First Look: Prayers for Bobby

Coming in January on Lifetime,Prayers for Bobby, starring Sigourney Weaver, is based on the best-selling 1998 book by the same name. It’s the true-story of Mary Griffith, whose son Bobby committed suicide because of her religious intolerance. The consequences of denying the basic humanity of her son’s love set Mary on a path to understanding and she ultimately became a gay rights activist. You may want to grab a hankie before pushing play. Video after the jump.

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  • Aaron

    Are we supposed to feel bad for Mary Griffith? Because for some reason I just feel disgust for her.

    Loving and supporting your gay son after he’s dead doesn’t count.

  • Jade T

    Why is this being released on Lifetime ? It deserves a theatrical release. What’s up with TV movies getting the interesting storylines while, we, the public, are stuck with “27 Dresses” and “Sex and the City”.

  • Geoffrey

    Wow that gave me chills.

  • Dick Mills

    Aaron, I think that the point is that everyone is supposed to feel disgust toward her, and to point out that she fucked up really badly. But more than that, to educate other mothers (and fathers) to the fact of their abusiveness – hopefully before it is too late fo them, and their children.

  • Aaron

    @Dick Mills:

    Yeah, you’re right…I realized that about 5 minutes after I posted my comment…

  • Ken

    Sad that this can’t be on HBO, or even something like network TV or Movie Theaters, so that the people that NEED To see this have a chance. All the parents of gay kids, and, parents of future gay kids, esp the religious ones.

  • Trenton

    @Dick Mills and Aaron

    Let’s also remember that she was a fundamentalist woman living in a time when homosexuality was still a “mental disorder” and that she probably genuinely believed that he could be changed. She had no reason to believe otherwise, because her son was just “confused” and “rebellious”. It ultimately boils down to arrogance on her part, of which many are guilty. However, that it took the death of her son to shake her from that is more a testament to how fixed the human mind can become than to her character. That she accepted her guilt and channeled it into something else after recovering from the devastation of it shows that she truly did love him and that she was capable of compassion and change. That’s more than I can say for a lot of parents out there who remain indifferent to their own children—living or dead—to this day, simply because of their orientation. I find it hard to believe that people can so disdain someone who has completely changed her life for the better, especially when she is the one who most grieved for her mistakes.

  • Mucklucky

    I reviewed this book for the reading library of the PFLAG in Atlanta back when it came out. I recommended it, but with the proviso it was best suited for parents who had come part of the way from hate to acceptance.

    The main reason was it was so raw at times. I initially was so angry at Mary, because the book isn’t a ‘will he or won’t he’ because it starts with Bobby’s death. I wanted to blame her, to see her suffer.

    And she does. She suffers. And she suffers. And she wonders why G*D would do this to her. And she changes. And it hurts. A lot.

    And when she finally starts helping gay people, and admitting her guilt, in public; this quiet, deeply private woman, that she made horrible mistakes, it crushed me. Because she’d done what I want Rev. Warren to do, to see how hurtful ‘blind faith’ can be.

    I agree, it needs to be running on a continuous loop at Saddleback from now until the end of hate. But that it is out there, and it will get into the hands of some of the people who need to hear it, who CAN see it, who will watch it because of Ms. Weaver, because it IS on Lifetime.

    And if we can get a couple dozen folks to not continue to hurt their kids, to get on the road to acceptance, then it was a worthwhile endeavor. Would I like to have every parent who’s sending their kids to ‘ex-gay’ ministries to see it? Sure. Would I like all the Bobbys of this world to stop killing themselves, you betcha.

    But this is a MOVIE, a TV MOVIE, and so we should all be glad that we will have it around for years to come, until Hate is done.

  • nikko

    I remember reading this book not long before I came out in ’98(?). Fundamentalism really does blind you. I was both her and her son, Bobby. Very painful, tragic story.

  • Don Normann

    I don’t remember this story and I never heard of the book before now. But I can remember back to a time when any movie that had the slightest hint of ‘gay’ about it was controversial and a big deal. When people actually booed and walked out of MAKING LOVE, which I thought was one of the ‘softest’ gay dramas ever. But as the first REAL mainstream theatrical release, it was a breakthrough.

    Now we have a cable channel movie with an Oscar nominated actress like Sigourney Weaver. One that more than “tens of tens” of people will see. The sheer fact that it’s on Lifetime shows that not only do movies like this NEED to be made, but they can and will continue to be, and will hopefully serve to educate people both gay and straight alike.

    I just can’t wait for the day when these kind of movies, just like movies about slavery, will be considered “period pieces” – reminders of a terrible time long since passed.

  • randy

    I met Mary Griffith and I think she is someone to be admired. Many parents have lost gay kids to suicide. I know of hardly any others who have worked so hard to make sure it never happens again. How brave of her to read Bobby’s journals and realize she had done all the wrong things. I am so proud to have met her and I think she is amazing!

  • hardmannyc

    Yeah I was crying all right — because that score was so bad. Talk about sanctimonious!

  • SuperCat

    Hey well that trailer gave me the full story right there, I don’t have to see it now.

  • Jaime

    Fuck her.

  • Disgusted American


  • shawn g

    Just goes to show being gay is in the fiber of ones being, you can’t take the fiber out of someones being without leaving just a husk!

