And they're from Hallmark and Lifetime!
Lifetime's "Prayers for Bobby" -- on Saturday night at 9 -- takes on a tough topic: homosexuality and faith.
It tells the true story of Mary Griffith, played by Sigourney Weaver, a devout Christian who wants her family to end up in heaven together. She and her husband have a lovely, close-knit brood, two sons and two daughters. Their oldest son is a handsome football player; their youngest Bobby is a slight, sensitive beloved boy. And he is fighting mightily to repress his feelings toward other males.
He's terrified that his family will reject him if they learn the truth, particularly his mother. And when he finally comes out, he's wracked with guilt and shame. His mother decides to "cure" him, with psychiatry and prayer.
Bobby can't be cured, and so his mother pretty much disowns him. He eventually sinks into a deep depression and kills himself. That sends Mary on journey that includes questioning her faith.
Don't dismiss this film if you have a conservative religious perspective. I don't think you'll feel betrayed. Weaver never portrays Griffith as some intolerant Jesus freak; she's a mother who loves her son and her family dearly, and was raised in a tradition that has given her strength and comfort. She's sure that her faith is true and right. You really get the sense that even as her actions are painful to Bobby, she is just trying to be loving in the way she knows how.
But this trial is the first time her faith has been challenged and it overwhelms her. I think the ultimate message of the film isn't about how you should feel about gays or homosexuality. I think what it's saying is, whatever you believe, you should err on the side of love.
If you watched "Six Feet Under" you're famiiar with Lauren Ambrose's red-hair, awkward, bugged-eye charm. That's what kept me watching "Loving Leah." It comes on CBS/WRAL at 9pm.
In the movie, she plays a reserved Orthodox Jewish wife with a spunky core who lives in Brooklyn. Her young husband dies and under her faith's law, the ancient tradition is that she marry his brother. Thing is, his brother is a Reform (more liberal) Jew, a handsome doctor with a girlfriend. And Ambrose's character just wants to go to college. So they decide to wait out a required three-month period and get a divorce.
But the brother (Adam Kaufman) can't go through with the divorce (it involves disavowing his brother's existence). So they decide to fake a marriage and live as roommates in Georgetown.
The picture (above) pretty much makes it clear how this all ends up. It's a very quiet story, not much fireworks or tension. I don't even think it's all that mushy. But how many TV movies explore the world of Orthodox Judaism?