A TV movie starring Sigourney Weaver, Prayers for Bobby is the movie that pushed me into rethinking my own religious beliefs, which had kept me mentally trapped in the closet for so many years. This is a true story about a woman named Mary Griffith, whose fanatical religious bigotry towards homosexuals drove her gay son to commit suicide. Her grief over his death – and her own responsibility for it – led Mrs. Griffith to re-explore her beliefs and what they did to young gays struggling to come to terms with who they are. Mary Griffith eventually became involved in PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), actively campaigning for gay rights.
At first I really want to hate Mary Griffith for the way she acted towards Bobby, even though I had sympathized with her beliefs for years. She was bitter, angry and even downright nasty towards her son, making no attempt to actually listen to him or understand. She was also pretty rude towards one of Bobby’s presumably gay friends after the funeral. But her overwhelming grief and realization of what she had done transformed and redeemed her in the end. There is a brief, touching scene towards the end when she is marching in a Gay Pride parade and sees the young man from the funeral sitting on the side, watching the parade. She walked over to him and embraced him, obviously looking for – and getting – forgiveness from him for the way she had acted.
Weaver is always a talented actress, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the film, considering that it was a TV movie (on the Lifetime channel, if I’m not mistaken.)
My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars.