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Fair Haven
Fair Haven (2016)
  • Director:
    Kerstin Karlhuber
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Jack Bryant,Jack Bryant
  • Cast:
    Tom Wopat,Michael Grant,Gregory Harrison
  • Time:
    1h 30min
  • Year:
A young man returns to his family farm, after a long stay in ex-gay conversion therapy, and is torn between the expectations of his emotionally distant father, and the memories of a past, loving relationship he has tried to bury.
Credited cast:
Tom Wopat Tom Wopat - Richard Grant
Michael Grant Michael Grant - James Grant
Gregory Harrison Gregory Harrison - Doctor Gallagher
Jennifer Taylor Jennifer Taylor - Ruby
Josh Green Josh Green - Charlie Green
Lily Anne Harrison Lily Anne Harrison - Suzy Thomas
Tom Malloy Tom Malloy - Reverend Thomas
Lisa Varga Lisa Varga - Patricia Thomas
Denise Dorado Denise Dorado - Helena
Michael Cuddire Michael Cuddire - Sebastian St. John
Joanna Herrington Joanna Herrington - Melissa St. John
Dale Wade Davis Dale Wade Davis - Redneck
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Susan Aser Susan Aser - Mrs. Grant
Madeine Berl Madeine Berl - Teen girl
Peter Doyle Peter Doyle - Father at Train Station

Fair Haven (2016)

Michael Grant is a concert pianist and performed all of the piano pieces. He also helped the filmmakers pick the compositions that he played in the film.

Tom Wopat wrote and performed the song in the end credits for the film.

Tom Wopat drove his own truck in the film. The production team had a picture truck for Tom to drive, but he showed up to set in his own car which was so perfect for his character, Richard, it was used instead.

The film was shot in and around Rochester, NY, although it takes place in Vermont.

Lily Anne Harrison is Gregory Harrison's daughter.

The Human Rights Campaign hosted a red carpet premiere of the film at their headquarters in Washington, DC.

The film was shot in only 14 days.

Train scenes were shot at a train museum. Wider shots of James on the train could not be used as the seats revealed it was an antique.

The location used as the store where Richard delivers apples sadly burned down a year after the shoot.

I have seen a lot of films on sexual repression and confusion but this one is a bit different since it involves a lead character who had ex-gay conversion therapy.

Coming from the treatment center, James has returned home to his dad in his traditional family apple farm business named "Fair Haven". The story unfolds from here, showing how he dreams to study in Berkeley to be a concert pianist. This is against the wishes of his dad who wants him to help him continue managing the farm. The business has problems of its own, and is slowly losing out to organic apple farms.

We see some sessions of the conversion therapy that James experienced during flashbacks (I myself is curious about the whole thing). The therapy only made him more confused and miserable as we see during his pensive moments. In one of his delivery jobs, he sees his old boyfriend Charlie who is still in love with him, rekindling his true love and desires. We can predict what happens next but the film still managed to engage us due to its beautiful theme of following one's love amidst difficulties.

I love the subtle performances especially of James' dad as he tries to make sense of his relationship with his son. I love the classical piano playing, the musical scoring and the beautiful photography. And we can understand why James and Charlie should be together with their believable chemistry and natural affection for each other.

This is one of those films you wouldn't regret watching...
Fair Haven provides a moving account of a father and son coming to terms with a family loss, and the struggle of trying to reconnect after this tragedy. It offers an honest and moving account of the son's readjustment to rural life after having spent time away, and the challenge of the father in rebuilding a close and loving relationship with his son. Both the directing and writing of the film deserve specific praise. The audience is able to be taken along the emotional journey between father and son at a well thought out pace, with each chapter of their relationship unfolding without ever feeling rushed and portrayed by some strong performances from Michael Grant and Tom Wopat. The cinematography also deserves recognition, with the lush greenery of the Vermont farmland adding to the film's sense of 'real-life' authenticity. Fair Haven is a great example of all the best elements of indie film making,telling an important story of a topic that deserves more awareness and doing so with compassion without ever bordering into stereotypes.
Like the title says, this movie isn't perfect because there's a lot of "stuff" going on that can't all be tackled in 90 minutes. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the film needed to be longer.

