3 user 9 critic

Dear Jesse (1997)

Can you go home again? What if you're a gay man and home is a state where voters keep electing a homophobe to the US Senate? In 1996, at age 30, native son Tim Kirkman returns to North ... See full summary »


Tim Kirkman


Tim Kirkman

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Credited cast:
Nathan A. Barbour Nathan A. Barbour ... Himself
Karen Brown Karen Brown ... Herself
Patsy Clarke Patsy Clarke ... Herself
Hal Crowther Hal Crowther ... Himself
Jaki Shelton Greene Jaki Shelton Greene ... Herself
Allan Gurganus Allan Gurganus ... Himself
Jesse Helms Jesse Helms ... Himself
Jerry Kirkman Jerry Kirkman ... Himself
Tim Kirkman ... Himself
Jerry McGee Jerry McGee ... Himself (as Dr. Jerry McGee)
Ann Pierce Ann Pierce ... Herself
Matthew Shepard ... Himself
H. Mitchell Simpson H. Mitchell Simpson ... Himself (as Dr. H. Mitchell Simpson)
Lee Smith Lee Smith ... Herself
Eloise Vaughn Eloise Vaughn ... Herself


Can you go home again? What if you're a gay man and home is a state where voters keep electing a homophobe to the US Senate? In 1996, at age 30, native son Tim Kirkman returns to North Carolina to explore the parallels and differences between himself and Jesse Helms: they're from the same town and college, with media interests, from families blessed by adoptions, Baptists by upbringing. Tim puts his camera in front of his family, a boyhood pal, college friends, his pastor, Helms fans, community activists, novelists Lee Smith and Allan Gurganus, a mayor who's gay, and people in the street, including a brief interview with Matthew Shepard. What is it to judge, and what is it to love? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A homophobic senator. A gay filmmaker. A different kind of love letter.









Release Date:

9 September 1997 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

North Carolina, USA


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,748, 4 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,875, 18 July 1999
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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References The Andy Griffith Show (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

A plea for sanity
26 May 1999 | by mermattSee all my reviews

This is a touching documentary about a young man who lives in New York City but grew up in North Carolina. He addresses his narrative in the film to Jesse Helms, the overtly and unabasedly homophobic Senator from North Carolina.

The narrator revisits many places where he grew up and interviews friends and family asking about the bigotry that Helms openly displays. The narrator discovers that many people in his home state share his views of Helms. Realizing this, the narrator feels that he is no longer alienated from his birth state.

He makes an interesting point about the North Carolina motto which states that what is true is more important than what merely seems true. He then applies this motto to the condition of bigotry masquerading as civility.

One of the most touching aspects of the film is the "PS" at the end.

This film is a must for anyone trying to teach real family values and tolerance in America. I was touched and moved by the experience.

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