Michael Lost and Found

To be perfectly honest, the story of Michael Glatze who spent his young adulthood helping LGBT teens feel better about themselves only to have a breakdown, break off his long-term relationship with his boyfriend Benji Nycum and resurface as a born-again Christian vilifying his former life and marrying a woman makes me feel queasy. I don’t want to watch the James Franco feature film, I Am Michael based on Glatze’s story. The story itself freaks me out. I realize people make choices every day which go against their innate nature. I get that. But when someone does it in such a public way and vilifies their former gay life (whatever that mean), it makes my skin crawl. So I reluctantly watched the 18 minute short film produced by Benjie Nycum, Michael Lost and Found which chronicles the first meeting of Benji and Michael since the feature film has been released. In the interim, Michael married a woman named Rebekah, they’ve both left their former church and are preaching at their own church where they claim they accept everyone and don’t judge. Nycum goes to visit Glatze and his wife in rural, desolate Wyoming in hopes of finding answers and finding Michael’s mental health in a better place. Benji does seem to find Michael more calm, less agitated, but he doesn’t get the answers he wants nor does the audience get to hear Michael answer any really hard questions such as does he still believe being gay is a sin. Is he now straight? Was his time with Nycum just as fulfilling as his time now with Rebekah? Glatze skirts every question.  His answers sound like he’s not speaking from his heart but from rhetoric he has adopted. In the end, it seems like Benji is grateful Michael doesn’t seem to be suffering or out of control. The audience can’t help but feel frustrated with Michael. Benji’s tenderness shows the person he is. For Michael, his life still comes born out of  a place of fear and internalized self-hatred. Glatze doesn’t talk about being sexually fluid nor does he speak of being bisexual. One day he was a gay rights advocate, the next he was a born-again converted straight preacher. Perhaps it is the extremes he is most comfortable in. 3 out of 5 for this sad story.

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