A TOUCHING FATHER AND SON STORY
93 MINUTES RATED R
Stories about fathers and sons are often moving and poignant. Such is the case with Roadside Attractions’ Joe Bell, a true and complicated story about a father who wanted to memorialize his son while spreading an anti-bullying message of acceptance.
From filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), along with the Academy Award-winning writing team behind Brokeback Mountain (Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry) and Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg, Joe Bell tells the intimate and emotional true story of an Oregonian father who pays tribute to his gay teenage son Jadin, embarking on a self-reflective walk across America to speak his heart to heartland citizens about the real and terrifying costs of bullying.
Jadin Bell was 15 years-old when he died by suicide after the trauma of intense, daily bullying by his classmates. The only openly gay student at his school, he made a big impression on those who knew him best. Jadin was a kind, creative and fun-loving young man, a high school cheerleader and a lover of fashion and photography. To honor Jadin, his father took to the heartland road, while reeling with raw emotions and his own baggage of shame, shortcomings and guilt. His son gone, Joe hoped to find on his trek other small-town LGBTQ teenagers and families who struggled in silence or shadow, and share with them his story — Jadin’s story — so that even one family might learn greater acceptance and be spared the remorse that consumed and propelled Joe.
“From the minute I read the script I thought this was a timely story that needed to be told,” says Mark Wahlberg. “Joe Bell is a man who didn’t understand certain things about the world until he was faced with them in his own life, as a father. As a parent myself, I know how much fatherhood can change a man. This is a story told from the heart of a man who walked from town to town to reach other families. It shows how a series of small steps can add up and make a big difference for anyone who needs to know they are loved and accepted.”
Joe Bell would have been an ideal movie to come out during quarantine as it’s a small movie that plays well in the intimacy of your home. It doesn’t need a big screen nor a thunderous sound system. Here it’s all about the story. A true and powerful story. While I’m not jumping at the chance to go back to a movie theater any time soon, I would recommend this viewing experience on the small screen in the comfort of your own home.
Photography Courtesy Of: Joe Bell Film