Any Mother's Son (1997)
Uncovering the Cover Up
This is about if it's okay to kill someone because you don't like who they are attracted to - Dorothy
Every time Allen (Paul Popowich), a US Navy Petty Officer, shipped out his family missed him but this time is different as whilst on shore leave in Japan he is brutally beaten to death. The news devastates his mother Dorothy (Bonnie Bedelia) which is made worse when she learns from a reporter that Allen was gay and believes that his death was down to a couple of homophobic crew mates. Having to not only deal with her son's death but also her own prejudices Dorothy and the reporter join forces to get to the truth of what really happened even if the Navy are refusing to be helpful and are trying to cover things up in house.
On paper "Any Mother's Son" sounds like another one of those movies based on a true story which wants to hit home the ugliness of homophobia and how some young men have lost their lives because of their sexual orientation. Just reading the synopsis it made me think of a couple of other made for TV movies where a mother not only has to deal with a child's death but also their own issues when it comes to the revelation that they were homosexual. And in truth part of "Any Mother's Son" is about this, the pain which Dorothy goes through after the murder of her son whilst on shore leave in Japan and her conflicted feelings.
But "Any Mother's Son" is more than just that as it is a movie which wants to highlight the power which the forces once had to cover up what went on with men in uniform. As such a big part of the movie is about Dorothy and the reporter getting to the truth of what happened and making in public and in doing so changing the way that the forces could cover things up.
Now anyone who enjoys made for TV movies will well know what a stunning actress Bonnie Bedelia is and once again she turns in a stunning performance. From the broken emotion of losing her son to the revelation and confusion over her son being a homosexual you believe Bedelia's performance. The thing is that whilst Bedelia's performance is good the rest of the movie feels restrained, typical of a TV movie which wants to tell a story, highlight a situation but not put too much demand on their audience with hard hitting, gritty scenes. It works for the type of people who will watch a TV movie but maybe not those who hoped that this movie would be hard hitting and powerful in its realism.
What this all boils down to is that "Any Mother's Son" is both an interesting and entertaining made for TV movie based on actual events. But whilst it is good it feels restrained, toned to not offend an audience with too much grit or drama.
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