The Inspection Review

Review by Karl

Although this movie is intended for a more mature audience, I would submit that some youth struggling with their sexual orientation could gain some insight or perspective from the situations introduced in the movie. The Inspection is based on the true-life experiences of film writer and director Elegance Bratton. At the movie’s beginning, we are introduced to Ellis French (Jeremy Pope). Ellis is a young African American male who is also gay. His mother, Inez French (Gabrielle Union), vehemently opposes homosexuality and has kicked Ellis out of their New Jersey home. As a result, Ellis becomes a homeless youth doing the best that he can to survive on the streets.

In many ways, Ellis appears to be at a very dark and low point in his life and does not have many options that will lead to a successful future. As a result, Ellis decides to join the Marines to escape some of the troubling life experiences he has been encountering.

After enlisting in the Marines, Ellis seems to be on his way to working towards a better future. Unfortunately, things do not turn out as expected. Some unanticipated circumstances result in boot camp recruits discovering that Ellis is gay. By all accounts, the boot camp experience is typically grueling for most people. Once some of the other recruits realize Ellis is gay, however, they start to make the boot camp experience more difficult for Ellis by making his life a living nightmare. This results in Ellis feeling ostracized, unwelcomed, and being physically abused by the people in his inner circle.

Ellis, in my opinion, experiences multiple layers of rejection: family, military, and those in society who are against homosexuality in general. I appreciated and admired Ellis because of his refusal to give up even when the odds, in most ways, seemed against him.

Personally, I have witnessed situations with family members and friends who were rejected by some relatives, friends, and church members because they were gay. Unfortunately, many of them are no longer here because, in many ways, I am guessing that they either lost hope or gave up and perished due to drugs, alcohol, or suicide.

Some may wonder why Ellis decided to endure the abuse of trying to become a Marine. I will end with one of his statements that offered a deeper understanding of his story: “Mom won’t talk to me. My friends are either dead or in jail. If I die in this uniform, I’m a hero to somebody instead of just another homeless faggot. The streets are going to kill me.”

The Inspection is available at one of our branches.