Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (2014) Poster

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9/10
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Tss507823 June 2016
Matthew Shepard represents many things to many different people. For some he stands as a symbol of why people need to fight for equality, for others he opened their eyes to the horror and abuses that people go through every day simply for being different. What's easy to forget however, is that first and foremost, Matthew Shepard was a human being. Shepard was a friendly, kind, outgoing, young man from a small town and there in lied the problem. In a town of a few thousand, Shepard stood out and everyone knew who he was and what he was. One night, a couple of drunk rednecks decided to mess with him, it went too far, and they killed him. This film, isn't about that though, it isn't one of the many films about the symbol that Shepard became or the fight for equal rights his story ignited. This is a film, by a long time friend of Matt's, who simply wanted the world to know about her friend. Michele Josue interviews Matt's brokenhearted family and friends about his life, from childhood up until his untimely death, and weather your gay or not, weather you respect gay rights or not, you can't help but feel for these people who lost such a bright, loving, artistic person, who made everyone around him just that much better for knowing him. It's a terrific documentary and I was very happy that for once, a documentary focused on the life of the man instead of the tragic way that he was killed.
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Heartbreaking, beautiful
Red_Identity4 December 2015
Doesn't really tell us anything we haven't known about the case, but then again, I don't think great documentaries' primary aim should be just to inform. It does remind me a lot of Dear Zachary, just in that the personal approach from the filmmaker shines through, and it makes the emotion that much more powerful. It's a lovely film, perhaps not anything we haven't seen before, but a beautiful one nonetheless. It also marks the beginning of what is hopefully a great career for a new documentarian, showing her skill in composing such a delicate, sensitive subject in film form. Really heartbreaking and tragic, be prepared to bring tissues because it doesn't go lightly.
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10/10
Emotionally galvanizing, but well worth the watch.
europa_hunter3 January 2016
Very powerful documentary. I agree with another reviewer that it really reminded me of "Dear Zachary," at least insofar as how emotionally raw the film experience was. I don't normally tear up watching film or television, but this was a rough one. In fact I teared up just thinking about it the day after I watched it. The entire story just breaks my heart to its core. So much senseless tragedy.

This is the second or third documentary on Matthew I've watched now; in my opinion this film did him the most justice. I think Matthew was very fortunate to have befriended the documentarian. The film, as the title suggests, gives an intimate look into the life of Matthew Shepard. The good times, the bad times, as recalled by his closest family and friends. The documentarian did an excellent job humanizing Matthew, in my view. I found it very easy to become personally invested in Matthew watching this film. He was the proverbial boy next door.

At the end of the day, there's no real reconciling what happened to Matthew. It's just unconscionable and it's always going to hurt; but that's okay. Remembering Matthew, and others like him, should always evoke empathy and sorrow in the hearts and minds of any functional human being. My grandfather once told me, "the saddest words in the English language are 'what could have been.'" Those words have never rang truer for me when it comes to the story of Matthew Shepard; may he rest in peace.
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10/10
A profoundly moving film
lee_brown7814 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film was profoundly moving. As a gay man and as a Christian, it angers me that Matthew was killed by prejudice and ignorance. That ignorance stretches towards the 'Christian' woman he met who threatened him with Hell when he came to a church for help and advice. I am angry at the Westboro Baptist Church who picketed his funeral, and who continue to do so at the funerals of gay people in America. They have no right.

God loves Matthew Shephard. He also loves each and every gay person in the world, including myself. I am at peace with that. The Bible teaches love and tolerance. Does God condemn homosexuality? Many 'Christians' will point to one specific verse which says yes to that question. However the Bible was written within an historical and cultural context. God does not change but people and time do. There are many things that God does not approve of but He still has an overwhelming sense of love for all His people, no matter their culture, sexuality, race or class. He preaches love for one another above everything else, and that we should love ourselves also.

To any gay people reading this please know that God does love you. For those of you who are homophobic, God loves you too. We need to stop judging each other.

This documentary made by one of Matthew's friends is beautifully put together and enables the viewer to understand and see the person Matthew was. I hope all are touched by the film and that it enables all of us to be more tolerant. It is an awful shame Matthew died. However, his life, his death, and the work that was inspired by his story, is a legacy to him and to all those living in fear because of careless ignorance from others.

God bless you Matthew Shephard, you are loved by so many.
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8/10
A Beautiful Life
JohnnyLee113 May 2018
As a young kid Matthew would leave beautiful stones in his neighbors' letterboxes just to let them know he was around. A beautiful life here given extra meaning by his family and friends. It must have been a heartbreaking task putting this documentary together. Peace.
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