Every now and then a film comes around that resonates with you. You are either reminded of who you were, who you are, or what you wish to be. The film takes on a journey of relativity where you live vicariously through the characters projected on the screen. Patrik-Ian Polk’s “Blackbird” is one such film. It tells the story of Randall “Randy Rousseau,” (Julian Walker) a high school senior living in a small Mississippi town. Randy is an aspiring actor with an amazing voice, showcased in his church choir. However, his life is plagued by the disappearance of his younger sister, his distraught mother, absentee father, and his own burgeoning homosexual desires. Try as he may, he cannot suppress his sexuality in his dreams where nightly, and vividly, he dreams about his friend Todd Waterson (Torrey Laamar) waking up in cold sweats and wet dreams. He tries to “pray the gay away,” but finds it futile. Everyone around him seems to know he is gay, but he and his mother (Mo’Nique). His friends and father (Isaiah Washington) encourage him to be himself. His life begins to shift when he and his friends opt to do a gay adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet,” “Romeo & Julian.” His attraction to Todd only increases and so does his disappointment, as he is forced to accept his crush is truly straight. Through his journey Randy learns that God is Love; and who he is and how he is, is perfectly okay.
This film was amazing, one of the best I have ever seen! It is truly Patrik’s best piece of work to date. This is a story that any young gay person can relate to. The fun of experimentation, the drama, the age of self-acceptance, and inner turmoil are all things very real aspects of the coming out process. When couple all of that with a deeply Christian background, you may very well have an explosive chemical reaction. Julian Walker is an excellent actor! This is his debut film and you would never know it. He makes you feel Randy’s innocence and angst. You feel like you know him so well, thank to Julian, that you just want to hug him and let him know it all gets better. Veteran actors Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington produced the film and are unsurprisingly fantastic. However, their respective disapproval and acceptance are surprising and heartwarming all the same. Besides their sons sexuality, their daughter’s six year long disappearance has clearly taken a toll on both their psyches and their family’s dynamic. When you learn of their daughter’s fate I surmise you will be equally as touched. Often co-stars are just that–co-stars–serving as relief or background characters. Not this time. Randy’s friends are equally funny and dynamic as he is. Their subplots drive the film and make for some awesome twists. Gary LeRoi Gray and Nikki Jane are the true comic relief of the film as “Efram” and “Crystal.” Torrey Laamar and D. Woods (“Leslie Crandall”) counterbalance their silliness with a star-crossed Romeo and Juliet of their own.
Blackbird is a must see film! Its critical acclaim and he beauty will touch places you may have forgotten existed. Getting to be who you are is not a privilege it is a divine right granted by The Creator. God is many things, but hate and intolerance are not any of them. The film’s mantra seems to come from The Bible in Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Follow your own path. You can catch “Blackbird” in limited release and On Demand in February 2015.