Director Marta Cunningham has put together a film that’s deeply frustrating to watch—only partly because of the events being chronicled. The timely topic involves a 2008 school shooting, when Oxnard, Calif. middle-schooler Brandon McInerny shot and killed classmate Larry King, who was openly transgender and had asked Brandon to be his valentine. Cunningham is painstakingly thorough at getting the participation of everyone from Larry’s school friends and the D.A.’s office to Brandon’s family and defense attorneys, allowing glimpses into a dozen different facets of the story: the boys’ tragically similar background of domestic abuse; the school’s ham-fisted handling of a terrible situation; Brandon’s dabblings in white supremacy that may have added to his motive of shooting the biracial Larry. But for much of the first hour, the film feels like a collection of individually potent anecdotes rather than a focused narrative. Only once Brandon’s trial becomes the central event—with its accompanying attempt to turn Brandon into the one “bullied” by unwanted attention from Larry—does Valentine Road realize its potential for giving tragic intolerance a human face. (Scott Renshaw)
- Genres: documentary
- Running Time: 93 min.
- Release Date: Saturday, January 19,2013
- MPAA Rating: NR
- Directed by: Marta Cunningham
- Watch the trailer