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The Seminarian

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

SPECIAL FEATURES

- Commentary with the cast and crew
- Interview with star Mark Cirillo

SYNOPSIS

Ryan is a closeted gay student in his final semester of seminary studies. Despite his school's hostile stance towards homosexuality, Ryan has two gay classmates - Gerald and Anthony in whom he secretly confides. He is also close to his religiously devout mother who, as things stand, is unaware of his sexual orientation.

Ryan needs to complete a solid theological thesis in order to continue doctoral work at the university of his dreams. As he works on his thesis 'The Divine Gift of Love,' he begins a relationship with Bradley - a man he has met on the Internet who seems perpetually unable to commit himself. At the same time, Ryan learns that Gerald and Anthony have romantic struggles of their own. During this volatile time, with the pain of unrequited love and the inability to share his fears with his mother deepening, Ryan struggles with finishing his thesis and holding on to his faith.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Cirillo, Linda J. Carter, Philip Willcox
  • Directors: Joshua Lim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures, QC Cinema
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006VJI6IM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,642 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kittredge Cherry on April 13, 2012
Format: DVD
"The Seminarian" is a drama about a closeted gay seminarian's search for love. Ryan, the title character, is completing a thesis on "The Divine Gift of Love" at an evangelical seminary while struggling in a relationship with a man who won't commit. Questions of love, loneliness, faith and suffering are illuminated by Ryan's interactions with his distant gay lover, two gay classmates, and the devout mother who doesn't know about his sexual orientation.

Surprisingly, these evangelical seminarians apparently feel no conflict over being gay and Christian. The Bible passages used to condemn homosexuality are barely even mentioned. They don't worry much about whether to stay in the closet either. Coming out issues do arise, but in true 21st-century style, these young gays show no paranoia about hiding their sexual orientation, even in a hostile seminary setting. They're not even worried about using their degrees to get a job after graduation. Ryan focuses on a more universal question: How can love be a gift from God when it causes so much suffering?

This is a sweet, slow-paced film with no gratuitous sex. It would probably qualify for an R rating based on brief male frontal nudity and some low-key sex scenes. The film grows out of first-hand experiences at a conservative seminary. Writer-director Joshua Lim recently attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where the movie was shot. Lim was born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore.

Viewers with seminary degrees will get a kick out of the film's valiant efforts to show the drama within such intellectual labors as library research and writing a master's thesis in theology. Many may find understated inspiration here.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Darien Wells on November 17, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I will not try to offer a recommendation either way on this film, as it deals with subject matter that everyone must determine for themselves whether or not they wish to view. I DO HOWEVER feel that a different kind of review is necessary for this film. A viewpoint that no-one else seems to be offering. Perhaps a side that no-one else seems to have caught, as most will either love a film, or hate it, with no middle ground. And thus, I give you my review to add to the mix.

Ryan, (Mark Cirillo) is a student in his final semester of seminary studies. He has to complete a solid theological thesis in order to continue his studies at the university of his choice. To receive the grade, his thesis must be solid, factual and based on biblical beliefs, not just personal feelings. Ryan is also gay and struggling with those feelings and his desire to stay true to his religious beliefs. Can he convince his professor that he has a full understanding of the subject of his thesis: "The Divine Gift of Love"?

The film is directed by Joshua Lim and based on his own life and the lives of other students he met during seminary studies. There is some interesting reading online about Joshua Lim as well as the making of this film. You can find it easily through Google. As I read the reviews for this movie, everything inside of me told me to move on and don't waste my time and money on it. However, the subject matter intrigued me for some reason a bit more than other films which deal with the same feelings. There are MANY films out there which deal with the issues of confliction between a person's same-sex desires, and religious beliefs.

With most of those films, I have been left either feeling outcast for having same-sex attractions, or feeling that my religious beliefs had been mocked.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on March 10, 2012
Format: DVD
Seminary student Ryan is doing his Master's thesis on the working of God's love, a topic that he is somewhat confused about in his own life. Ryan is among a handful of closeted gay seminarians, though none of them are close enough to him to really confide how he longs to have a real boyfriend. He is close with his mother, but has not opened up to her about his sexual orientation. He did confide on a girl he trusted, which may have been a bad idea. Meanwhile, the closest thing that he has found in looking for a life partner is Bradley, a guy he met online, but there seems to be issues there that threaten it from developing as he would like.

Writer/Director Joshua Lim presents an emotionally intense look at life and love, as well as raising some theoretical (rather than strictly theological) questions about how we reflect God's love through our relationships. The acting (especially Mark Cirillo as Ryan) is first rate, and it is easy to see why this was a favorite at many gay film festivals over the past year and a half.

DVD to include audio commentary and interview with Cirillo, not rated but would be a light R for sexual situations. I give it four stars out of five.
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Format: DVD
The movie is so slowly paced and monotone that you get bored watching it. It's more like an ameteur production that should have been a short movie rather that feature length. Seeing a nude Ryan (Mark Cirillo) is the most redeeming part of the movie and there should have been more of it. The movie has potential, but the characters are never fully developed and there are too many loose ends between events that watchers of this movie might get the impression that it was just slopped together or the director didn't know what he wanted to do.

The characters make a big deal of things like "heterosexual marriage posters" and it ends up nowhere and never addressed. You don't know what happens with the side characters, and the ending is awkward. With how secure Ryan and his friends are, it's not really believeable that these are characters who are not already out of the closet. If youre dating online, that's public domain - youre exposed, youre out. The movie ends with a coming out party, which shouldn't be the surprise to the mother that it is made to be.

I'm not discouraging anyone from watching. But it just wasn't a very good movie in that you have certain expectations for film as a standard. Slow paced and boring. Main character is straight enough acting but not surpringly gay. If you met this character you might ask yourself in your mind after seeing him, "I wonder if he's gay".
Not enough character development or multi-dimensions of supporting cast. Don't even get me started on the real process of writing a thesis, which was a mishmash here.

You be the judge.
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