Prayers for bobby

There is a Bobby out there, standing over a bridge, wondering if a step here or there could make a difference. He thinks of his family especially his mother who would rather not have a son than having a gay son. He thinks of his friends, of which there aren’t many. He thinks about his chances of living a dignified life in future. In the end he thinks about god and wonders, if he enjoys seeing him in this condition; defeated, flustered, conquered and crushed. It was there and then this twenty something boy from Walnut Creek who decided to be silenced by the noise of the traffic.

For four years Bobby’s mother tried to cure her son, of what his church termed as a disease. Homosexuality was new to her; it was something only faith and her god could heal. Being an extreme fundamental Christian she puts all her faith in god. She tried to save her son from the wraths of hell. It was not but after her son’s death that she realised something was wrong. Why didn’t God heal her son?

‘Prayers for bobby’ is the realisation of a mother, that there was nothing wrong with her son in the first place. The reason why her son was not healed was because he was perfectly healthy and normal. It is a story of a mother who loves everything about her son, except for who he is!

Set in the background of 1970’s California, Prayers for Bobby is based on the book by the same name by Leroy F. Aarons. It is a television film which was premiered in 2009. The role of Bobby Griffith has been played by Ryan Kelly and the role of Mary Griffith (bobby’s mother) is marvellously played by Sigourney Weaver.

Director Russel Mulcahy has left no stone unturned in examining the life of Bobby, his mother and his family. Saying that some of the scenes in the movie were brilliant would be an understatement. The heart wrenching sensation was most poignant in the scenes when Marry Griffith came to know about her son’s death, when she came face to face with reality while reading her son’s diary alongher speech near the end of the movie. The best scene in the movie was when Mary Griffith said to her son, “I won’t have a gay son”, and then bobby replies, “Then, mom you don’t have a son.” It is moment like these where you get to see the complexities of emotions of gigantic proportions played in just two sentences.

The movie is so clever at times that it will not give you a chance to get bored. The movie keeps you well engrossed in the turbulent life of all the characters. The movie realistically portrays the 1970’s anti-gayism atmosphere, where cursing gay is openly accepted in the society. Ryan Kelly has played the role of Bobby with sheer perfection and innocence. In the first scene when his grandmother openly cursed homosexuals and said that they should all be hanged. The subtle hints of defiance were clearly visible in bobby’s demeanour even though he didn’t say anything.

It is not just a story about a gay kid but it is a story of all  the Bobby’s out there who are different and who are ready to break the unconventional boundaries to step into a brand new world.

The last scene of the movie is the most emotionally moving scene that could change the heart of any homophobic. I can’t help but wonder why do we need something to remind us of the human in human beings? This movie should be shown around the world to make us realise that we are not so different after all. We are bobby, be it gay, bi or straight.

‘Prayers for bobby’ is more than just a coming out of closet movie.

My rating: 5/5

Bhanuj Saharan