“HATE CRIME”— A Journey of Emotions



A Journey of Emotions

Amos Lassen

 “Hate Crime”  is a powerfully emotional film that looks at what happens after a murder in the LGBTQ community and how that murder affects the families of the victim and the murderer.

Raymond (Jordan Salloum) is sentenced to death for the murder of a young gay man, Kevin (Chasen Schneider) and both of their families have to deal with the loss of a son and how this tragedy occurred and who is ultimately to blame. The murder, we see, was motivated by homophobia and committed by Kevin’s closeted lover, who awaits execution. The word devastating is a bit too weak to use here to describe the aftermath of the crime.

I see the film as really being about parents and their love for their children and that parents want their children to be loved and they are able to return that love. As we edge closer to the time for Raymond’s execution, we see that the two families are trying to find a way to deal with how this terrible crime might have happened and who is really to blame. Like the parents, we soon find ourselves trying to understand how this horrendous crime happened and the price that is now being exacted. We find ourselves on quite an emotional journey as we watch four fine performances jolt our thoughts and pull us in.

John Schneider is the bereaved father John Demarco, who has lost his son and he and his wife, Marie (Laura Cayouette), have been accepting and supportive of their gay son; the other set of parents in the movie, Tom (Kevin Bernhardt) and Ginny Brown (Amy Redford) have had quite a different but one that we can hope is evolving— they struggle with the knowledge that they bear some responsibility for their son’s committing the murder because he feared being outed.

Here is a story that shows us that preconceptions can lead to powerful hate and that every thought we have must be considered in terms of our communities and our lives. Hating someone or a lifestyle can bring about tremendous loss for everyone involved. Steven Esteb directed and I am proud to say that he and I share New Orleans in common. He is a professor at Loyola University there and I was born, raised and education in New Orleans. I found it so totally incomprehensible that people still feel such hatred for members of the LGBTQ community yet I know that this hatred still exists I suppose that my living in Boston where we do not find this has caused me to forget that everyone is not so fortunate and that there will always be haters.

There is so much here that I would like to share but I do not want to ruin anyone’s viewing experience. This is such an important film and I urge everyone to see it. It will keep you thinking and to me that is a sign of a good film.

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