Jonathan (left) and Darren don’t need a Cure For Love. Photo By © 2008 Cure For Love/ to Sky Pictures Inc./ NFB
CURE FOR LOVE (Francine Pelletier) Rating: NNNN
It'd be easy to ridicule the idea of fundamentalist Christian gays and lesbians trying to become straight, but director Francine Pelletier approaches the subject with sensitivity and care.
Brian (from Toronto) is gay, and Ana (from Portland) is lesbian, but they want to reconcile their sexual orientation with their spiritual beliefs. After chatting on an evangelical movement's website and then meeting, they decide to get married even though, to the casual observer, they have little chemistry together and Ana's body language screams discomfort.
Pelletier opens the film with their wedding and then takes a look at a few of their friends, some of whom have taken different routes to self-fulfillment. Most moving is Jonathan, a clear-eyed, articulate university professor whose guilt over his sexuality caused him to self-mutilate as a teenager and whose life changes radically once he accepts his orientation and finds love.
Pelletier gives equal time to the ex-gay movement and the ex-ex-gay movement; the former group boasts only a 30 per cent success rate. And her crew succeeds in the unenviable task of occasionally having to photograph around people who don't want to be caught on film.
The doc is layered with effective music, including a haunting version of the Leonard Cohen song of the title. It ends with a climactic dinner party scene that, like all great art, shows more than it tells.
Cure For Love concludes the National Film Board's summer-long series of screenings. August 14-19 at the John Spotton Theatre.