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Joe Bell; Joe Bell is a Wakeup Call for Most People to Be There When the Going Gets Tough. Grade: C

Joe Bell tells a story about a father named Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) whom has a gay son named Jadin (Reid Miller). In the small town Joe and Jadin live in, Jadin gets bullied, harassed, and abused by the kids in the school because of his sexuality. Jadin tries immensely to get help from his family, school, and his friends but unfortunately come up short, especially his father whom does however accept Jadin for who he is, howevee does not know how to handle difficult situations. At last Joe and Jadin will go on a walk together across the United States, to spread the message of anti bullying of all children, mostly aimed at the children regarding their sexual preference.

I felt my main issue with regards to Joe Bell is how it was constructed. It all has to do with an early plot twist in which was extremely predictable from the start, however it brings more into question as why even have it in the first place, if you're just going to abandon it once the twist is revealed?! No Spoilers: But once the twist is revealed, we never see this figure nor hear from them ever again, so why even have it in the first place?!

Joe Bell can be a film in which many viewers especially in our society, will have trouble with the main character Joe Bell, due to the fact he surely is not the best father with regards to handling difficult situations and expressing himself. They'll think Joe Bell is this some kind of monster of a father, which I can understand because the way he parents is not only old fashioned, however can be described as an anxiety attack within every five seconds. For me: The character Joe Bell feels too close to home, as I can relate with this character to many members of my family.

I believe many family members of my own are decent people, who do care about their own kids and other family members. However: When it comes to being there for them in crucial moments, where it matters most in difficult situations like Joe Bell is going through especially... They immensely fail at it, to the point where you're terrified to even come to them for any kind of help whether it be the biggest ordeal or even the smallest ordeal. To me that's the most heartbreaking thing to ever experience, hands down. Where here one can take so much out of life within troubling circumstances of their own, then you have to add on even more weight because your loved ones whom are suppose to be there for you for anything, can not only be there in a more healthy environment that you can receive acceptance but more importantly closure, but also add more weight to your own problems... It sucks man.

There’s a new Kanye West song, where the lyrics read, “Like who's here when I need a shoulder to lean on?

I hope you're here when I need the demons to be gone.

And it's not fair that I had to fight 'em all on my own.” I haven’t heard lyrics that spoke deeply in my soul for so long, because I can heavily relate as I have to handle most of the problems on my own majority of the time. I’m grateful God created one of the toughest beings within myself, but there are moments where I could use a little help, but unfortunately like Jadin and people like Joe Bell… That's not possible majority of the time.

With Joe Bell as a character, you do see some good in him, deep down he loves his son to death regardless of what he is. It's just unfortunately Joe Bell was raised in a very dysfunctional toxic upbringing, to where he can't figure out how to handle any difficult situation, where it feels like encountering a anxiety attack when one is near his presence. For me within watching Joe Bell in this journey, felt fairly developed as you can experience a great amount of change one step at a time. We know he's not perfect by any means, but on this walk it truly felt like he was learning what exactly did he do wrong with regards to his parenting and how he operates as a person. He knows he was being a good father as he accepted and love his kid, he just didn't know how to express it, as this journey made him extremely emotional, pleading for forgiveness as he was given a wakeup call to continue his mission to express the message to end bullying.

Joe Bell may not be the greatest film ever made, it certainly has constructed issues and also can die a bit down here and there following the narrative. However I believe it'll be a film in which does hold a fair amount of value, as I can see many parents, family members, or even people in general get a wakeup call out of it. As when a difficult situation comes about: Don't treat it as it's the end of the world, treat it as a new beginning, the ole tired false saying “We’re All in this Together” has to one day be practiced like it was preached.

Overall, Joe Bell was just ok. I would check this out when it's available for rental, definitely a film worth watching and could inspire change. -Mitch Smietana

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