I Am Michael

DIRECTOR: Justin Kelly

Bay Area Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Justin Kelly, Actor Charlie Carver

In a controversial and very public transformation, co-founder of Young Gay America magazine and gay rights advocate Michael Glatze shocked his followers when he renounced his homosexuality and embraced a heterosexual life. Justin Kelly’s compelling directorial debut presents Glatze’s journey in an admirably measured and non-judgmental fashion. In the beginning, Michael (James Franco) is a joyful, committed queer activist, living with his boyfriend Bennett (Zachary Quinto) in the Castro where they both write for XY Magazine. A job offer for Bennett soon takes them to Halifax, Canada, where the two settle into a seemingly fulfilling life with their new lover Tyler (Charlie Carver), and Michael launches YGA, becoming a leading voice on issues of young gay experience. When a health scare leads Michael to reflect on a past he has never fully confronted, he searches for deeper meaning in and beyond life. Flirting with meditation and Buddhism, Michael ultimately seeks his answers in the Bible and, eventually, heterosexuality on the road to his truth.

It would be easy to condemn a person like Michael Glatze, in response to his own condemnation of homosexuality, but I Am Michael chooses a more complicated route. Director Kelly, a protégé of executive producer Gus Van Sant (Milk), boldly confronts the complexity of identity within a society that demands that self-definition fit in a tidy box, whatever that box may be, and Franco plays Glatze as a sincere and committed man, albeit one who can be self-serving and hurtful when pursuing his particular devotions. With a beguiling supporting cast and a memorable score composed in part by Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), this incredible true story of one man’s identity transformation is sure to provoke discussion and even, perhaps, some measure of compassion.

— Rod Armstrong

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F117

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