10 More Emotionally Charged Journeys
Joe Bell tells the story of a grieving father who walks across America to share the story of his teenage son Jadin, who tragically took his own life after he was bullied for being gay. It’s a heartbreaking tale and one that will surely resonate with many. If you can relate to any of the themes referred to in the film, you might also be interested in some of the following.
If you’ve finished streaming this one and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top 10 picks.
Of course for all the movies we’ve reviewed, we’ve also added a handy link so you can check out our full thoughts on that and see if it’s something you want to invest your time with.
So without further ado, we present 10 movies to check out when you’ve finished watching Joe Bell.
Prayers For Bobby (2009)
This 2009 TV movie tells the true story of Bobby Griffith, a gay teen who committed suicide in 1983 because of his religious mother’s homophobia. Ryan Kelley stars as Bobby and Sigourney Weaver plays Mary, his mum, and while it’s undeniably a tragic tale, it’s also one that offers hope.
After coming to terms with her son’s death, Mary became a gay rights crusader and she battled hard to convince others to reconsider their stance on homosexuality. This very moving film received positive reviews and earned two Emmy nominations. It demands to be seen, especially by religious parents who are struggling to come to terms with the sexuality of their children.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Gay conversion therapy is a subject that has been in the media a lot recently and while there is hope that this terrible practice will be stopped, there are still homophobic parents around the world that send their gay children away to therapy camps in the hopes they will be healed of their sexuality.
Such is the case in this film as it explores the story of a teenage girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) who is sent away to a treatment centre by her concerned mother. Unsurprisingly, conversion therapy proves to be ineffective for her and some of the other young people that she spends time with.
Boy Erased (2018)
Lucas Hedges stars as the son of a Baptist preacher (Russell Crowe) who is sent away to a church-supported gay conversion program by his parents. Mercifully, his mother (Nicole Kidman) starts to soften during the course of the film and becomes more supportive of her son.
But this is still a film that explores the bigoted views of others and the assumption that ‘being gay can be prayed away.’ As with the previous film on this list, this is a powerful and emotional drama and is one that should be required viewing for any church with backward views on homosexuality.
Love, Simon (2018)
The majority of the films on this list are tearjerkers but Love, Simon is a much lighter affair. This isn’t to say it doesn’t deal with the consequences of ‘coming out’ at high school but as it places a focus on teenage love rather than the horrors of bullying, it showcases another side of what it means to grow up as gay.
A warm and funny film that spawned a spin-off TV series, Love, Victor, that is also worth watching.
A Fantastic Woman (2017)
A Fantastic Woman is a moving but traumatic film about Marina, a young transgender woman living in Santiago, Chile. She may not be a teenager but she is still subjected to abuse by those who target her out for her sexuality, including the family of her deceased boyfriend.
A Fantastic Woman is, appropriately, a fantastic film and it won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. It’s not an easy watch but as it sheds light on the abuses faced by those in the transgender community, it is still required viewing.
Another film about the trans experience, but this time it focuses on Joe, a 10-year old trans boy whose mother refuses to let him live his authentic self.
The film details the journey he and his more accepting father take when they run away into the Montana wilderness while being pursued by the State police. The film ends in tragedy so you will need a box of tissues ready. But it’s still worth a watch, not least for the performance of real-life trans kid Sasha Knight who plays Joe.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
The real-life story of Brandon Teena, an American trans man who was beaten, raped, and murdered by a group of male acquaintances. This is yet another depiction of homophobia and the terrible acts that are committed by those with nothing but hate on their minds.
Once seen, you’ll never forget this heartbreaking film. But hopefully, the anger you feel at the injustices committed against Brandon will give you cause to be more accepting of the people around you. Hilary Swank deservedly won an Oscar for her performance as Brandon.
Not only was this the first LBGTQ film to win the Best Picture Oscar, but it was also the first to star an all-black cast. It explores the experience of one African-American man as he grapples with his sexual identity from childhood to young adulthood, in a crime-ridden neighbourhood where bullying and emotional neglect are a given.
While the film plays with themes that run throughout this list, it is still unique due to the background of the lead character and the backdrop that surrounds him.
This award-winning documentary chronicles the lives of five American students whose lives are affected by bullying from peers at their schools. These are real-life stories of teenagers who fail to receive the help they need and how, in some cases, even their teachers became the perpetrators of bullying.
It’s a hard-hitting documentary that brings to light a very real issue that is happening in schools everywhere. Sadly, two of the students featured in this film killed themselves as a consequence of the bullying they received.
Ordinary People (1980)
This Oscar-winning film details the lives of the Jarrett family as they try to come to terms with the accidental death of one of their sons, and the attempted suicide of another. Unlike some of the other movies on this list, Ordinary People isn’t about bullying or homophobia, but it still details the lack of communication that can exist within families, which is a common theme throughout some of the other films we have featured here.
As with Joe Bell, it’s also a film that chronicles the love a father and son can have for one another, despite the stresses they go through as they try to get to know one another better.
So there we have it, our 10 Movie picks to keep you busy after watching Joe Bell on Amazon Prime.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!