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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.

Director:

Russell Mulcahy

Writers:

Katie Ford (teleplay), Leroy Aarons (book)
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4,931 ( 304)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sigourney Weaver ... Mary Griffith
Henry Czerny ... Robert Griffith
Ryan Kelley ... Bobby Griffith
Austin Nichols ... Ed Griffith
Carly Schroeder ... Joy Griffith
Shannon Eagen ... Nancy Griffith (as Shannon Eagan)
Scott Bailey ... David
Rebecca Louise Miller ... Jeanette
Lee Garlington ... Psychologist
Madge Levinson Madge Levinson ... Ophelia
Marshall McClean Marshall McClean ... Reverend Owens
Susan Ruttan ... Betty Lambert
Dan Butler ... Reverend Whitsell
Anna Badalamenti Anna Badalamenti ... Michelle
Ele Bardha ... 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is asked of him, but through it all, the church's apparent disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed.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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Lifetime TV | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bobby seul contre tous See more »

Filming Locations:

Detroit, Michigan, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

  • [13:17]The passage that Mary Griffith refers to is from Leviticus 20:13 and goes: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he would with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." However. the other verses in that chapter also say the same things about adultery, and even bestiality.
  • [1:03:10]She quotes Leviticus 18:22 which has a similar passage which goes "22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
See more »

Goofs

The seduction scene from Spartacus (with Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier) playing on the television was not in the original release of the film in 1960. Even if it were, the version playing on television in 1978 would have a been a butchered, less violent, re-release of the film The seduction scene was not put into the film until its restoration in 1991 by Robert A. Harris. On top of that, the audio tracks were missing or destroyed. So, Tony Curtis re-recorded his lines. Since Laurence Olivier was now deceased, Anthony Hopkins re-recorded his. Although the scene fits contextually (it's an analogy about having a "taste for snails over oysters"), it's inclusion is inaccurate. See more »

Quotes

Robert Griffith: So we're really going to San Francisco?
Mary Griffith: I think we have to, I don't think its a choice. Well... that's ironic.
See more »

Connections

Features Spartacus (1960) 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 lorcan9000See 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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