the ones she didn't like would have been explained away long before the events of this story.

Also, as another poster has said, the story didn't really lead us to understand why the boy did what he did. There's a hint that his boyfriend was seeing other guys, he got a really nasty birthday present from his mother, he was very lonely at the hospital where he worked, but -- the dots weren't really connected. It felt like a couple of scenes had been cut, with the effect that at the climactic moment I found myself asking "Wha'?" instead of feeling the horrible inevitability of it.

Why am I criticizing a movie that gave me the best cry I've had in months? Because movies on Lifetime, even the best ones, always pull back from the edge. There is always at least to some degree an ironed-out, homogenized, Canadian-locationized blandness to the storytelling (even though this one wasn't shot in Canada.) What if they let a movie actually be itself? What if they aimed for Sundance quality nuance, naturalism, emotion, unexpectedness in storytelling? The writing and direction on this movie were first-rate, for what it was (and Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley ripped my heart out)-- but I feel that both writer and director could have gone all the way with it and made it a MOVIE.

I wonder why they didn't.


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