Viewer may be left asking for some more backstory on a couple of things, and one of the most critical plot-lines of the movie isn't really referenced or confronted very much outside of flashbacks. I understand that may have been intentional, however I don't think it was successful.

With that said, the positive outweighs the negatives big time with this film. It really is a genuine love story with great chemistry between Michael Grant, who plays James; and Josh Green, who plays Charlie. There are moments in the film that captivate you a bit, because of how genuinely you can tell that one cares for the other despite rough times.

The personal struggles of the father are also well-acted, with a number of subtleties that come through really well for a middle-aged, depressed man dealing with the crumbling of everything he knows.

This movie is one of those gay coming-of-age films that really will warm your heart because of the acting. Definitely worth your time.
19 year old James (Michael Grant), a young gay man with dreams of pursuing an education in music, is returning home to his family's apple farm (the titular Fair Haven Orchard) after spending several months at an ex-gay camp, which we learn more about through scattered flashbacks. He is met by his father, Rick (Tom Wopat), a gruff and distant authority figure who James clearly fears, who reveals to James that the young man's college plans are basically finished because the father took the boy's college fund and spent it on the failing orchard while his son was getting 'therapy'. When James expresses desire to play piano professionally - a dream he clearly cherishes, and has a chance at, given the quality of the brief performances we see throughout the film - Dad insists that James go to a tech school, and learn to run the orchard after he passes.

Believing himself to have little other recourse, James starts helping around the orchard, and one day is asked to deliver some crates to a buyer. When James arrives at the buyer, he is surprised to discover that the young man accepting deliveries is his former boyfriend Charlie (Josh Green), who is cautiously thrilled to see James and worried about what happened during his time away. James suffers a kind of existential panic, and flees, rushing home to ask - beg - to go to church, where the sermon is, of course, all about 'sin' and 'lust'. As they leave, James is rather quickly set up with the pastors daughter, Suzie (Lily Anne Harrison), a sweet girl with a promise ring and the kind of rosy-cheeked, innocent vigor for Christ that you only read about. Despite his complicated feelings about...well, EVERYTHING...James begins to date Suzie, while also re-igniting his friendship with Charlie and working with his father.

To say more would be to straight up synopsize the entire film, so I'll leave off there and move to the review.

"Should I see this movie?" I think it really depends on you. If you are a member of one of the denominations of 'Christianity' which believes the things espoused by the camp and church in the film, then you will not like it. But then, you likely didn't finish the review anyway, so...who cares? If you, like me, are someone who has gone through the struggle to balance a religious upbringing and 'deviant' sexuality, has suffered abuse, however unintentional, at the hand of a distant parent, or are just the kind of person who likes a well-crafted, well-acted film about controversial subjects and human nature - one that, blessedly, doesn't end with the main character dying or losing everything or closeted and miserable - then I'd say it's worth the ticket price. And more than one viewing.
The real-feeling characters hurdle over the genre norm and you want to stand up and cheer for them.

The well-acted script is all-heart, and never do you have the impression that these couldn't be real people. Kudos to Wopat and Green, and Bryant for lovely writing.
This is one of the films that I thought would not enjoy. A Pastor that has his subjects in thrall, and a boy who initially denies his true affections to the extent of dating his neighbourhood girl friend. For me, the defining moments were when James realised that Charlie needed help to cope with his injury, and James came to his rescue with an offer to drive him home. The other very emotional moment was, for me, when James and Charlie were lakeside and Charlie layed his hand on James.That released a torrent of feelings that would be difficult to describe. A very lovely film, that I would highly recommend. As an aside, Michael Grant (James) is an accomplished concert pianist, and all the piano pieces were performed by him. Watch it - and enjoy!
When Fair Haven came to my attention at first I thought it was going to be about the ill effects of conversion therapy. But that was only part of it. What it really is about is gay life or the lack thereof in small town America.

Young Michael Grant has just returned home after an extended stay with Gregory Harrison who is a man advertising he can cure the gay disease. His father Tom Wopat who has not yet gotten over the loss of his wife and Grant's mother is a distant figure carrying on the responsibility of running the family farm which has been in his family for generations in Red State America and he wants his son to carry on. Grant however here and in real life is a pianist and he wants to go to a school to study music.

