Not many gay films have black actors in leading roles and to finally have a good film that does is almost reason to rejoice. “Parallel Sons; is the story of Seth, a youth with artistic leanings and a fascination with Black pop culture, living in a village in the Adirondack Mountains. He has a friend, Kristin with whom he alternates sensitivity and brutality. One night late as he is closing the café where he works, a young Black tries to rob him at gun point but faints from some kind of illness. Seth takes the man whose name is Knowledge and is a prison escapee, to a family cabin where he takes care of him. An intensive friendship develops between the two. When the sheriff discovers that Seth is harboring a criminal there is a confrontation.
The plot is like an old-fashioned fairy tale but unlike a fairy tale, there is an authenticity to the characters and to the town. There is an overriding feeling of depression, despair and alienation. It is an old-fashioned story with a modern sensibility and the gay biracial twist to the story plays only a secondary role to the feelings and emotions portrayed.
The parallels in the two men’s lives are based on several fundamental issues—growing up gay in a hostile society, racism, firearms, adolescent independence. When the appearance of a Black criminal shatters the town’s calm appearance, things begin to happen. The criminal had escaped from the state mental hospital and he gives Seth an outlet for his deepest yearnings. Knowledge’s escape brings the two together in both a cultural and sexual bonding.
When the movie ended I heard nothing but silence because the movie struck so hard. The movie is a year ahead of its time as it deals with important issues in a very natural way. The film is full of ideas for thought. Gabriel Mann as Seth gives an amazing performance and Laurence Mason as Knowledge is powerful. It is the acting that allows the film to be so understated. The supporting cast is also excellent as the film moves toward an ending that devastates.
The themes of the film are handled with great subtlety. The primary message seems to be that the consequences of homophobia are tremendous harm and the meaning in the film is not lost on the viewer.