  • No Hate

    I am sorry, but I think that she made mistakes like EVERY ONE OF US HAS! She should be commended for asking for our Fathers forgiveness, He gave it to her, why cant we?

  • Dustin

    Before saying hatefull and derogatory statements about someone you don’t even know, Mary Griffith, please take the time to actually figure out the story behind the movie. She is a great person, and one of the most well known gay activists throughout this country. Like many people, she had no concept as to how much she was affecting her son because she was so stuck on the teachings that being gay was not only a sin, but that it could be fixed. If your son, your baby, were to kill himself because YOU had instilled in his head his whole life, like so many parents do, that he is going to burn for eternity, and that he is not okay the way he is, do you think you would stop and rethink everything you had ever thought and said about the subject in general? Mary Griffith caused alot of change, and has saved alot of lives. She is an amazing person, and is reminded every day that her son is gone and is never coming back just because he was gay. She changed, something alot of people will sadly, never do. Please read the book because it is one of the very few that focus on this subject that is truly worth reading.

  • Juan Medina

    I cannot wait to watch the movie I hope could inspire many other parents on how to deal with young gays coming out. It is hard to come out to your parents. But I suggest those guys whose parents are conservative (like mine) to let your feelings flow but be patient. In many cases, it is up to us to set the stage and wait the right moment to come out. Expose you parents to “regular gay people” (straight acting) who you believe could use as role models to ease a coming out transition, and make yourself “stronger” (emotionally and financially independent, just in case).

    I knew I was gay at 16 while living in Latin America so I keep it to myself. I emigrated to US at 22 (alone) in part to be myself. My folks emigrated 5 years after and I promised myself I would introduce them “little by little” to conservative good gay friends who could help me set the stage. Two years after, I came out. Today, they accept me, my ten-year partner. We have even traveled overseas together. I know they accept him because he is my best friend and they accept us both because we respect their boundaries.

    My mother once said to me “whatever you do in private, keep it to yourself” but come to me if you ever have any problems since I am your mother, I love you and I know. In other words, you do not have too be to explicit tell a story.

    Recently, I took my folks to the Folsom street Fair and they shocked me when they asked me to take them pictures. I wish my folks would have seen this movie before; it would have eased my coming out a lot.

  • T

    @Aaron: Better than not loving and/or supporting at all.

  • Brian

    @Don Normann:
    Lifetime is exactly where this movie needs to be. What beltway mother doesn’t watch the network for women? This movie wasn’t made for is, but rather those who need a better understanding of who we are.

  • Tigg

    Being a gay man who came out around the time this movie is set in (early 80’s), I can still hear the same words spoken that Mary spoke to Bobby. They were spoken to me by my parents. It has been 25 years and my parents have chilled out as they have aged and times have changed. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I just hope that some misguided parent will listen to the message and not make these same mistakes with their kids.

  • Michelle Reese

    I hated this woman through out most of the movie – but ultimately realized she was a victim of brainwashing, like many religious people. As the mother of a gay son, I cant even fathom treating my son like she did. He is perfect just the way he is, I would never change him, just this intolerant world we live in. If this movie helps one parent accept their gay child, or keeps one child from committing suicide, then I am glad she had the nerve to tell her story. I want any glbt person out there to know that even if your family will not accept you, there are families and friends out there who will take you into theirs and love you for who you are. Get support and help. It is out there. You are worthy of love and support.

  • roger

    I agree with the comment someone made about why was this movie on Lifetime, rather than on local movie screens? It’s so true that multi-plexes and video stores are swamped with comic book heroes and silly stoner comedies, but where are the movies about real human drama? Sigourney Weaver could have won an Oscar for “Prayers for Bobby”, and I thought the movie was wonderful. I cried for an hour as it touched me so dramatically. This is the kind of story teens should be seeing, not “Pineapple Express”.

  • d.minor4

    As easy as it was to dislike Mary for what she had said to Bobby, we all need to remember that it was the way she was raised and for some of us that is the way that it was. I am a lesbian mom of 5 wonderful kids and I was raised that it is a sin to be gay, and i also went thru alot of the struggles that Bobby went thru being raised in a church and taught that it is a sin to be gay. You have to feel sorry for her that it took so long and a bad thing to happen for her to see the LIGHT. Parents don’t always understand, I know of a young man that knew he was gay for a long time and when he came out to his mom she thought that me and my gf caused it, when she finally realized that we did not cause it she finally let him hang with my kids again. she is still having a hard time with it, The whole thing is that we as parents need to help our children and sometimes it is easier to be open when you are gay and lesbian.. anyway I thought that the movie was wonderful and i feel for Mary and the family and as for Bobby I do believe that he is in Heaven looking down on the work that Mary has done and smiles. And probably wishes that it had not taken so long for this to happen. I wish that my parents would accept the fact that i am a lesbian but that may not ever happen…. God bless

  • Matt


    I totally agree. I would love to meet Mary Griffith. Its sad that it took a tragedy to make her see the truth. In all she may be the only light some GLBT kids see. There is no reason for anyone to hate her. She went thru alot and in the end saw that she had a chance to make a difference somehow. Yeah she couldnt save her son, but she could save other kids from doing the same thing.

    I think very highly of her.

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