This gay thing they both hope is history because Wopat spent enough money on this place he found on line. One who is glad to see Grant is Josh Green who was Grant's lover and whom it is whispered about. But as per what he's been told he angrily pushes Green away. But I think you can safely assume that will not be permanent.

Harrison does very well in a part that could have been satirized and stereotyped. In his flashback counseling sessions, Harrison has some degrees on his wall, but most prominent is that cross right in the center. He cannot think outside the box his religion has him in. In a group counseling session he tells of the absolute impossibility of romantic love between a same gender pair. We're put here on earth to pro-create and romance is only for heterosexuals. This notion is at the heart of the opponents of conversion therapy ban. And since it is not sanctioned in the only written authority that they recognize, the Bible, ergo it is wrong and a sin. Evidence before their eyes notwithstanding.

Fair Haven is more about how life is in small town America for gays. Rule of thumb I've found is that LGBT people for about 99% leave small towns and go to cities just to find a community. Farther away you are from a big city the lonelier you are if you are gay. Poor Green who has been less discreet also gets beaten up by some unknown rednecks. That event also triggers Grant into making him realize he was born this way.

In the end Wopat shows he's not the bad guy we initially think he is. What the future holds for Grant and Green we don't know. But that very speculation partly makes Fair Haven a great film. The rest is a realistic portrayal of small town America not stereotyped at all.
This movie touches on conversion therapy which has been proved to screw people up. It has some charm, and the acting is fine. It was a bit formulaic, with the gay son and his dad not getting along, been then again that is true with a lot of gay men, but of course not all. It would have been nice to see gay actors playing these parts, but I also realize they need some actors with some sort of a fan base so the movie gets seen. This film was not life changing, but is worth a look, and who does not like a hopeful, happy ending?
The lead actor does a phenomenal job of portraying internal struggle and self-hatred. The body language and facial expressions showed the complexity beautifully. The father was a good portrayal of the traditional values man who loves his son and wants what's best. I hoped for a longer display of the boys' romance, but it was fulfilling in the love shown during their interactions.
Did not get what I was looking for, but the film was enjoyable for its simpleness. Ordinary characters like you could find them in rural, and they are fighting for their beliefs. Caught between what's right for his own eye, but wrong for others, a teenager named James who is about to admit to a college is tangled up in a romance puzzle. After returning from rehab, now he has to comply with the expectations around him. His father does all he can to help him out, but seems not understood his position very well. In his short period of stay before the college, all the developments he sees are revealed to us.

For a B movie, it has a better quality. Impressive in all the level, but not very exciting screenplay. Usually predictable scenes and dialogues. Seems more like would have been a better short film than a feature film. Being a 90 minute stretch, there's nothing to remember the film after a few days its watch. Everything's are already seen in one or the other films. So watching it once would make you no harm, but not a must see, even if you are a big backer of LGBT. Just have a low expectation, that's all.

In this superior coming of age story, we see a young man (James) fresh out of spending several months in a gay conversion coming home to his widowed father Richard to help him run the family business, the Fair Haven orchard which has been in his family for a few generations.

Through the course of the movie we see in flashbacks James at the conversion therapy being brainwashed and badgered into accepting the dogmatic Christian anti-gay doctrine by the "therapist" Dr Gallagher. We see James tortured responses to Gallagher as he tries to reconcile his real feelings with answers he feels will please Gallagher.

As James spends the next few weeks back home, we see him deal with his father, a broken man who has turned to heavy drinking from his inability to deal with his wife's death, as well as some heavy decisions on what to do with his life. On the one hand, he is pressured by his father to give up college to work the family farm and date the minister's daughter.

Meeting up with a former boyfriend (Charlie) while doing a delivery, James starts to question what he was taught in the therapy and the life he has sacrificed his happiness to please his father. Hesitant to rekindle any relationship with Charlie, James eventually warms up to Charlie and realizes he is still very much in love with him.

The internal conflict reaches a boiling point with James confronting his father resulting in decisions that alter each other's lives for the better.

The movie is extremely well acted, with Tom Wopat(Richard), Michael Grant(James) and Josh Green(Charlie) doing an outstanding job with their characters. You feel for each of the character's pain and for the heavy weight of the strain they are under.

