Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk and Under the Banner of Heaven, came out as gay his senior year of college. It was a struggle not only because of his Mormon upbringing and the acute belief growing up that he was destined for hell, but because his mother’s initial response was antagonistic. Mama’s Boy, among other things, is an exploration of how his mother came around and eventually inspired him to become an activist.
The most fascinating turn in the trailer comes when Black gives his famous acceptance speech for writing Milk, wherein he promised that gay and lesbian children would one day have equal rights. We all remember it, but his mother took it more seriously than anyone else, reminding Black that a promise isn’t something to be given lightly, and that he’d better get off the couch and put in the work to make those equal rights a reality. There’s just no way to stay still after mom gets on your case like that.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Traveling back to the places where he grew up, Black explores his childhood roots, gay identity and close relationship with his mother, who overcame childhood polio, abusive marriages and Mormon dogma, while becoming Black’s emotional rock and ultimately, the inspiration for his activism. With a wealth of personal photographs and candid memories from Black’s family, colleagues, and friends, Mama’s Boy embraces the personal to tell a universally hopeful tale of resilience and reconciliation through the power of love and shared stories.”
Directed by Laurent Bouzereau (Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind), the HBO documentary premieres October 18th.