Review of Joe Bell – Rated R – 1 hr. 34 mins.

This Review is brought to you by Mary Cox

JOE BELL is a real tear-jerker

If you are down in the dumps and want to be totally depressed, then this is the movie for you.  Luckily it only runs an hour and thirty minutes.  Any longer and there would have been wailing and gnashing of teeth.

“Joe Bell” is the true story of a working class father, (Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg) from La Grande, Oregon who embarks on a solo walk across the U.S. to crusade against bullying after his son, Jadin, (Reid Miller), is tormented in high school for being gay and commits suicide.

The acting is excellent.  This is a break-out role for Reid Miller who brings the right spirit to the role of Jadin, a young boy who just wants love and acceptance for who he is in a world where being different or unique is unacceptable.

Connie Britton plays Joe’s wife, Lola.  Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise is the Sheriff whose life is changed by his run-in with Joe Bell.

“Joe Bell” was directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.  The script was written by St. Louis native and Academy Award winner Diana Ossana and her writing partner, Academy Award winner Larry McMurtry.  The pair won their Oscar’s for “Brokeback Mountain” another tear-jerker. McMurtry was the author of “Lonesome Dove.”

I found the cinematography irritating.  It seems that the camera was always in the actor’s face. We constantly got close ups of Mark Wahlberg’s scraggy beard and dirty hair.  I have seen pictures of the real Joe Bell and he was not as scruffy and ill-kept as Mark Wahlberg was in “Joe Bell.”  I wanted to take Wahlberg to a barber shop and get that awful beard shaved and his hair cut.  He was a mess.

The message that Joe Bell tried to pass on to people he met on his journey was that bullying is not only cruel, it is damaging to the people who are bullied and their families as well. It is important to respect each person as they are. He also warned parents to accept their children and let them know how much you love them.

I recommend this film to anyone who has a gay or lesbian child.  Also, anyone whose child has been bullied in school.  It is hard to watch.

I give this joyless film 3 stars.

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