A highly recommended movie.
There will be a reckoning one day for those who try to "fix" gay kids. Though this particular film doesn't delve too deeply into scars left by those efforts it does provide a window into the families who wake up one day to find that their child is gay and then ship them away to a stranger to "fix" them in the name of Jesus. I have two words to say about that practice - Jesus wept...

OK, now to the film. It's good. It's worth your time. The actors are excellent. The script they're working with doesn't help them much though. Michael Grant, playing the main character, James, renders a thoughtful and moving depiction of a young man torn by what he believes is true for him, but against what the world at large would prefer for him. Lily Anne Harrison, who plays his girlfriend for a brief minute, makes an endearing impression with very little screen time. And Josh Green, playing Jame's former boyfriend, is equally engaging. Tom Wopat, playing a grieved and confused father, is heartbreaking and sympathetic even when you'd like to throttle him. Director Kirsten Karlhuber uses long pauses implying deep reflection. I liked it. Sometimes saying nothing invites the audience to sort out the narrative for themselves. It works well here. The flat cinematography is most likely due to the very tight budget of this film. It's as if the cameras were bolted to the ground and the actors just told to run around in front of them and deliver lines. It's unfortunate because there was a lot to work with here; Vermont landscapes, cool farm house, and some very touching performances.

This is a good film about a terrible thing that some churches do. They take vulnerable children and then emotionally and spiritually abuse them by making them believe that they are mistakes. It is hideous. Note that no film has ever been made about the gay person who found Jesus and lived happily ever after as a heterosexual. No one has ever stepped forward and said, "please make a movie about my life as someone who was gay and is now straight, married, and very happy." Why? Because that has never happened because THAT person doesn't exist. The Ex Gay movement is littered with the tortured souls that tried to be THAT person only to realize that they were wrong. I can't wait for the day when the "Ex Gay" movement finds its rightful place in history with the crusades and witch burning.
A quiet, thoughtful, inspiring story of a young gay man's coming of age and dealing with his sexual orientation in a small rural Vermont town (although I believe it may actually have been filmed in upstate New York). Previous reviewers have thoroughly analyzed the film's plot and theme, so I will only add a few of my own takes upon it.

The relationship between James (Michael Grant) and his father (Tom Wopat) was especially poignant. They both love each other, but are too emotionally reserved to express it. They are locked together in a terrible intimacy which words cannot penetrate. James' heartfelt desire is to attend Berkeley College of Music in Boston and to become a concert pianist, while his father's heartfelt wish is to pass the Fair Haven apple-orchard, which has been in the family for 4 generations, on to him. And so they are continually in conflict, though they look for ways to compromise. Eventually James and his father decide that for now he will help his father with running the orchard, and will take some courses at the local community college.

I believe that James' transition from struggling to live a heterosexual life to accepting his innate homosexual orientation is a bit too sudden and abrupt. By the end of his time in the anti-gay conversion therapy centre, James had made a commitment to strive to avoid the occasions of sin and temptation, and to live a heterosexual life, complete with wife and children. Dr. Gallagher and James pray together for the strength to do this. James takes this commitment very seriously.

Now when James accidentally meets up with his old boyfriend Charlie (Josh Green), he knows temptation when he sees it. James treats Charlie rudely and keeps his distance, as he'd been advised to do in therapy. He goes to church to pray the gay away, and is introduced to the minister's daughter, Suzie. He calls up Suzie (Lily Anne Harrison), and invites her out on a date. Suzie is a religious but open-minded young woman, and she clearly feels great affection for James.

At the beginning of the following week, having dinner with Suzie and her parents, although polite and friendly, James was quiet, withdrawn, and obviously uncomfortable. He was probably thinking about his previous date with Suzie. When he dropped her off at her house, they'd shared a quick attempt at a kiss. But the heterosexual physical feelings, which James had been led to expect during his therapy with Dr. Gallagher (Gregory Harrison) would kick in, never happened. James is probably concerned and worried about this, and agonizes over it.

