I can understand how some would not understand or like this movie, as its subject matter is both hard to digest and brutal. A father that refuses to accept his son as being gay, drives him in a drunken rage from the home. His brother completely overwhelmed by the situation and the reaction of his father, sits in stunned silence whilst his brother looks to him for support and comfort. Alas it does not come, and the result which follows is one which tears the family apart, leaving on son dead and the other alienated.
With his brother dead, he flees the home refusing to accept his own part in that evenings events, and as a homeless youth he rebells against all that will show him direction, authority or compassion. He self destructs whilst his father (the chief instrument of both his son's short lived lives) enjoys success as a celebrated judge and community activist. His hypocrisy is perverse, and it is only through his cruel power that he controls his wife and alienated child. You cannot but loath this man, and when he finally faces a revealing confrontation with his son, you feel a little betrayed at the fact that he is not entirely exposed. The extent t which he brutalized his son on that night, makes for a nauseating experience.
Yet it is his grandfather (voiced by Sir Ian McKellan) that reaches out, albeit from the grave. Through a pre-recorded message, he tells his grandson of his time during the war, and how he almost never saw his 19th birthday. The connection is almost supernatural, and the value of his grandfather's intervention is only really understood in the end.
I was both moved and enamored by the story, despite some unfortunate scripting and average acting. Don't expect Oscar performances despite the excellent cast, yet all is worth it in the end as the story itself is both different and well told.