Recently a short film titled “Love Is All You Need?” was brought to my attention. I promptly watched this 20 minute short which explores the concept of what it would be like to live in a world where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is frowned upon.
A film by Kim Rocco Shields, the story is told through the eyes of Ashley and her life growing up in a loving household with two Mum’s and a brother. Early on Ashley is aware that she is not “normal” and struggles with how to deal with this revelation. When I say “normal” I use this in the context of a world where love is between a man and a man or a women and a women. Love between a women and a man is frowned upon and referred to as a “sin” and “breeders”. It’s a topic that is highly controversial and the short definitely stimulated public opinion with over 40 million views on YouTube.
What is extremely interesting is to see these issues, which are so prevalent in today’s society i.e. gay marriage and gay parenting etc. thrown on their head in this manner. It is somewhat genius on the part of the director who goes so far as to completely reverse gender “norms” presenting the females as the “jocks” playing on the football team and the males are undertaking drama and roles that can, even today, generally be perceived in society as less masculine. Finally, it challenges the viewer to look in the eye of prejudice and justify bullying and harassment in a new way.
In the film Ashley falls for the “boy next door” Ian and they engage in a brief childhood romance, only for Ashley to have her heart broken because Ian is unable to withstand the constant negative attention from his school friends and his older brother. Ashley is consequently subjected to extreme bullying in the form of beatings and public ridicule and her loving mother’s, who are equally heterophobic as the rest of the town, are left questioning where they went wrong in bringing Ashley up in this world.
What we are left with is witnessing the agonising aftermath of Ashley’s most recent bullying attack. We know all too well as we watch this scene where we are going to travel with Ashley and it’s disturbing. It’s disturbing because we know that it’s real. Not a week or day seems to go by lately where you don’t read about yet another child or teenager taking their life due to bullying, whether it is because they are gay, the wrong colour and just not “cool” enough. This film does a stellar job at exploring this in a unique way bringing attention to a systemic issue.
Shields does a great job at bringing life to these complex characters in just the short period of time we have with them. Winner of multiple awards, this short film should be a stable in any school curriculum. So popular was this short it will now be brought to us in feature length film and I for one will be lining up to see it.
“Love Is All You Need”