Sigourney Weaver Month #4: Gorillas in the Mist, Prayers for Bobby

Gorillas in the Mist is adaptation of a true story. The story based on the life of Dian Fossey. Fossey, a naturalist, studies social life of Gorillas in Congo and Rwanda. She develops a bond with them. However, this bonding across species is disturbed by human poachers and exploitation of these otherwise friendly animals. Death of one of them breaks down the boundaries of civility in Fossey. She then uses her knowledge to protect these large hairy animals from human cruelty, going to great lengths in the process. Eventually, she loses her life, but not before drawing the attention of the world to the plight of these primates.

Sigourney Weaver played the role of Dian Fossey. Iain Cuthbertson played the role of anthropologist Louis Leakey whose works on gorillas inspired Fossey and who eventually lets her go on an expedition to Congo for studying the mountain gorillas. In Congo, she is helped by John Omirah Miluwi, who plays the role of Sembagare, a native conversant with jungle and its ways. It is Sembagare and Rosamand Carr (played by late Julie Harris) that prevents her from surrendering to the disgust she develops for humans.

It is an inspiring story no doubt and heartening one too. Sigourney Weaver did justice to the role and spared it from becoming something similar to Free Willy. There is a thin line between facts and fiction. It is very easy to cross the boundaries, especially if the object is to earn a fortune. But Michael Apted, the director of the film kept this 1988 film as close to the truth as possible. This is the reason the film can still be watched with same amount of interest almost 30 years after its release.

Prayers for Bobby

This is a film about a mother’s inability to accept her son as gay, which eventually leads to the son’s suicide. Mary Griffith, the devout Christian mother makes no effort to hide her disgust and labels the sexual preference as “perverted”. She does everything possible to change her son, but realizes the boundaries needed in her belief and homophobia only after losing her son. The movie is portrayal of characters in “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son”, which is a book written by Leroy F. Aarons.

Mary Griffith’s role is portrayed by Sigourney Weaver. Ryan Kelley played the role of Bobby, the gay son. Henry Czerny plays the role of Robert Griffith, the father of the boy. The film is directed by Robert Mulcahy.

It is one of those films that forces people to put on their thinking caps. Are we right in imposing our thinking and beliefs on others, however close we are to them? Are we not interfering with loved one’s fundamental rights? Is it alright to use harsh words with our children when they are already facing a conflicting situation and have to fight the world? Is our social life more important than our children’s life? Sigourney Weaver impresses as usual in the role of Mary Griffith. Her tough stand on the subject and unrelenting attitude is extension of her image in Aliens and Gorillas in the Mist. It is, therefore, easy to accept her as a strict parent. However, remorse following the death of her son is also easy to relate to. Weaver was able to portray those regrets equally well. This is the movie you want to show people suffering with homophobia.


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