When you read a news story about fourteen-year-old Brandon McInerney, who shot and killed his classmate, Lawrence King, for being “too gay,” it’s understandable that your sympathy, outrage, and feelings of loss would all be directed to the deceased. But Valentine Road is really a story of two victims. Both boys were physically abused, deeply troubled, and from broken homes. Neither had any responsible adults in their lives, and both were surrounded by ignorance and prejudice.
The film unravels the tangled web around Larry and Brandon’s dual tragedy. We follow the criminal trial that gripped the town of Oxnard, CA, for months. Through interviews with family, friends, teachers, lawyers, and jurors, Valentine Road portrays an undeniably emotional issue facing schools all over the country. What can communities do to help kids like Brandon and Larry before something like this happens, and what should they do once they’ve failed? [mature]