Prayers for Bobby

  • Directors: Russell Mulcahy 2
  • Producers: Stanley M Brooks 3, David Permut 3, Daniel Sladek 3, Chris Taaffe 3, Damian Ganczewski 1
  • Writers: Katie Ford 1, Leroy F Aarons
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley

Mary Griffith is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby confides to his older brother he may be gay, life changes for the entire family after Mary learns about his secret. Bobby’s father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, but Mary believes that God can “cure” him. She takes him to a psychiatrist and persuades Bobby to pray harder and seek solace in church activities in hopes of changing him. Desperate for his mother’s approval, Bobby does what is asked of him, but through it all, the church’s disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed.

Stricken with guilt, Bobby moves away with his cousin, hoping that some day, his mother will accept him. He moves to Oregon, giving up on his hopes of defeating homosexuality. He finds a boyfriend, David, at a gay bar. His subsequent depression and self-loathing intensifies as he blames himself for not being the “perfect” son, and he jumps off a freeway bridge into the path of an oncoming eighteen-wheeler truck, killing him instantly.

Faced with their tragedy, Mary begins to question herself and her church’s interpretation of Scripture. Through her long and emotional journey, Mary slowly reaches out to the gay community and discovers unexpected support from a very unlikely source. She becomes acquainted with a local gay reverend, who convinces her to attend a meeting of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It is there that she realizes that she knew Bobby was different from conception, and that God did not heal him because there was nothing wrong with him.

She becomes an advocate for gay rights and eventually gives a speech in a town council meeting in support of a local “gay day”. She urges people to think before they say voice or support homophobia because “a child is listening”. The measure is rejected, but she and her family travel to San Francisco with fellow PFLAG members and march in a gay pride parade, during which she sees another young man just like Bobby observing the parade. She walks over and hugs him, finally coming to terms with her son’s death and vowing to work hard for the rights of gays and lesbians.[2]

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