Franco’s fantastic here. He gives a fieriness to Michael as a gay advocate, then seamlessly slides into borderline madness as he starts accepting that the “voice” he hears is God’s. Michael’s confusion is palpable and intense.
Kelly is finding his sea-legs as a director. Kelly spends equal amounts of time with Michael's pre-conversion life as he does post-conversion. The conversion itself is pretty well done, all things considered.
Whilst most **** films are often about coming out this unusual offering is about a man who decides to go back in. This problematic premise could so easily have wound up as superficial or patronising taking on as it does an element of the nature vs nurture debate. Questions are posed as to whether sexuality is actually a choice, and despite one's individual beliefs, asks you to seriously consider your answer. Thankfully, due to a screenplay that is interestingly provocative and a performance from James Franco that beautifully walks a tightrope of believability, the film is an unqualified success. Franco plays Michael, a man rejecting his **** after discovering god. Giving a complex and nuanced performance in another fascinating role choice that pushes his own boundaries, Franco is key to the film's credibility. Both the character and the story feel totally authentic which is no small feat given the material. True story or not, in less accomplished hands events played out could have come over as simply glib and contrived.
The film also touches on issues of faith. Religion feeds the story and one has to acknowledge that despite the good intentions that are implicit through one's faith, it is also these unbending individual beliefs that are responsible for so many of the world's problems. Whilst the film, thankfully, doesn't delve in to this arena, a rather telling ending certainly suggests that all is not what it seems for Michael and his new found vocation.
The enormously inconstant James Franco offers a solid interpretation in a drama that fails to capture the complexity of its subject and also fails to be more convincing.
I believe the fault lies in the director and the script rather than the actor because the presentation is good but the depth is laughable.
I think it deserves the opportunity to be seen but I understand that it's difficult to have a wider audience.
While intellectually laudable, Mr. Kelly’s determined objectivity is so distancing that it takes an inherently intriguing story (based on a 2011 article in The New York Times Magazine) and sucks the life out of it.
The movie had a very interesting story and great acting performances, but unfortunately, the pacing was a little bit off, the movie was boring at times and it really just scratched the surface of the story. If you wanted to know more about Michael Glatze, you're better off reading the books about him.