Stonewall (2015)

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Stonewall: Directed by Roland Emmerich. With Jeremy Irvine, Jonny Beauchamp, Joey King, Caleb Landry Jones. A young man’s political awakening and coming of age during the days and weeks leading up to the Stonewall Riots.

“I was not previously aware of the negative reviews of this film. And that is a good thing, since they might have deterred me from watching. Having now seen the film, and having done so as A) someone who is old enough to remember firsthand what it was like to be gay in middle America in 1969 (far worse than what is depicted in this film!), B) someone who was disowned and thrown out by his parents at age 17 for being gay, C) a long-time gay activist, and D) a professional historian, all I can say is that the critics need to get past the fact that this is *not* a dispassionate, objective documentary about the Stonewall Riots. Rather, it is a fictionalized evocation of the social, cultural, and political circumstances that eventually triggered the riots. And in that regard, I think the film did an outstanding job. Those born after about 1970 largely have no reason to remember bar raids, police payoffs, anti-cross-dressing laws, or even the overt involvement of organized crime in the operation of many gay bars. And that is in large part thanks to the bravery of the u0026quot;deplorablesu0026quot; (to use a word circulating in this election cycle) who finally said, u0026quot;Enough is enough.u0026quot; From my perspective as an elderly gay man who continues to be utterly dumbfounded (and delighted!) by the social changes that gay militants have achieved over the past half-century, I can only say u0026quot;Thank youu0026quot; to the makers of this film for at least trying to tell the story in a passionate, subjective manner. If you want cold, emotionless history, tune in to the National Geographical Channel. If you want some sense of what it *felt like* in 1969 (and for many years thereafter), see this film. Is the film u0026quot;flawlessu0026quot;? No. But despite a few flaws, it is an excellent film.”

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