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  • The night I saw this movie, I had no idea it was going to be on. I don't remember seeing any promotion for it - and wonder how many people actually watched it.

    On that same note, I really didn't know much about Matthew either. I'm a gay male, who's grown up in Canada all my life. I remember when it happened, reading it in the newspaper. Talking about it one night, but not knowing anything about it other than that it had happened.

    I've read a few reviews on this movie, most of them saying this movie doesn't portray Matthew enough, that he lacks presence in the movie. I disagree.

    At the end of the two hour special, I was in tears.

    If you haven't heard, the Matthew Shepard story is a true story about a young man from Laramie, Wyoming who is beaten to death by two men - because he is gay.

    The movie mainly focuses on his parents, played wonderfully by Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing - a year after his death and how they are dealing with the trial. Should they, or shouldn't they ask for the death penalty for his killers. Matthew appears <in a lot of the film> in flashbacks that show you most of his adult life.

    You see him leaving for Switzerland while his parents are working in Saudi Arabia, learn that he is raped in Morocco <on a class trip>, comes back to Laramie, moves to Denver for awhile and comes back - only to be lured away by his two killers.

    It's a great film, that managed to keep me interested for the entire two hours. Matthew was so innocent, and I can't believe things like this actually still happen.

    If you haven't seen, I hope they'll run it again some time. It really is something to see. To watch how innocent he was at it all is really sad. As I said, I was crying - which is something I don't usually do at a TV show. I strongly recommend it, not only for it's true portrayal of this family's grief but to also learn that people's lives are taken away for such stupid reasons.

    Matthew's become sort of a gay icon in North America, I can see why.

  • Rod Evan7 October 2005
    The subject matter of this film was fairly abstract to me until I saw this film. You read the story of the murder and the trial, but somehow you don't get a clear picture of what really happened.

    This is a heart breaking film. Some of us tend to judge America by its awful Capital Punishment laws, its brutality, its terrible president and we can forget that there are people working against these horrors. It is people like Stockard Channing and if my eyes didn't deceive me Goldie Hawn (executive producer) who can help make you reconsider what is happening there.

    What was on trial in this film was humanity itself and against all the odds humanity won over. Lets hope that George Bush and his reactionary government will accidentally see this film one night when they have something better to do. That's my fantasy and like the film's ultimate hope I'll stick to it.
  • Then my crying after the movie was completely justified. I had no idea! I did not really follow the entire case (scary, huh? especially since I *am* gay and was in school -- okay, graduate school) which is probably why I didn't get caught up with the story, back then or subsequently.

    I'm glad NBC decided to air the movie (which does not surprise me, since "Will & Grace" is also aired on the same network, as are several other shows with gay characters).

    I liked the acting in it very much -- Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston were really good. Shane Meier (sidebar: yum!) was excellent and convincing and really knew how to elicit sympathy from the viewer. I hope this comes out on video or gets packaged for sale on video soon. I am not a human rights or gay rights expert, or even activist, by any stretch of the imagination, and will not pretend to be one now, but the movie really was quite human and tugs at your heartstrings. Clearly, for other than sentimental reasons, this is a good movie to have been made and aired -- perhaps in some small way, it would contribute to fair and respectful treatment of others who are of a different persuasion altogeter.
  • The Matthew Shepard Story was a great tribute to his life, and what happened to him when and after he died. You will have to see it to make your own opinions, but my opinion is it was undoubtfully great! So many things remind me of my own life, which make it even better. I do recommend this movie to young/old, gay/straight, man/woman, just everyone!
  • We live in a visual age and the horrifying thing about Matthew Shepard's demise is that it is far from an isolated incident. I'm in a better position to know more than most because I worked for New York State Crime Victims Board for 23 years. I can give the reader the names of several victims of horrifying incidents that resulted in homicide or serious injury, but these cases were covered locally or at most statewide.

    The real hero in The Matthew Shepard Story as far as I'm concerned is some anonymous individual working for a wire service who picked up the local story of a kid being left for dead on a lonely road on a barbed wire fence in the state of Wyoming in a coma. The visual picture of little Matthew all 5'3" of him stretched out like he was crucified gave a nationwide picture for America to ponder the effects of hate crimes against GLBT people. For the first time in our history a case like this got national coverage.

    There were rallies in all 50 states calling for GLBT inclusive hate crime legislation. I remember attending one in Buffalo and with me was a friend who actually went to the University of Wyoming some twenty years earlier. He told me that Laramie, Wyoming was not the most gay friendly place in the world, but that he never had any serious problems that put him in fear of his life there.

