Randy (Julian Walker) is a devout Christian facing a secret inner struggle over his homosexuality. Both his religion and community put a burden on him and he has been living in denial for awhile. His father (Isaiah Washington) has left and his mother (Mo’nique) is emotionally disturbed and needs Randy to help take care of her. It is only once Randy starts being true to himself that he learns what it means to grow up and become a strong person.
‘Blackbird’ is a well intentioned but disjointed and confused film. It can’t figure out the tone it wants to take with its heartfelt subject matter so it just jumps all over the place. There are currents of sweetness and melodrama that just end up at odds with each other. The story, dialog, and acting would be more at home in an afterschool special than in a legitimate movie.
Randy is not a character that feels like a real teenage struggling with his sexuality. He feels like an adult’s take on a teenager, which makes the message that the film is trying to push that much harder to swallow.
The film’s plot and dialog have a tendency to drift into really weird places. Mo’nique’s character in particular has some really weird gospel driven lines that seem like they’d make more sense coming out of the mouth of a fire and brimstone Puritan preacher. Granted, her character is supposed to be emotionally disturbed, but still.
‘Blackbird’ is a movie with good intentions that just doesn’t come close to accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish. It hits a few of the right buttons, but it fails to feel genuine and realistic in any way that will draw in its intended audience. In the end it is more of a mess than a coherent movie.