Out In the Silence
Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer
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Following the story of a small American town confronting a firestorm of controversy ignited by a same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper, this gripping documentary illustrates the challenges of being an outsider in a conservative rural community and the change that is possible when courageous people break the silence and search for common ground. Out in the Silence will challenge you to rethink your values and help close the gaps that divide our communities.
I happened to see this on PBS in State College and was amazed by how tough it still is to be "different" in a small town in Pennsylvania. What I really liked about the film is that all the characters are so real. The kid CJ is just a typical teen who happens to be gay, his Mom is so brave, the two women are classic small town characters, and the head of the American Family Association is a complete closet case. This was as good as most fictional films I've seen.
Look's Like A Great Documentary
As myself being a gay man who through out high school kept my sexuality hidden away because of this truly shows the emotion and drama people go through not just where you live but in the world. This documentary isn't worth $14.99 I'll maybe buy it when its $9.99 so I can check it myself =].
This film represents the best in citizen journalism by combining social activism with artful storytelling. It's the sort of movie you can't wait to tell your friends about.
It all starts out when the filmmaker puts the announcement of his wedding to another man in the newspaper of his small, conservative hometown, which he had left (for obvious reasons) right after high school. It turn out that the town is now the headquarters for a rabid family values groups, and needless to say the head of it is none to pleased with the “homosexual agenda” invading her domain. An avalanche of nasty letters and threats ensues.
The story heads in a different direction when the mother of a gay teen who is being tormented at school reads the announcement and reaches out to the filmmaker for help. The struggle she and her son have against the school system becomes the major storyline of the film.
Once back in town, the filmmaker meets a series of additional characters whose stories enfold under his camera.
There is a lesbian couple who decide to renovate a beautiful old theater. The question of whether they will be able to get it up and running, and how the town will react, becomes an important subplot. There is also a hilarious scene involving who has the bigger chainsaw.
Then there is a fundamentalist Christian minister and his wife who start out strongly critical but, as they get to know him better, become friends with the filmmaker and his husband.
And there is the town itself, struggling with economic depression and trying to make a new start, both financially and socially. It is a beautiful town and the cinematography is lush.
Unlike many films on this topic, OUT IN THE SILENCE is full of comical moments. And in the end, even though there are many difficulties, it is a story of hope and optimism. But I don't want to spoil the surprise ending to this lovely and inspiring tale, so I'll just end by saying that although this is a film about gay and lesbian issues, it deserves to be seen by everyone.