24 April 2009

Movie Review: Rock Haven

First of all, I want to give a shout out to the Malaysian site, Filem Gay, for helping to catablog international gay cinema.

I have watched many many gay films in my life and with the recent advances in editing technology and its greater accessibility to the middle class, I have to say that I have been unable to be aware of every gay film that has come out in the last ten years (there is just too many). I was roaming through Filem Gay's blog and stumbled onto Rock Haven. Filem Gay summarized:

The coastal California community of Rock Haven is the perfect place for cute eighteen-year-old Brady and his loving mother to begin a fresh start. Their mission: to spread the word of the Lord. But while roaming the beach one day, Brady meets Clifford, a young man who is the complete opposite of him: outgoing and athletic as well as incredibly handsome. Their initial encounter stirs up feelings of homo desire that Brady has been suppressing. Once Clifford makes it clear that their attraction is mutual, Brady's conflicting feelings of religious obligation and natural impulse go into overdrive, and the two young men must navigate their confusion, lust and beliefs in order to come to a mutual understanding.

The film was well written and well shot. It was able to address the fundamental conflict of adolescence between remaining a child of our parents and becoming an adult -- using the lens of American Christian fundamentalism. It did a great job of that without painting the fundamentalist mother as a flat religious wacko (I mean, she's a religious wacko, don't get me wrong, but its not like a two dimensional cartoon character level of wacko.) The ending could have used some work especially on the mother-complex issue and the Clifford resolution, but overall the theme regarding spirituality and sexuality is well presented. There is no inherent conflict between spirituality and sexuality. The only conflict is with church control of spirituality through the realm of sexuality.


  1. I bought a pirated copy at Makati Cinema Square. I thought the movie was boring. I missed the whole story line because I forwarded and forwarded it until I saw a frontal and stopped the player. Poor me. I'll watch it again as soon as I get home. hehehe.

  2. oh wow. i wanna see this. where did you get a copy? i've been curious about other people's views on homosxuality and christianity.

  3. @parteeboi: hahaha. yeah. they were very tasteful in the sex scene

    @cb: the blog Filem Gay as I cite above. it just requires you download it and that can take some time depending on your download speed. Filem Gay is a malaysian catablog of gay films around the world. worth checking out. Save Me is also another good movie (not sure if its on Filem Gay)

  4. i never really liked this film probably because it didn't give any new things in the debate of sexuality and religion. moreover, its dragging and overrated.

    sorry, just my two cents!

  5. ditto what cb said. I should download this soon! hehehe

    though Ewik's comment kind of got me... :-|

    to torrent or not to torrent is the question.

  6. @wanderer: i was not happy with the Clifford resolution or the non-resolution of the mother complex at the end. i did think it was much more nuanced in treating religion than just caricaturing everyone involved -- i would have ended the mother-son dynamic by ending it.

    @herbs: haha. the beauty of the Filem site is that you can download one movie at a time for free. very worth it if you have limited access to some or all of these movies. I actually watched this film via my netflix subscription but I did become aware of it through Filem Gay.