If you have been meaning to add a new title to your LGBTQ+ movies list, I recommend checking out the award-winning comedy Brotherly Love from writer and director Anthony J. Caruso. It tells the story of Brother Vito as he tries to find a balance between being true to himself and having religion be a part of his life. Brotherly Love was shown at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles on August 3, 2018, with a DVD/VOD release on August 7, 2018.
I was provided a screener of ‘Brotherly Love’ for review by Breaking Glass Pictures. The opinions are my own.
Brotherly Love is based on Salvatore Sapienza’s novel Seventy Times Seven. The film’s world premiere was at the “Glitter Oklahoma LGBT Film Festival” where it won Best Picture. It was the official selection for the “Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival” as well as the “Nevada International Film Festival” (where it won Best Feature Film). Give it up for queer talent making queer films for a community that deserves representation!
Here’s the official synopsis:
Which call do you answer? The one you feel from God or the one you feel about your authentic self? This is the dillema at hand for Brother Vito (played by writer/director Anthony J. Caruso) as he must decide between becoming a Brother or declaring his love for Gabe (Derek Babb). Shot entirely in Austin, TX and with a local cast and crew, Brotherly Love is a fresh take on the traditional gay love story.
The cast includes Anthony J. Caruso, Derek Babb, Chance McKee, David Blackwell (Boyhood, Dazed and Confused).
Check out the trailer!
There is a lot I enjoyed about Brotherly Love. Anthony J. Caruso wore a lot of hats for this project. Along with penning down the movie and directing it, Caruso also plays Vito Fortunato. Our lead seems to be happy about becoming a Brother even though he is gay. However, things change when he ends up meeting Gabe. The encounter forces Vito to rethink his priorities. Does he answer God’s call and leave the man he loves behind? Or does he give his relationship with Gabe a chance? Vito is a likable lead and I think his struggle will resonate with many.
Derek Babb brought a cute innocence to Gabe which I appreciated. He has been through some issues in his life and is slowly trying to become a more open person. His entire character is very cute and I believed him being a big romantic. Also, a scene near the end of the movie had me really worried and I actually let out a sigh of relief when everything played out the way it did. You will know what I’m talking about when you see it.
I also liked Vito’s best friend Tim (Chance McKee). He might come across as a bit stereotypical to some, but I enjoyed his scenes. David Blackwell’s Joseph also had some good lines about living life to the fullest when you have the chance. However, as far my opinion goes, there were a couple of supporting characters (Vito’s summer housemates) that could have been more fleshed out. I also wouldn’t have minded seeing Vito helping around the house during the summer. Also, the lesbian couple that showed up felt random even though one of them had some good advice for Vito.
Having said that, the good news is Brotherly Love isn’t your typical depressing queer movie talking about the subject of sexuality and religion. The message behind Caruso’s film is how your faith and your sexuality can co-exist. Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community still experience a lot of oppression, being forced to choose between their sexuality or their faith. They aren’t given the option of having both in their lives. I don’t know when things will change, but it is good to see a film like Brotherly Love reaching out to people and letting them know it is okay to be true to yourself and holding on to the faith you have.
I recommend watching Brotherly Love, and I hope to see Caruso continuing writing and directing more projects.
If you have watched Brotherly Love already, let us know what you thought of it.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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