Top positive review
Excellent start at unwinding a very thorny subject!
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2013
I commend the producers and willing participants in this "how-to" guide to healthy gay/lesbian relationships. The emphasis here is on gay men, but the principles of finding and working-out relationships of all kinds, are the same regardless of the coupled gender mix. I really appreciated the emphasis here on the analysis part of gay male relationships. The film spends time analyzing why gay men in relationships often fail. It is partly gender, partly psychosocial. Nonetheless, the primary message that cannot be overemphasized and which the film's therapists and participants repeat is: "KNOW THYSELF." It won't be easy work, but know yourself and be aware of the impact that growing-up being rejected and judged has had on your self-esteem and value as a human being. While there are other layers that affect an individual's development (i.e., political and cultural matters), familial dysfunction is probably the primary influence and the most convoluted and challenging to 'unpack'. Familial dysfunction is the norm in American families (and international families also). The PBS popular family psychologist, John Bradshaw (not in this film) once commented that 98% of American families are dysfunctional and the other 2% are in denial, in other words, you are not alone. In the case of families with gay children, the dysfunction may increase exponentially (or so it seems) and impacts the gay individual in ways that are delayed in terms of their emergence and the ability of the individual to confront the issues. My own belief is that the damage of familial dysfunction never goes away--the pain, with all of the attendant symptoms (e.g., broken relationships, isolation, addiction, etc.) will emerge unless the individual goes through intense therapy either on their own or with the help of a licensed professional. The individual must be aware of this and how it could impact any potentially long-term committed relationship. Given that the familial dysfunction (in my opinion) never goes away, the individual must seek healthy ways to find solace and comfort. A long-term relationship, may be a means of providing that solace and comfort, HOWEVER, both individuals need to be aware of each other's history and know that it is going to be serious work. If the two people involved are not aware of the dysfunction in each other's past, the relationship could be tantamount to a co-dependency, in which the two individuals do NOT provide validation, support, sympathy and love, but only judgment, criticism, blame and discomfort. In this latter instance, the relationship is no better than drug addiction, alcoholism, sociopathic sabotage, eating disorders, etc., etc. None of these provide the healthy solace and comfort dysfunctional individuals need. Younger gay individuals rarely appreciate this important step and find themselves going from partner to partner, thinking they want a relationship of substance, but unaware of the ways to begin the process. This film posits that the process starts with the individual. Know yourself. Get therapy, if you need it, but do not inflict yourself on anyone else till you've fully vetted your familial history and your past and the impact it is having and will have on all your life, including your relationships.