Joe Bell Movie Review

Joe Bell Movie Review
Projecting intentions onto a movie can be a bit of a fine line to walk, but it seems obvious that Reinaldo Marcus Green's "Joe Bell" had only good intentions in telling its story. The director - who is following up his debut feature "Monsters and Men - is not afraid to tackle important subject matter. However, the entire construction of his latest is off-putting and aggressively manipulative, to the point it becomes difficult to reconcile what its intentions ultimately were.

Firstly, "Joe Bell", starring Mark Wahlberg, is a vehicle designed to remind people that he wants to be taken seriously as an actor and not just seen as a movie star. There's a difference between those labels, and some actors have been able to toggle back-and-forth between the distinctions. But Wahlberg has been much more successful as a movie star, despite delivering some strong performances in more serious projects like "Boogie Nights" or "The Fighter." He was Oscar-nominated for his role in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," but he really hasn't had a moment that defined him as a dramatic leading man. Starring in recent pieces of disposal junk like "Spenser Confidential" and "Infinite" hasn't helped Wahlberg to achieve an image he continues to chase.

"Joe Bell" is based on a true story, with Wahlberg playing the title role of of an Oregon man who traverses the country with his son Jadin (Reid Miller) to speak about tolerance and bullying. Jadin is gay and a proud member of his high school's cheerleading team, but living his truth doesn't come without being the target of nasty high school bullies. The film shows us that when Jadin told his father he was gay, there wasn't much response in terms of either acceptance or outrage. There was a dose of shock and some fatherly concern about how he would be treated, but the combination did not coalesce into palpable support, which clearly broke Jadin's heart. Joe eventually decides to walk from Oregon to New York City, leaving his other children and wife Lola (Connie Britton) back home, to show support to Jadin.

The story that "Joe Bell" is based on made national news, but we'll leave all the details out for those who may not be familiar with Joe and Jadin's story (such as myself). The movie tries to tell two stories at once, cutting back-and-forth between the walk and life back home. The screenplay - written by Diana Ossana and the late Larry McMurtry, the pair who won an Oscar for their "Brokeback Mountain script - never settles in to the two different timelines in any effective manner, which causes the movie to feel all over the place structurally.

"Joe Bell" strategizes it revelations about the story it is telling, and while Green hasn't made a malicious movie, he's made a deeply manipulative one. The movie should be about sharing a message, not trying to surprise your audience, because if it's not presented delicately (which it isn't here), it will take away from the important topic at hand.

Wahlberg is the focus of the movie, when there should be an equity between the father and son. Wahlberg sometimes strains to hit the right notes, but Miller offers some dramatic heft through his performance as a young teen who just wants to be himself. There are some heartbreaking moments within his performance, but the movie is more interested in the redemptive arc of Wahlberg's character. If the message in "Joe Bell" helps anyone, that should be all that matters; but the movie is too sloppy in its delivery to coast by on proper intentions.

Joe Bell Movie Review By Matthew Passantino
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Joe Bell Movie Review Joe Bell Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 01, 2021 Rating: 5


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