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Gods and Gays: Bridging the Gap

Film Three Stars

Gods and Gays: Bridging the Gap is a title that tells you straight away what the film is about - a documentary about people who are both Gay and Christian and how they and those around them deal with the obvious dichotomy between those two labels.

I have to say that I learnt a few things watching this film, as well as feeling a range of emotions from a bit of anger and frustration to feeling huge sympathy for some of the people who were brave enough to talk about their lives. It's particularly interesting for me to have watched this as I am not religious at all, so many of the issues raised here feel foreign and strike a strong chord of disbelief with me.

The copy of the film I saw is, I believe, not the final cut of the movie, so it is worth noting that some of the issues that are pointed out in the review may well be addressed in a final version of the film.

The documentary takes the form of a number of interviews which are cut through each other and linked by common themes. These themed sections are introduced in quite an unusual style. The two filmmakers take a stroll along the beach discussing the themes raised, and short clips of these are used to segway between sections. It actually provides a good narrative link to the change in subject through the interviews and gives a balance to the seated interviewer-interviewee style.

Starting out in the film you can be forgiven for feeling slightly lost as to who each of the interviewees are and their relationship to the topic, it's slowly through these interview clips that you start to understand what each of their stories is and how they are linked to the documentary. For most of the people interviewed in the this isn't really an issue, as if you stay with it you start to find out about each of them. It's through hearing their story that you begin to connect to them on a personal level and by the end of the film you have a feeling of knowing them.

However there is one interviewee whose story suffers from this style. It seems, although is not entirely clear even by the end of the film, that she was a staunch Christian and her daughter revealed to her she was gay which she wouldn't accept. I won't go into the exact details for the final version may well provide a stronger revelation, yet in this cut it just didn't work too well. What you would want is for the story to slowly reveal itself through the various interview clips, and for the viewer to follow the journey with the interviewee until they make the final connection and have to decide between judgement or understanding.

For me this interview just didn't receive the attention it deserved to bring out the truly powerful and emotive message held within it. This story holds within it a powerful example for those who are strong Christian believers that refuse to accept that people who are gay can also be deserving of their God's love.

Most of the people interviewed in this film provide strong stories, you get a good understanding of these people, who they are, and how much pain they've suffered at the hands of so called Christians. It doesn't overly preach to the viewer, but what it does do is offer solutions and alternatives throughout. It's a clear, honest, adult and well presented view of how gay people should be accepted in the Church, and indeed accepted by everyone.

It also does a good job of showing some of the misinterpretations made in the Bible, providing an interesting discussion on what it does and does not say regarding the view of gay people by God. One of the most interesting things I learnt was that the word Homosexual was not added to the Bible until 1946!

What I felt it was missing though was a balanced viewpoint. All the interviewees were either gay Christians or Christians who have accepted gay people, and it would have been interesting to hear from some of these staunch Christians who are so against the inclusion of gays within their religion and why they believe this so strongly.

It also felt over long, but again this could well be addressed in a final version. Overall though it is a powerful message delivered well. Some editing and rework could make it even stronger and make for an extremely hard hitting documentary.


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