Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reverend's Reviews: We are Family, Part II

On the heels of Breakfast with Scot comes another film that deals with GLBT families, Tru Loved (rolling out nationally over the next month starting this Friday). This sophomore feature by writer-director Stewart Wade (Coffee Date) is an intelligent and amusing look at the travails of teenaged straight girl Tru (the lovely Najarra Townsend), who has just moved with her two lesbian moms to a new town and school.

As Tru goes through the usual challenges of re-location, she enlightens her more conservative schoolmates about homosexuality, more often than not despite herself. She is quickly drafted to start a gay-straight student alliance, where she meets Trevor (Jake Abel, who can also currently be seen on movie screens as Greg Kinnear's son in the very good Flash of Genius). Trevor lives with his gay uncle (a funny cameo by Bruce Vilanch), so Tru subsequently assumes he is gay just as he assumes Tru is lesbian based on her living situation.

They eventually find romance together, but in the process Tru has to confront the school's closeted, conflicted football star and his machismo-afflicted best friend, as well as the athlete's prejudiced aunt (played by Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols, who looks great and gets some of the script's best lines) and suspicious mother (Jasmine Guy).

I enjoy watching newer filmmakers grow and develop, and Tru Loved is an improvement on Wade's previous movie. His direction and writing are both more assured, and his messages gentler and less forced. In addition, Wade and his partner, producer Antonio Brown, have attracted a bigger-name cast that also includes GLBT faves Alec Mapa, Jane Lynch and Alexandra Paul.

Tru Loved adds significant fuel to the current explosion of positive portrayals of GLBT families and their concerns on the big screen. It is recommended viewing for teens and their parents -- whether gay, straight or anything in between.

Watch the trailer here.

UPDATE: Tru Loved is now available on DVDfrom

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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