Weaver shines in 'Prayers'

Z ON TV

January 27, 2009|By DAVID ZURAWIK

Idon't often write about second showings of made-for-TV movies, but Lifetime is airing Prayers for Bobby, which premiered Saturday, again tonight, and it is worth going out of your way to see. From a sure-to-win-an-Emmy performance by Sigourney Weaver, to a screenplay that explores gay identity as sensitively as it has been done on cable TV, this docudrama deserves a network-size audience.

The Bobby is Bobby Griffith, who attended high school in California in the 1970s. The film is set in 1979 as he comes to terms with being gay.

Ryan Kelley is not a great actor, but he shares most scenes with Weaver, and she elevates everyone's game. She plays Mary Griffith, a Bible-quoting mother who makes it her life's work to convince Bobby that he is not really gay - and even if he is, he can change his sexual orientation. There is no end to the pain that her false belief causes.

Weaver is superb - the depth and authenticity of her performance are unusual, not to say unheard of in a Lifetime movie.

This is not a perfect movie, nor even a great one, but there are moments in it of absolute transcendency. And that is good enough for me. (9 p.m., Lifetime) *** 1/2

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Comic Seth Meyers visits the Late Show with David Letterman. Actor Rainn Wilson appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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