    The Matthew Shepard Story is as much about his parents Dennis and Judy Shepard played here by Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing and there efforts to support their gay son in life and give his death meaning as it is about Matthew who is portrayed by Shane Meier. Matthew was nothing special in life, just your average gay kid, trying to fit into a world that can be real hostile. He had his angst over his sexual orientation, but looked to be adjusting to it.

    In my life I've also seen parents who behaved abominably when their kids came out or even when they suspected. The support that Dennis and Judy Shepard gave in life and after can never be overestimated. Sam Waterston has had many a courtroom moment as ADA Jack McCoy, but addressing the court and the perpetrators in the penalty phase of the trial of McKinney and Henderson might just have been his best.

    Philip Morris, Wayne Purviance, Julio Rivera, James Zappalorti, Henry Marquez all may have met Matthew Shepard as he went from one plain of existence to another. Any one of them could have gotten the national coverage that Matthew Shepard did, it was fate that got him the national coverage they didn't have. Matthew was a national symbol for them as well as millions of others over time.

    And so he tragically remains.
  • I can only hope that at least a few people who were not familiar with the case saw this thought provoking accurate portayal of a horrendous hateful act and its aftermath. As usual, Sam Watterston and Stockard Channing did an excellent job portraying the grieving parents. Any parent should relate to the turmoil, self-blame and general heart break that Judy and Dennis Shepard went through during that horrible period of time. Also, the agony that Dennis Shepard endured before he finally made his last minute decision about the death penalty was extremely well-done. I hope this movie will pave the way for others like it and and hopefully change the minds of some who might be "on the fence" regarding hate crime legislation.
  • I found this to be a very touching and moving movie with wonderful performances by all, however, I felt it would have been much better without all the grainy and artistic camera shots, and that the movie would have been more effective if told from the beginning to the end rather than jumping forward, back, forward, and showing so many flashbacks. It was beautiful and brave to show the kiss between Matthew and his friend, but they could have explored that relationship a bit more so that we could feel a little more like we knew something of Matthew's life. Overall, I think it was a very sad and scary tale of what hate and discrimination and prejudice can do to everyone when they get out of control. I seriously hope everyone will learn from the tragic tale of Matthew Sheppard's life and this movie.
  • Why does it take something this idiotic to create such a fantastic story. The fact that this story is true, is truly sad. Stockard Channing and Sam W. did a great job portraying a couple torn over the senseless loss of a son. The fact that Matthew Shepard was portrayed as a less than perfect human was well done. To demonstrate that we are all imperfect, but deserved to be loved for the beings we are. God loves all of us, and anyone who say other wise is Wrong, Ignorant, Stupid, or Blind!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It was a great movie, and a story that HAD to be told, and has to be told for many more years to come. The senseless beating up of people just because they are different has to stop. The play of Stockard Channing is dignified and a worthy tribute to Matthew, Besides that, this movie is a great display of thoughts AGAINST death penalty, and I just hope that death sentence will stop, sooner or later.

    In response to earlier questions: Matthew lived another 5 days, before he succumbed. And McCinnick still serves his sentence, did not go to death-row, and I hope he will serve his sentence for many more years, in remembrance of Matthew.
  • Yes, it's important to protect the lives of gay citizens, just as it is to protect anyone else. Matthew Shepard's murder was the touchstone that led to the passage of hate crime laws that made it, in the eyes of the law, worse to murder someone for reasons of bias than to murder them for some more acceptable (?) motive, like robbery. Trouble is, Shepard was likely NOT attacked for his sexual orientation.

    Award-winning journalist Stephen Jimenez (who is gay) spent 13 years investigating the incident. He found it unlikely that the killers were motivated by anti-gay bias: Aaron McKinney, one of the killers, was HIMSELF gay, and had, in fact, been involved with Shepard in the past; this had been witnessed by some of the local police.

    Arresting officer Flint Waters himself said "I believe to this day that McKinney and Henderson were trying to find Matthew's house so they could steal his drugs. It was fairly well known in the Laramie community that McKinney wouldn't be one that was striking out of a sense of homophobia. Some of the officers I worked with had caught him in a sexual act with another man, so it didn't fit - none of that made any sense."

    The actual motive, it turns out, was that Shepard and his two attackers all used and dealt drugs in the Laramie community, and the two attackers were simply trying to get Shepard to reveal the location of a $10,000 stash of crystal meth they knew him to have recently received.

