Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 2016. Trick Candle Productions, Silent Giant Productions. Story by Jack Bryant, Kerstin Karlhuber, Screenplay by Jack Bryant. Cinematography by Jason Beasley. Produced by Kerstin Karlhuber, Tom Malloy. Music by Christopher Farrell. Production Design by Matt Eames. Costume Design by Steph Byers. Film Editing by Frank Reynolds. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
James has just returned to his small Vermont town after having been in what we find out was gay conversion therapy for a number of weeks. His father (Tom Wopat) wants him to take over running their apple orchard, which has been in the family for a few generations, but James still wants to pursue his career in music as a concert pianist, now galvanized by his renewed devotion to his Christian faith and determination to find love with a woman. When he makes a delivery to a local store for his dad, he runs into Charlie, the young man with whom he had an affair before being sent away to therapy, and finds himself in danger of renewing old habits while trying to get a relationship going with a young woman his father introduces him to. While touching on a very upsetting and disturbing trend in American society of thinking young gay people can be brainwashed into walking the straight and narrow, this film fails to have much of an effect on its audience thanks to a dreary dramatic tone and a lack of specific context to what is happening: it’s impossible to know if James went to therapy because of his own doubts of himself or if it was his father who sent him (Wopat’s character doesn’t seem to have much anxiety about anything other than making sure his son doesn’t go away), and when James decides to jump back into things with Charlie, it causes him no conflict about the “progress” he had been making up to that point. Good acting elevates the bad writing and lazy direction, and Gregory Harrison is credible as the therapist who, in flashbacks, gives James his personal doubts, but the two young men at the centre have no chemistry and their relationship isn’t inspiring.