Nevertheless, later that evening when he gives Charlie a ride home, it's only reluctantly that he agrees to meet up with him to hang out together on Saturday, as long as "nothing weird" occurs. But on Saturday morning, James is primping in the mirror, something that young men frequently do before going out on a date with someone they hope to impress, but seldom when going to just hang out with friends. He ignores a text message from Suzie. At the lake, while telling Charlie about his sojourn at the ex-gay conversion centre, James is introspective and pensive, but doesn't seem as agonized as he did earlier. But it's clear that it was a traumatic experience for him. Charlie gently places his hand on James' in a gesture of friendship and support, but he's also probably discreetly sending a signal that he'd welcome the resumption of their previous relationship. It doesn't take long before James grabs him and they begin kissing passionately. By nightfall, they can't wait to head for the barn and hop into the sack with each other. Dr. Gallagher would surely be freaking out.

It seems to me that James' transition from struggling to lead a heterosexual life, to accepting his gay sexuality, happens too fast. But it's probably due to the movie's time constraints.

I also felt that Suzie's reaction after inadvertently coming upon James and Charlie in the barn was a bit over-the-top . She was obviously shocked and upset. I'm not sure if her reaction was homophobic or not. She told James to stay away from her, called him "disgusting", and slapped his face. But maybe she'd have done the same thing if she'd encountered him with another girl. But I think that her reaction was a bit too exaggerated. Perhaps the film wanted to contrast James' fulfilling, happy physical relationship with Charlie with the future miserable relationship he'd potentially have with Suzie, if he didn't break up with her. But it presented Suzie as a shrill drama-queen, and glossed too smoothly over the real pain and distress that she must have felt.

The father's coming to terms with his son's gay sexuality at the end was also moving and poignant. His statement that he doesn't know if he'll ever understand it, but that he needs to be better at accepting it, covers it all. He realizes that in his own youth, he too hoped to leave the orchard, and head off to a more fulfilling career, somthing that never happened. He tells James that " the farm's not family, we are...." As they say goodbye at the end, and James and Charlie head for Boston, father and son hug each other. Life is strange, and full of unforeseen outcomes as it unfolds before us. Like the song says, sometimes love means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go. Fair Haven has done a good job of depicting this.

I saw Fair Haven on TV during a Showtime Channel watchathon. First time I'd seen Tom Wopat since Dukes of Hazzard, and first time I'd seen Gregory Harrison since Trapper John. Quite a bit of water has passed under the bridge since those days, and this movie was a worthwhile and different addition to their acting careers.
I enjoyed this film immensely it deals with an issue that is close to my heart as I am a Gay man, the subject at the start of the movie Gay conversion therapy the biggest bunch of Non anectodical. The American Psychiatric Association APA opposes psychiatric treatment "based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation"8 and describes attempts to change sexual orientation by practitioners as unethical.6 It also states

this is a film that will make you think and I mean think on a deep metaphysical level it will make you think about your attitudes and how hate is WRONG. I do not recommend this film for kids under 16 due to Brief Sexual content that is not Inappropriate and this film deals with adult issues and themes Please Only upper age Teens Sixteen and above I would rate it PG 13+++++ and give it Ten Stars this is a very emotional film full of complex issues But that being said it is a very heart felt story that is very well written Kudos to the director and the editor and Thank you for your great film
This movie was simple ,direct and real. The subject matter topical. These so called " Christian" re -education centers. that use techniques outlawed under the "GENEVA" convention! Yet it didn't fall into the trap of cliche. This was an amazing collaboration between writers,director and actors. It was not really what the actors said. It was what they didn't. The thoughtful pauses and pacing. At the end of this movie you will want too know more of what the outcome was. Do the two young guys from rural New England find happiness in a Big City College.?

We have seen several LGBT movies that deal with so called " Christian" Re-education Centers. Notably was "Latter Days". If you get a chance to speak with a Man or Woman who has been through this incredible ordeal you will never forget it.
A wonderful romantic movie with a complicated father/son relationship.
I'd heard about this film a while ago, but was unable to view it in its entirety, until this passed weekend. I did find that the film did touch on a few very important human issues, which may have needed a little soul searching for some of the active viewers out there to date in 2018, without much doubt at all, too! The last scene when The Dad said to his one and only child that His Mom, who unfortunately was no longer with them, would have "Been Proud" was quite touching, but I strongly do believe that his "One & Only Child" would have most certainly wanted to have heard that his Biological Dad was also "Proud" of his one and only child as well, too! Surely Beyond Food For Thought, that's for darn sure here to date in 2018 as well, too!