Release Date: TBD
Director: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
MPAA Rating: NR
The tagline for James Cameron’s Titanic was “Nothing on Earth Could Come Between Them.” This can certainly apply to Tom Bridegroom and his partner of six years Shane Bitney Crone. They were the sweetest of couples so madly in love with each other that it was fate that they found each other. In fact it seemed they were destined to find each other. Their relationship was the stuff of dreams. How their friends got them together. How the two complimented one another, they were ying and yang. How they plan to marry once same-sex marriage is legalized. It was as though it came straight out of a fairy tale. However, on a fateful night in May of 2011 their fairy tale became an unbearably devastating nightmare. In a tragic accident Tom plunged to his death during a rooftop photo shoot. Shane’s nightmare became worse when Tom’s family ostracized him and would not allow him to attend Tom’s funeral. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s emotional, touching, poignant and enraging documentary is a testament to the immeasurable power of love, grief, the support of family and the importance of equal rights for all married couples.
Bloodworth-Thomason’s documentary is a touching film about a committed gay couple. We learn about Shane and Tom’s upbringing. One raised in a liberal family. The other was raised in a conservative and religious one. We are told about how they would both belt out show tunes. How they both came out and to whom. Meeting each other’s families. How Shane’s family was very supportive and how Tom’s essentially sought divine intervention to cure their son. It’s a fairly traditional set up. It was just a simple look at a loving couple and the hurdles they overcame together. However, from the outset we know this will not be a simple tale about love conquers all. There will be loss and it was the worst kind.
Hearing the events leading to, during and immediately after Tom’s death is truly heartbreaking. It will likely be very difficult to not be moved by this part of the film. This documentary is not a call to arms for equal rights and marriage equality. In fact not once does any one make it political. The proof is in the pudding. When one sees the hell that Shane went through after his partner died who would ever want to see that or wish that upon someone else, ever. From not being able to be with Tom at the hospital or even see him because he isn’t immediate family to the Bridegroom’s essentially erasing him from his son’s life, he was never mentioned at the funeral, you can’t help but be frustrated and enraged by how these actions can be justifiable by law. It is very sad and bitter to think that a few years after Tom’s death, society and the government have begun to afford the gay community these rights.
Shane and Tom’s story does not end here though. Shane has been keeping a video diary and his grief-stricken confessions will likely bring a tear to the most hardened of hearts. On the first anniversary of Tom’s passing Shane posted a YouTube video entitled “It Could Happen to You.” His tribute to his partner had millions of views and inspired thousands upon thousands to comment or share their personal experiences. One touching comment that stood out came from a proud, gun-toting redneck who confessed he couldn’t stop crying after seeing it and stated he will never deny this kind of love ever again. That is the power of love and there is no denying it nor should it be allowed to.
This excellent documentary would have likely been near perfect if not for the lack of participation by the Bridegrooms. They never responded to any interview requests. It is decidedly one sided but it does not judge or condemn them for their actions. However their actions and lack there of does speak volumes and it’s safe to say they will likely not be seen favorably in the public eye. The film does paint a fitting portrait of Shane and Tom’s undying love for each other. It’s the kind of love you can only dream to ever have. These two did and it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference that they are gay. This one is a must see. Bring tissues.