I Am Michael is a 2015 American biographical drama film written and directed by Justin Kelly. His main outlet for his natural-born leadership skills is as the managing editor of XY Magazine, a gay periodical based in San Francisco. "Not everyone wants to be part of the subculture," insists Michael Glatze (James Franco), in writer-director Justin Kelly's feature debut "I Am Michael. [3] On July 14, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, and Chris Zylka joined the cast of the film. Michael becomes a bit more ponderous after this meeting, taking some time alone to consider his place in the universe and whether he’ll ever see his mother—“his best friend”—again following her death years earlier.

This is notable to mention as he is an alumnus of East Rockaway High School under his birth name. He’s in a loving relationship with his architect boyfriend Bennett (Zachary Quinto), whom he follows to Halifax when Bennett lands a new job.

not rendering the two mutually exclusive) is not really explored further is one of the film’s regrettable oversights. The drama, directed by Justin Kelly, stars James Franco and Zachary Quinto.

This man who had so much to give, and indeed encouraged a number of young gays with his compassionate and reassuring writings in XY, becomes so consumed by his own doubt that he’s no longer helping people, he’s hurting them. During their trip, they come across a young student at a predominantly conservative university (he describes it as “Falwell territory”), who identifies as a gay Christian, saying “What God would punish you for finding love?”. That the prospect of being both gay and Christian (ie. James Franco makes/is in … Based on the journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis' New York Times Magazine article "My Ex-Gay Friend", the film stars James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, and Charlie Carver. Their position is somewhat understandable if not exactly compassionate, but their strong refusal to take Michael’s interest seriously pushes him further away. Glatze watched the film after it premiered at Sundance at told vlogger Jake Reynolds that the film was helping him heal. Filming ran in New York City from August 11 to August 30, 2014. The two wed in in October 2013. But this festival film is not your average drama — it's based on the life of gay rights activist turned Christian pastor Michael Glatze.Â, Before watching the movie, check out some facts about the true story.Â. [13] It received its California premiere during the 17th FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival. This somewhat vexes Michael, who with the rest of his gay community friends has seen Christians as the enemy due to their hateful rhetoric and the consequences of said rhetoric, like the murder of Matthew Shepard. [1] Filming ran in New York City from August 11 to August 30, 2014. There are only so many times we can see the cycle of Michael staying steadfast, feeling doubt, then becoming strong in faith again, and at the end of the day it’s still a bit unclear what he truly believes. ), Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Developing Hitchcock-Inspired Dark Comedy ‘Strangers’ for Netflix, 'Batman: Death in the Family' Review: The Interactive Film Is WB Animation's Most Ambitious in Years, Ava DuVernay Will Direct the Netflix Adaptation of NYT Bestseller 'Caste'. "("I Am Michael" played at Sundance two years ago. [12] The production wrapped on August 31, 2014 in Baldwin, New York. But while his personal blog evokes confidence and determination in his new stance, his actions are less convincing and speak to an air of uncertainty that swells in his mind. [14] The film was the opening night film of the Frameline Film Festival on June 18, 2015 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 35 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. As Michael turns to outside sources for some insight on reconciling his sexuality with the faith of Christianity, the rhetoric of talk radio and religion-themed books influences his stance and leads him to the conclusion that there is no combining the two—homosexuality is a sin, and he must repent in order to become a Christian. I’m not really sure he even knows, but the film ends at more of a stopping point than a conclusion. I Am Michael is based on Deniset-Lewis' article. [16], The film drew mostly mixed to positive reviews.
James Franco makes/is in a lot of movies. And while Carver’s Tyler is a relatively minor character, he also gets a crucial scene in which he really shines. When a health scare rocks Michael to his core, he fixates on the question of what happens after death, and seeks solace in the Bible. According to Gay City News, Young Gay America wasn't just a magazine, but an organization aimed to “save lives by educating and informing queer youth about their importance to society.” Glatze was making a difference in the world.

