Dear Jesse (1998)

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In this personal documentary, gay filmmaker Tim Kirkman breaks up with his lover in New York and returns to his home state of North Carolina where he talks to numerous people in an effort to gain an understanding of North Carolina's homophobic senator, Jesse Helms. Kirkman's interviews include the widow of a former Helms associate whose son died of AIDS, and a gay elected official who views Helms as evil. Observing that Helms is "obsessed with homosexual men -- and so am I," Kirkman concludes that many attack Helms in a manner not much different from the way Helms denounces those who are gay. Black-and-white footage used for New York scenes is seen in contrast to colorful North Carolina footage. Shown at the 1997 Boston Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for Dear Jesse

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Kirkman's big accomplishment is that he makes your blood boil even while the heat is turned on low.

Feb 15, 2018 | Full Review…
CNN.com
Top Critic

What [director] Kirkman succeeds in doing is proving that [Jesse] Helms and his bigotry should not personify North Carolina.

Apr 27, 2005

A memorable documentary.

Mar 1, 2009 | Rating: 4/5

A straightforward, nicely diverse likeness of the country and its people that is highly informative and, at times, extraordinarily moving.

Jan 10, 2007 | Full Review…

Thoughtful, personal examination of the dichotomy of North Carolina as a bizarre mix of the tolerant and the intolerant, the progressive and the reactionary.

Dec 28, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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