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Published on July 20th, 2021 | by Neil Jordan

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Joe Bell Is A Movie That Needs To Be Seen

Greetings & Salutations Everyone,

Redemption. The standard dictionary defines the term as “the action saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil”. Personally? I have never found it to be that cut and dry trying to make up for mistakes and misdeeds. It best sums up the theme of the film I have the privilege of sharing with you today.

‘Joe Bell’ is a dramatic biographical film and is the story of a father’s loss and attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of his eldest son and his family. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), produced by Cary Joji Fukunaga (No Time To Die – Director) and Jake Gyllenhall (Donnie Darko, Spider-Man:Far From Home, Jarhead, End of Watch, Brokeback Mountain, The Day After Tomorrow – Actor), and written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurty.

Mark Wahlberg stars in the title role as Joe. A blue-collar married father of two who is aware of but still getting used to the idea that his 15-year-old eldest son Jadin (Reid Miller) is gay. At times being almost content with the fact while at other times unable to comprehend the situation, Joe is angry and visibly upset that his son is the focus of bullying and even incidents that would more than qualify as hate crimes. These incidents when paired with a sometimes trying home life begin to take their toll on young Jadin. Through the course of the film, we see a father fighting through his ‘old beliefs’ and attempting to be more supportive while Jadin is fighting against bigotry, fighting to find acceptance, and searching for someone to confide in. When tragedy strikes Joe decides he has to do something in an attempt to push back against the hatred and decides to set out on a journey. To walk across America from the family’s hometown of La Grande, Oregon all the way to New York City where Joe’s son Jadin planned to go to once he graduated from high school. Along the way, he plans to speak at schools, town halls, any place with an audience against bullying and hatred. After a series of setbacks that nearly prompt him to quit, Joe experiences a series of revelations about his son, his family, and himself. Both bound and determined, he marches on committed to completing the journey until one final tragedy strikes.

When you finish viewing this film, I would encourage you to go find out more about the real-life Joe Bell and his son Jadin. This film captures the struggle the individuals and their families continue to deal with in towns and states across the country and the world. Individuals (both young and old) continue to be singled out because they are different in their own communities and sometimes even their own homes. The effects it has, particularly on the young, not only jeopardize their safety but their very lives. And when they do find support with their families or their community, their families and home communities are singled out as well. This film gives us only a brief glimpse at the struggles and the pain victims of bullying and hatred must endure and deal with. No individual should have to endure this based on who they are.

All that being said, I’m going to give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It NEEDS to be seen. Not just because it’s a well-made film but because it’s an example of something going on that needs to continue to be addressed. People are out there. Many people. People like Jadin and their families. Their stories need to be told.


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