LGBTQ Youth and Their Wellbeing
Jack is an impulsive 18-year-old hustler with few redeeming qualities. Even with this, he and his boyfriend Tom are together, in love, and work hard to make ends meet in New York. When Jack meets Matt, a closeted married man, they set off for the excitement of Miami nightlife and learn that it can become quite scary and dire.
Keep in mind that Jack is just 18 and is still a youth. “Hooked” deals with a very serious issue that the media ends to overlook, or at best, downplay. By this I mean the welfare of LGBTQ youth, and the stigma surrounding their wellbeing causing them eight times more likely to become more homeless than heterosexual youth. Many have been pressured in to degrading lifestyles in order to make money and survive. They face sexual abuse as well as homelessness and, by and large, vulnerable.
Director Max Emerson raised money in order to make this film. His inspiration came from stories that were sent to him by fans after his debut novel, “Hot Sissy” which was about his own coming out experience. He wants to use this film to show how those who have no acceptance and nowhere to go are treated. Granted, the subject matter sounds depressing but there are some humorous moments here in the vein of black humor. Yet even the comic moments turn out to be cries or help.
Jack (Connor Donnally) is the kind of character that manages to alienate everybody who comes in to his world except his boyfriend, boyfriend Tom (Sean Ormond). Tom is compassionate and the two are total are opposites, personality-wise. Together they have great chemistry on screen making us want them to succeed. You only know that this is an issue movie because you are told that—we are not told that the subject matter is serious or important. We know that this is just one of many stories like it yet we do not become depressed watching it. Tom and Jack are very much in love but Jack is “impulsive and emotionally explosive.” Matt takes Jack to Miami hoping to help him before it’s too late.
What we really see is that LGBTQ kids need a place where they can be safe and meet those who can help them with what they have to deal with.
Writer/Director/Producer Emerson has taken on a difficult task and has made an excellent film that should make us all think and hopefully take action.