“The Jaundiced Eye” is a documentary about a gay man and his father from Monroe, Michigan.
The two are falsely accused of sexual abuse of the 6 year old son by the younger man’s ex-wife by her homophobic new husband. The isolation that the case caused is shown. The entire movie has the feel of the old witch hunts. The lawyer for the accused in incompetent and has no care as to what will happen to the two men. In fact, he is completely ill at ease in defending a gay person. The movie shows both sides of the issue but is basically favorable to the gay side. We know that an accusation of sexual molestation, whether true or not, can change a person’s life forever. Since documentaries are based upon real life, what we get here is real life.
This is a twisted tale and I found it to be completely amazing to see how easy it s to be accused of such a crime in modern America. The movie shows the cost of true freedom and Amy Sommer, the director, raises the level of documentary filmmaking with this effort. She gives us the ever searching unblinking eye and through it we learn how dear justice really is.
To see two men arrested and wrongly accused of child molestation is frightening. It also shows the devastating effect of homophobia—the way it affects our justice system and our lives and the bias felt in the United States.
Stephen Matthews and Melvin Matthews each were sentenced to 35 years in prison because Stephen’s ex-wife and boyfriend convinced the boy to claim that he had been molested by the two. There was no physical evidence and the men’s attorney could not be bothered with the case.
The film also looks at the subsequent appeal and finally the men’s return to society—a society that, despite their innocence, wanted no part of them.
Many of us think that we live in a world that forgives but this movie proves the opposite. We see a system more concerned with handing out punitive sentences rather than searching for the truth. This is what makes this film both difficult and impossible to ignore. The plight of these tow men is so awful that it is impossible to watch a movie like this with dry eyes.