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Audiences are first introduced to Michael Glatze (James Franco) as he chastises a young gay teenager and declares moral individuals choose heterosexuality and God. However, this was not always the case with Mr. Glatze. Rewind the story a decade and we find Michael living happily in San Francisco with his partner Bennett (Zachary Quinto) as he works as the Managing Editor of XY Magazine, a popular gay lifestyle publication. Glatze encouraged gay communities to identify with their sexuality, but after a medical scare revolving around his potential heart condition, Glatze begins his journey exploring Christianity and abandoning his former beliefs and lifestyle. Franco beautifully portrays an obviously confused individual questioning his own mortality and willing to risk everything he's built his life around. Quinto offers the supporting shoulder as he is forced to move forward into an uncertain future with the love of his life. Director Justin Kelly effectively leads audiences though the life of a confused individual who abandons one life for another while outsiders both ridicule and praise his challenging choice. -Jimmy Martin
Great movie about Michael Glatze. Getting a lot of mixed reviews from the LGBT community, the reality is we have to be open to everyone and not just those who share the same views as us. It would have been easy for Kelly to direct a feature which depicted Glatze as a self-hating gay man who hurls himself back in the closet, but the truth may be more complicated (some have suggested Glatze may not have been gay in the first place), and the film attempts to present the facts of his life at the time without making judgments. Its a great movie. The movie may be uncomfortable viewing for some (Gay and Straight) but its a movie that is worthy in its own right.
Love, identity, sense of self, God, religion, sin, gay, ex-gay, authenticity, confusion: all of these things and more are brought to the screen in the movie "I Am Michael" chronicling the often painful and true story of gay activist turned ex-gay poster boy Michael Glatze. The story is nuanced and the performances by James Franco and Zachary Quinton are sincere. Regardless of what your agenda is on this flash point topic, it is a movie that can be enjoyed for its story and how the world can pull at us from all directions. The fact that we are not pulled apart is a triumph in of itself and thus is the story of Michael.
Watching this film, I thought of that great movie SAFE, in which
Julianne Moore plays an upper-class matron whose life takes a strange
turn when she develops a sensitivity to various "toxins" all around
her. Or is it just in her head? As she retreats farther and farther
from the life she once knew, the viewer likewise retreats from making
any easy judgments about her. The way we comprehend and navigate the
world is a mysterious process, with no easy answers. Boy, what a great
movie SAFE was.
I hoped this movie might present a similar complexity and depth. Unfortunately, this neophyte director is no Todd Haynes. And James Franco is certainly no Julianne Moore.
Alternatively, given the "controversial true story" subject matter, the movie might have been loud, polemical, and sensational, a la Oliver Stone. That would at least have been amusing, and sexy, and maybe even thought-provoking.
But it's not like that, either.
Instead, it's just very drab and dull. It's like some dreadfully boring TV movie of the week from the 1970s. The catatonic performances do not help, but what were the actors supposed to do with characters the script does nothing to develop? Supposedly the story is based on real people, but none of these people seem very real. A documentary of the Errol Morris variety would have shown us much, much more about what they all went through. Or a completely fictitious story might have freed the film maker to really delve into the psyches of his subjects. Instead, we are left with a very halfhearted effort to tell a "true" story in such a way that no one will be offended.
Unlike SAFE, this movie plays it much too safe.
This film tells the story of a prominent gay activist who found God,
and subsequently he decides to openly renounce the gay lifestyle, and
go to bible school.
"I Am Michael" starts off rather shockingly, as James Franco's character tells a young man that he should choose to be heterosexual in order to be closer to God. Watching a film with such a content in a gay and lesbian film festival surely makes viewers gasp in disbelief! The film then continues the development of James' character, from being very embracing the gay lifestyle to renouncing it. Many anti gay comments are voiced, and more gasps of exasperation were made. Three are clues as to whether James'character really got converted or not, which is the pro gay undertone of the story. So on a deeper level, the story is really about exposing the farce of the ex-gay phenomenon, rather than being anti gay.
While the movie as a movie is just...well...a movie. I have to say after studying up on "Michael" the man himself, it seems to be a pretty honest interpretation of who he is and what he went through. I find it fascinating that people are hating on the actors about being a part of this. It's a movie and it doesn't really promote an agenda one way or the other. It is simply a story about a homosexual man that found God and made the personal decision to walk away from the lifestyle and embrace another. I am curious to see what the LGBT community would have thought about a movie with the opposite plot, a Christian man that walks away from his faith to embrace a homosexual lifestyle. Wouldn't it be "equally" terrible to have someone deny who they "really are" to embrace an opposing lifestyle? It's a decent watch with some good performances by Franco and Quinto (AND PEOPLE REALLY NEED TO GET OFF HIS CASE ABOUT HIM TAKING THIS PART IN THIS FILM). It's like saying that Ian McDirmaid played Emperor Palpatine so he must believe in genocide! Stop being nuts people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not a Franco fan at all, but I did want to see this first feature
effort from Justin Kelly. Kelly is also credited as co-screen writer. I
admit, I am impressed with his direction and with the screenplay.
All too often gay cinema and movies in general really, suffer from weak stories and crumbling screenplays. Terrible dialog and a habit of relying on sex type scenes to prop them up. This is not the case here at all.
The subject is Michael Glatze, magazine editor and gay rights advocate who finds his epiphany in religion. He renounces his "lifestyle" and decides he is simply a straight guy with a "homosexual problem." No spoilers from me (even though I checked the box to be safe). Zach Quinto (Jon Groff's former lover) plays Glatze's boyfriend. Charlie Carver is the twink love interest (what else?). Emma Roberts does a fine turn as Glatze's wife. And then there's James Franco.
Couldn't they find anyone else for this role? Seriously, he has played these mentally challenged types so many times I can't hardly stand to watch any more. There must be someone--some other actor--that Van Sant and/or Kelly could have turned to. He really is over used and becoming tiresome to watch.
Oh yes, there's some skin. There's a 3-way between Franco, Quinto and Carver that the PR crew is hyping the hell out of. It's not all that steamy. When they start interviewing the actors repeatedly about a single sex scene, you know they are in trouble. About all you will see is some manicured man butt and who hasn't seen this about a thousand times already? Still, they are looking for wider distribution. If you get the chance, I suggest you see it. Even though it means enduring one of Franco's typical, retread jobs as an actor.
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