Same Difference (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA, 2015.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by Kyle Wentzel.  Music by .  Film Editing by James Wright, .

Gay and lesbian youth make up a large number of teen suicides in North America, an issue that is examined in this heartfelt and moving documentary.  It focuses on two boys, one who came out at a very young age and found himself quickly becoming a community leader while still a teen, another who eventually took his own life at a tragically young age.  Directors Joshua Sweeny and Kyle Wentzel assemble very emotional interviews from friends and family of both subjects while also going further afield and getting professionals to provide information about statistics regarding LGBT youth, particularly the effect that Gay-Straight Alliances have had in the schools that welcome them as an after-school program (and the effect on schools that do not).  What Sweeny and Wentzel thankfully do not do is make any kind of value judgments between what led one boy to committing suicide and the other to becoming a spokesperson; they both come from loving, supportive families and while it is detailed that one endured a great deal of bullying from his peers, you’re still left with a feeling that blame is not what is key, merely that it is gratifying to see one succeed and that it is outright tragedy to lose someone so young who was so well loved.  Sweeny and Wentzel should be commended for making a film that trusts the facts to be galvanizing without resorting to any kind of emotional manipulation or rhetoric.

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