Escaping Freedom Image

Escaping Freedom

By Alan Ng | June 12, 2020

Vincent’s struggle at his church is real and common and exponentially worse for church leaders. Calling it a sin is our easy way to deal with the situation rather than understanding and empathizing with that struggle.

As he struggles with accepting his sexuality and romantic feelings toward his colleague Marcus (Jonathan Daniel Miles), he becomes depressed, questions his faith and God, and is unable to help a parishioner with his depression. Blott has nailed this common problem and I have seen this first hand on several occasions. It’s an issue the church refuses to face seriously.

Escaping Freedom deals with the labels foisted on us by our peers in Vincent’s case and the labels given to us through our behavior in Krystal’s. In her pursuit of pleasure, Krystal is branded as being “loose,” “easy,” and a “slut.” For a while, she accepted it but now she wants to shed those labels knowing she’s much more than that. There’s a particularly intense moment as Krystal’s past innocently come knocking on her door.

“Vincent’s struggle at his church is real and common and exponentially worse for church leaders.”

I have one serious issue with Escaping Freedom and it has to do with tone. I’d describe it as overly dark and depressing. At almost 140 minutes, this is a long time to ride along with both protagonists’ dark journey. I felt an emotional exhaustion at the end. A lot is being asked from an audience to keep them in a constant state of depression for over two hours. Even Blott’s use of dreamlike transitions and audio of phone messages the two left each other year ago deepens this tone. It just never lets up. Light moments are needed, not to deny the reality or lessen the truth of the characters, but to keep the audience from shutting down from sadness.

Escaping Freedom has many important things to say about finding and living out our true selves. I like writer/director Blott’s choice in main characters and how their personalities and direction in life contrast one another. Unfortunately, its dark tone is what gets in the way of making the film stand out and find audience acceptance of the story.

Escaping Freedom (2020)

Directed and Written: Edd Blott

Starring: Patrick D. Green, Kelly Godell, Jonathan Daniel Miles, Brian Adrian Koch, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Escaping Freedom Image

"…important things to say about finding and living out our true selves."

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