    It is heartbreaking when any young person is brutally assaulted and left for dead, and anyone who commits such a crime deserves the full consequences of the law. But while it was convenient to portray this attack as a "hate crime," the facts just don't bear it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What shocked me the most about this film is that I was also born in 1977 and was just coming out at university in 1998. I could totally identify with the young innocent Matthew walking along the street seeming slightly embarrassed behind his new gay friends from university. I did many a similar thing and what gets me is that I too could have been killed. But at the time, I felt free as a bird and like my life could not get any better. Thats what gives me the chills - it could have happened to me. It still could happen. Its frightening.

    I was swept away by his relationship with Pablo; the stolen kiss; the painting; the play. I cried when after he was raped, Matthew came out to his mother, and she said, "I know". It was all too familiar, how his mum saw the photos on the wall and suspected he was gay. I watched the film with my mum the other day, and it reminded us of the time when mum suspected I was gay, and she said to me, "a mother always knows these things". How true.

    The movie is well made, I actually enjoyed the flashbacks rather than having it presented in sequential order. It will be repeated on FOXTEL here in Sydney this month (Jan 07) and I will be taping it. Special praise is due to the actor who played Matthew and his parents.

    Ultimately, the movie gets my thumbs up because, as you can see, it reminded me a lot of my coming out experience and my younger days when I began exploring the big gay world. I'm thankful I am still here to remember it, and I deplore what happened to Matthew. Poor Matthew and poor parents. :-(
  • He wasn't killed because he was gay. He was killed because of drugs by another gay man.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have read all the summaries, all 21 of them. What a turnout of a 300 million inhabitants. It seems to me that there are only a handful who care or have the gumption to express an opinion about the film. This makes me sad and tired. In my humble opinion Matthew Shepard died for noting, nothing at all. This otherwise admirable nation is cloven into a myriad of minorities held together by something called America. It is foolish to use this term to judge the innocent lifestyles of others. Matthew is a case in point. Yes he was raped in Morocco but he was bludgeoned to death in America. There are many more intelligent and eloquent people than me who have expressed their views on this site. But do tell me in what civilized society has a person been killed for his or her sexual preference in the last hundred years? America, you have a lot to learn even in warfare which does not seem to go too well lately. I mean no harm. The players were exquisite one and all. There is only so much you can fit into a short TV-film. Looking back on Brokeback Mountain. Isn't it high time that the gay man doesn't either go mad or is brutally killed and maimed. As an admirer of American cinema I long for that. When do you think that will happen. Never I fear.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought that this was a great movie about a great and wonderful person. I had to tape this movie because I like it so much. My favorite part is when Matt, is getting ready for the prom and when him and Pablo paint each other's faces with Home Depot like paint. I think that it's a tragic story about him going through so much trauma in his life. I know what all that is like because I have also had to go through all that too. I have a lot in common with Matthew, not about being gay, but I've also got ADHD and other disabilities. I have also had other people sometimes ridicule me. But I have found my own friends and I thank God for that and that I have all the support I need. Kudos to everyone! Two Thumbs Way Up!
  • I watched The Matthew Shepard Story on the same night that The Laramie Project was being shown and I purposely watched it in fits and starts, switching back and forth between the two. The opening minutes of The Matthew Shepard Story were almost more than I could bear.I switched back quickly to the more sanitized version of Matt's torture and brutal murder - where he was an off-screen presence - where the absolute horror of that night was not played out in front of your eyes. It is the real story of that night which proved to be the images which still stay with me one year after the showing of the movie. The film was one that had to be made, where the viewer is allowed into the Shepard family and invited to feel their struggles to understand , to face their grief and their questions which any of us who are parents constantly face - How can we protect our children from the world full of things that can hurt them? How do you find peace in so much terror? The acting is,in my view extremely powerful and vulnerable at the same time, and Shane Meier's portrayal of Matthew tugs at your heart. I would recommend this movie highly and hope that it is available to the public at some point. It opened my heart and further opened my mind. I have not been the same since viewing it.
  • this movie was really moving. Matthew Shepard died in the hospital, not tied to the fence and the people that killed him got life in prison not the death penalty. I don't even agree with capital punishment and i think that they should have got it. Stockard Channing was amazing and Sam Waterston was awesome too. But I give the biggest praises to Shane Meier. He was truly fantastic and the movie wouldn't have been the same without him. He even looks a lot like the real Matthew Shepard. This movie made me rethink my faith and I think everyone should see this movie, but bring a big box of Kleenex.
  • I just watched this movie on my local NBC station, and let me say, for those of you who missed, I feel very sorry. It is one of those stories that you always knew was tragic, but until you sit and watch the real story behind it, you have no idea.

