Green, The (DVD Review)20 Nov, 2011 By: Billy Gil
Stars Jason Butler Harner, Cheyenne Jackson, Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas.
Until it veers into melodrama toward the end, The Green takes a hard look at how accusations can be molded into truth, especially when compounded with a gay teacher being accused of molesting a student.
Michael (Jason Butler Harner) is a teacher in a bucolic New England town, working on his book and living with his 15-year partner, Daniel (Cheyenne Jackson, who plays the robot guy on “30 Rock”). They live contently, and the film does a fine job of not presenting their relationship as anything other than ordinary — they’re pretty much a boring suburban couple, something many films that depict gay couples can’t seem to grasp.
Things change when Michael tries to defend a troubled student who is getting pushed around by other kids. His actions and closeness to the student are seen as inappropriate when witnessed by onlookers and are stoked by paranoia from his mother’s boyfriend, a janitor at the school, who fuels an accusation. A faulty interview from an inept student counselor is all authorities need to suspend Michael, then arrest him and search his house.
What The Green accomplishes best are the nuances of how residents of the well-to-do but small town react. Rumormongering causes many people around town to treat them differently, and their subtle acceptance of rumor as truth hits much harder than if the film had gone another route and portrayed them as pitchfork-yielding yokels.
Furthermore, it does well at throwing viewers for a loop now and then, such as admission of a prior incident involving Michael, showing that he’s no martyr but rather a flawed but unfairly judged character — actually, in truth you might want to smack him a few times for the poor way he deals with the proceedings, despite feeling sorry for him.
Great support work from Illeana Douglas and Julia Ormond rounds out an ultimately satisfying movie that deals with a tricky and oft-glossed over subject.