I Am Michael
Justin Kelly’s directorial debut won’t be seen by many beyond the art-house and festival circuit, but it will nevertheless rile viewers and provoke discussion on all sides, simply because it cuts to the heart of the disbelief, angst and prejudice associated with modern sexuality.
In what could be James Franco’s most ambitious true-life portrayal, we are presented with the narrative of Michael Glatze, a former prominent gay activist who created controversy by denouncing homosexuality and becoming a Christian pastor.
Kelly is unscrupulous in presenting an even-handed account, which while being a story that prompts some views and subjects that may offend, is more an examination into the mind of a man searching for his own identity. It is the self-torture that Franco so painfully brings to the screen that ensures the audience can empathise on some level with the protagonist on his frustrating journey.
Franco’s performance is undeniable. We have seen him take on similarly daring roles in films like Milk and Howl but it is almost the “anti-gay” path which the plot takes that makes the character of Michael Glatze so fascinating and Franco’s performance so convincing.
That evolution of Glatze’s character can be felt most effectively through the drifting score, from Jake Shears and pianist Tim Kvasnosky, as it settles from early synth riffs down to more classical-sounding compositions.
The brainchild of executive producer Gus Van Sant, this is a film that will evoke a lot of feeling from its audience as it is evident that everybody involved in the production has invested a great deal of feeling too. Kelly should be gratified with telling a unique story that many people will have never heard before in this passion piece.
I Am Michael does not have a UK release date yet.
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