Valentine Road

Riveting Road

VALENTINE ROAD (Marta Cunningham). 89 minutes. Screens Saturday (May 25), 5 pm, TIFF 2.

INSIDE OUT: TORONTO LGBT FILM FESTIVAL at TIFF Bell Lightbox from today (Thursday, May 23) to June 2. $6-$13, galas $17-$30. See Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NNNN

When California middle school student Larry King, who liked to wear skirts and high heels to class, asked Brandon McInerney to be his valentine, McInerney shot King dead in the computer lab in front of his classmates.

Marta Cunningham’s Valentine Road is an exceptionally well-made study of the legal case, the supporters of King and McInerney and the troubled pasts of both.

What makes it so good is that it lets its subjects do the talking. King’s friends, many of them budding queers, have a huge stake in the trial. A group of activists come to the killer’s aid because they don’t want him charged as an adult. One of King’s teachers, who was fired for giving him a dress, admits she may have crossed some boundaries. The jurors are profoundly homophobic.

And the arguments for the defence? Mind-blowing.

Great, disturbing filmmaking.

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