DVD Review - The Green

Jason Butler Harner (left) &
Cheyenne Jackson in "The Green"
Jason Butler Harner stars as Michael Gavin, a high school drama teacher in Connecticut. He's gay and his life takes a turn for the worst when he's accused of molesting one of his students. Whether it's Paul Marcarelli's screenplay or it's Steven Williford's direction, I can't gather what the filmmakers here were gathering or what the message is ultimately supposed to be.

I suppose that there doesn't have to be one single message. A lot can be taken from here. The first of which could be the very topical message against bullying. The movie opens with Michael noticing that his prized pupil is being bullied. The actor playing that pupil is Chris Bert and I'd like to think that anti-bullying could be the takeaway but Bert's character disappears a few minutes into the movie never to be seen until the very end.

The audience is barely given any time to relate or identity with Bert's character. Therefore, any link or connection to what he's experiencing gets lost in the shuffle. Perhaps then, the message of this movie is homophobia. Clearly, this can be assumed from the premise, as immediately Michael's community and neighbors think the worst of him over a baseless accusation.

The only hint of homophobia, however, is when Michael brings it up in an argument he has with his best friend, Trish, played by Illeana Douglas. Williford doesn't really indicate much of anywhere else. To get the homophobia, the audience has to infer most of it, which may have been the filmmaker's intent.

The jump is an easy one to make because Michael's pupil is a boy. Yet, the way the film is played, the pupil could have easily been a girl and the context wouldn't have changed much. It just doesn't have the focus or weight of something like Doubt (2008) or even Say Uncle (2005), which was extremely more comedic.

The last and only solid message that could be taken from this movie is that of trust in relationships. At the beginning, Michael's boyfriend, Daniel, played by Cheyenne Jackson, asks basically why they're not married. After prodding him a bit, Daniel gets Michael to reveal some uneasiness or perhaps slight fear of commitment. During his fight with Trish, more about Michael is brought to the surface indicating trust issues.

It's also not just trust in other people but trust in himself. His fight with Trish and his prodding by Daniel all reveal that Michael doesn't have a lot of trust in himself. It's essentially a kind of insecurity. There's a line of logic that can be drawn for this. It would just be a matter of connecting a few dots.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Recommended for 14 and Up.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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