Movie Review: I Am Michael

Justin Kelly’s I Am Michael (B+) is a gripping true story about a gay magazine editor who has a series of revelations that lead him to attempt to alter his sexual orientation. Fully realized by James Franco, the title character is complex and sympathetic as he wrestles with issues of faith and identity. The quirky actor should be commended for courageousness in a mature and layered performance and in behind the scenes work to get this fascinating story told. The film’s reverse coming out story with a main character who transforms from player to prayer coupled with the filmmakers’ unwillingness to be reductive leads the narrative down unexpected and rewarding paths. As the protagonist’s love interests, Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts are effective foils for what seems like a folly. It’s all sensitively handled and executed with earnestness. What could have fallen into a Reefer Madness style propaganda film about the ex-gay movement actually lifts up nuance as a core asset and provides fodder for thought.

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I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2015, Rent It Tonight

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