Mark Wahlberg doesn’t get bullied. In his recent film Infinite he pops out fully-formed as an action hero and never looks back. So he’s, I guess, an interesting choice to star in Joe Bell, based on a true story about one father’s journey to spread the word about the tragic cost of bullying.
Formerly titled Good Joe Bell, the film tells the true story of Jadin Bell, who was bullied mercilessly at school for being gay. He doesn’t face the warmest of treatment at home from his father Joe, either, who is unable to voice his acceptance of his son. When Jadin commits suicide, Joe sets out on a cross-country walk as part of an anti-bullying campaign.
Joe’s story made headlines back in 2013. He quit his job and helped launch Faces for Change, speaking in schools all across America. Unfortunately, even that part of the story ends in tragedy, so get ready for a real tearjerker here.
The film is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), and co-stars Reid Miller, John Murray, Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins, and Gary Sinise.
I’m not going to sit here and judge Wahlberg for starring in an anti-bullying film given certain indiscretions in his past back when he was young. Everyone deserves a chance to make amends, and this is, in part, a good way to do that.
Joe Bell opens on July 23rd 2021.
Joe Bell is based on the powerful true story of a small town, working class father (Mark Wahlberg) who embarks on a solo walk across the United States to crusade against bullying after his gay teenage son, Jadin (Reid Miller) is tormented in high school. Joe makes his way along the breathtaking expanse heading from Oregon to New York City, delivering a simple message of tolerance from a father’s perspective, hoping to reach those who may be open to hearing it from someone like themselves. Confronting many hardships, Joe ultimately shows us all that you can make a difference if you just take it one step at a time.