Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine (2015)
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Critic Reviews for Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine
The main thing writer-director Michele Jouse wanted to do was to give a voice to those who are still mourning Shepard and allow them to share their stories. Through them, we get to know the person behind the tragedy.
This is a film that attempts to portray Shepard as an ordinary young man who happened to become a lightning-rod figure. But most of all, it gives its characters - and its audience - a chance to reflect.
If the director wanted to rehumanize Shepard, she has succeeded. Her other goal, though worthwhile, was not so easy to accomplish: to make sense of a horrific event and move on.
Josue's film is not consistently effective in bridging her personal story with Shepard's well-known legacy, but there are striking moments that explore the limits of forgiveness.
Filmmaker Michele Josue, who knew Matthew, does a fine job of reconstructing the crime and the reaction it provoked across the U.S. and beyond.
Audience Reviews for Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine
A beautiful, personal project that reclaims Matt Shepard as an ordinary - and extraordinary - human being and friend. Painful illuminating and precious.
Matthew Shepard represents many things to many different people. For some he stands as a symbol of why people need to fight for equality, for others he opened their eyes to the horror and abuses that people go through every day simply for being different. What's easy to forget however, is that first and foremost, Matthew Shepard was a human being. Shepard was a friendly, kind, outgoing, young man from a small town and there in lied the problem. In a town of a few thousand, Shepard stood out and everyone knew who he was and what he was. One night, a couple of drunk rednecks decided to mess with him, it went too far, and they killed him. This film, isn't about that though, it isn't one of the many films about the symbol that Shepard became or the fight for equal rights his story ignited. This is a film, by a long time friend of Matt's, who simply wanted the world to know about her friend. Michele Josue interviews Matt's brokenhearted family and friends about his life, from childhood up until his untimely death, and weather your gay or not, weather you respect gay rights or not, you can't help but feel for these people who lost such a bright, loving, artistic person, who made everyone around him just that much better for knowing him. It's a terrific documentary and I was very happy that for once, a documentary focused on the life of the man instead of the tragic way that he was killed.
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