“The Sunday Sessions”
A Look at Conversion Therapy
There has been a lot said lately about conversion therapy and the movies have always been a reflection of what is going on in society. We have already had one big budget film from major studio on the subject and here comes a film that is much smaller but every bit as effective.
In the documentary, “The Sunday Sessions”, a religious young man s identity is called into question when he visits a conversion therapist. For those of you who do not know, conversion therapy is the controversial process that aims to convert an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Although it has been discredited by all major medical, psychological, and professional counseling organizations, some therapists still offer conversion therapy for reasons almost exclusively rooted in a conservative religious belief system.
Nathan is struggling to reconcile his religious conviction and sexual identity. The filmmakers were given total access as Nathan willingly attends clandestine therapy sessions, family sessions, and weekend camps with a therapist. The documentary chronicles two years of his journey from acceptance to skepticism, all leading to a profound epiphany.
This is an intimate portrait of one man’s struggle and it shows how far we have to go as a society to create a place where people don’t have to choose between authenticity and faith. “Director Richard Yeagley offers the viewer an intensely harrowing inside look at one of the cruelest forms of homophobia. Yeagley has captured something that has rarely been documented and it is intimate and revealing, a behind the scenes expose of “the flawed and discredited practice of what has become known as conversion therapy.”
Audiences need to be aware, during viewing, that conversion therapy is centered around religion conviction that homosexuality is a mental illness or the devils work with the assumption participants can be converted back to “straight”. Richard Yeagley does not include his personal opinions and lets the audience decide for themselves.
This is hard to watch because of its subject matter. The point of a documentary is to show real life and it powerfully does so. While the ending is somewhat unsatisfying, it shows the reality of life.