[21], List of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender-related films of 2015, "James Franco to play gay activist in Gus Van Sant movie", "Justin Kelly Teams With James Franco & Gus Van Sant For 'Michael, "Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts Join James Franco's 'Michael, "Avan Jogia Joins James Franco In 'Michael, "Lesley Ann Warren Joins James Franco, Zachary Quinto in Gay Drama 'Michael, "Daryl Hannah Joins James Franco in Gay-Themed Drama 'Michael, "First Look: James Franco Goes Christian in Gus Van Sant's 'Michael, "James Franco shares new pic of blonde hairdo for gay man-turned-pastor film, 'Michael, "James Franco Reveals Look as Gay Man Turned Christian Pastor During Filming of New 'Michael' Movie", "James Franco begins filming 'Michael' in New York", "Panorama 2015: Probing the Past to Shape the Future", "Frameline website entry (April 3, 2015)", "Brainstorm Media Acquires Sundance Pic 'I Am Michael', Sets January Theatrical Release Date", "Sundance Review: James Franco Excels in 'I Am Michael,' a Provocative Look at 'Ex-Gay' Activist Michael Glatze", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=I_Am_Michael&oldid=980899072, Films based on newspaper and magazine articles, LGBT-related films based on actual events, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 September 2020, at 03:57. [18], Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "An unusually nuanced James Franco carries this complex portrait of a man who came out and fought to encourage other LGBT youth before converting to conservative Christianity," but concluded that the film was too dry and kept the title character too distant and veiled in its attempt to be impartial. While Michael and Bennett’s relationship is somewhat strained by the move, they both eventually bring young college student Tyler (Charlie Carver) into their relationship, and the three set out to make a documentary about queer youth in America. [4], Director Justin Kelly said that "this isn't just a story about an 'ex-gay', it's actually a very relatable story about the power of belief and the desire to belong". Keanu Reeves Returns to the Wild World of Assassins in New 'John…, 'Catfight' Trailer: Anne Heche and Sandra Oh Beat the Hell out of…. It’s a sad story of a man having a crisis of identity, and while Kelly’s film at times feels like it doesn’t quite go deep enough, strong performances and perfectly pitched emotional beats make it one worth telling. ", Glatze moved to Wyoming to study to become a pastor. In the story, Denizet-Lewis rehashed Glatze and Nycum's relationship, and how the two seemingly figured out how to be "young, gay and happy." And while this portrait of Michael is interesting and indeed showcases some strong performances, it still feels somehow incomplete, like there’s a final chapter yet to be told. [6] On August 18, Lesley Ann Warren joined the film's cast to play Franco's character's mother. Kelly’s reluctance to paint Christians as caricatures is one of the film’s strengths. The film was released at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and also screened in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. He started off as the managing editor of XY magazine in San Francisco before teaming up with his boyfriend, Benjie Nycum, to launch the publication Young Gay America in 2004. Essentially what drives Michael is fear. "[20] Indiewire's Eric Kohn gave the film a B+ grade. Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Gets A Jaw-Dropping New Trailer, Plus Additional Voice Cast Announced, ‘Dexter’ Returning to Showtime for 10-Episode Limited Series, ‘Batman: Death in the Family’ Review: The Interactive Film Is WB Animation’s Most Ambitious in…, ‘The Boys’ Showrunner Eric Kripke Tweets Season 3 Teaser Image, Confirms They Are Back in…. [10][11] On August 20, Franco was spotted during filming on Ocean Avenue in East Rockaway. Franco plays Michael Glatze, a gay activist who renounces homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor. Click the button below and wait for a message from our Facebook bot in Messenger! The beginning of I Am Michael is a bit shaky, as Kelly paints the film more as a biopic than a personal drama. I Am Michael is finally hitting theaters two years after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
There comes a key scene towards the end of the film, however, where he absolutely nails his character’s complicated relationship with the now-heterosexual Michael in a way that’s somewhat unexpected. At its core, I Am Michael is a sad story. The film tries to cover too much ground in order to set up the foundation of what’s to come, but once it settles into considering Michael’s thought process, it digs deep into the characters and their inner struggles. [15] Brainstorm Media acquired distribution rights to the film, and set the film for a limited release and through video on demand on January 27, 2017. Based on the journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis' New York Times Magazine article "My Ex-Gay Friend",[2] the film stars James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, and Charlie Carver. He began dating Rebekah Fuller in 2011, shortly after the New York Times article came out. Emma Roberts is solid as a fellow Bible school classmate with whom Michael tries to strike a heterosexual relationship, and she smartly handles the character not as a parody but as a real human being. I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic action thriller film loosely based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson.Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film stars Will Smith as US Army virologist Robert Neville.. "God creates us heterosexual," Glatze told Deniset-Lewis. Our editorial content is not influenced by any commissions we receive. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on January 27, 2017, by Brainstorm Media. While Michael has always prided himself on his desire to help others, he becomes fixated only on himself and how he can rectify this issue. Based on a true story, the film depicts gay activist Michael Glatze, who rejects homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor. "[17] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average". The website's critical consensus reads, " I Am Michael takes a determinedly balanced approach to its complex subject, and although the results don't always add up, they're anchored by strong work from James Franco. Eventually he decides to renounce his sexuality altogether and go off to Bible school in order to become a pastor. He also explained how passionate Glatze had been about helping gay youths prior to becoming born again. He wrote in a post for World Net Daily that his first month of marriage was the "greatest" of his life.Â. Franco is excellent as the titular Michael, bringing a nuanced portrait of the character to life—we can see the fight going on inside Michael’s head through his veneer of confidence, and Franco plays this fascinating arc beautifully. The guy’s artistic hunger is constantly racing from one project to the next, but co-writer/director James Kelly’s drama I Am Michael (which Franco produced) feels like one that’s close to his heart.