    It's the story of Matthew Shepard, the homosexual male that was brutally murdered in 1998. The movie stars Stockard Channing, as Matthews mother, Judy. I am very glad that she was cast. She was able to allow the audience into the heart of this mother who has been through so much.

    Great job goes out to everyone involved in the making of this television drama. It's a great movie to see, and after watching it, you will gain so much on a personal level.
  • The Matthew Shepard Story Very Powerful Film Please Check It Out I Just Got Done Watching It Very Powerful Rest In Peace Mattew Shepard
  • This young man had every right to live the same as us but because of bullies and people who hate homosexuals because of their lifestyle I have several friends that are homosexual so give them the respect that they deserve they have enough problems without people adding to them. I watched the television movie and it broke my heart to see how they beat and left him for dead. I support the Matthew Shepard foundation I know that his Family will live that horrible day over and over my heart and prayers will continue to be with the Shepard Family. I lived the homosexual life and I was always on edge I did not want anyone to know how I spent my free time so yes it is not an easy life to live. try to keep an open mind so the next time you meet someone that is homosexual treat them with respect. but I believe that his story tells it all and helps people come more to understand and respect homosexuals. If you have not seen "The Matthew Shepard Story" you need see it.
  • gradyharp18 April 2011
    THE MATTHEW SHEPARD STORY is a made for television movie made in 2002 and only recently released on DVD. It is time for us all to see this film again as a reminder of how heinous was this incident that rocked the world. Matthew Shephard (December 1, 1976 - October 12, 1998) as a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and beaten and left o die on a barbed wire fence in the prairie of Wyoming - because he was gay. Writers John Wierick and Jacob Krueger gathered the information surrounding this event and the subsequent events following his death, focusing on the trial and the difficult gesture his parents made concerning the fate of the murderers.

    Roger Spottiswoode directed this compelling film, electing to engage the talents of Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston as the parents of Mathhew (played with great dignity by Shane Meier). The remainder of the cast includes such touching portraits of the others involved in this tragedy as played by Tani Gellman, Wendy Crewson and Kristen Thompson. While the dram a of this film is not in the same arena as 'Teh Laramie Project', it still is a potent reminder of an unnecessary injustice that unfortunately is still being played out across the country. Perhpas with the DVD now available for wider viewing the crime will affect more people to action begun by Judy Shepard. Grady Harp, April 11
  • Bravo to Executive Producer Goldie Hawn, however I thought the use of grainy film footage for the flashback scenes were unnecessary. This film would have played better if told in a three-act style (beginning, middle, end). I appreciate the fact that someone cared enough to tell this story about Matthew Shepard who apparently, according to this movie, had a private life, a personal friend, and had his whole life ahead of him. Everything looked good. Then he was unwillingly raped in Morocco. After coming to grips with his homosexuality and after he moved back to his hometown where he felt safe, another tragedy happened to him. An innocent night out turned into someone tying Matthew Shepard to a fence out in the middle of nowhere and repeatedly beat him with a pistol. It was fatal. Two things bother me about this film is that when (according to the movie) the police woman found Matthew Shepard the next morning during twilight/sunrise, still tied to the fence, we see a close-up of tears running down his face. This might make you think he was still alive when the officer found him. Having not paid attention to this story on the news, I do not really know what the actual facts are, but I would like to know if Matthew Shepard died during the beatings or did he die the next morning with the police officer holding him tenderly. The other thing is after the movie has ended we still do not know what the final sentencing of the criminal is. Did he get life in prison? They should not leave the audience hanging on like this.
  • While I respect the review about the assailants being addicts in their life, the comment saying that the film capitalizes more on what the press spun is not right. The press barely had any thing to put up and quite honestly there are still more people unfamiliar w/ this true story than you would think.

    The idea the reviewer had about this being more of a robbery that spun into a rage due to drug testing is ill informed and just a person's way to minimalize the fact it was a hate crime.

    1) if it was robbery why only take his wallet and shoes, no substantial amount for the beating that he got which as premaditated.

    2) the police continuously tested both assailants of drugs and no they tested negative.

    3) the assailants first defense was that it was due to "gay panic defense". A defense officially used in court when someone is homophobic and is in fear of being attacked by a homosexual. If that was their first defense....then it wasn't a robbery...wake up.

    As for the movie, it was OK. Unfortunately budget comes into the picture and you need an audience sympathetic to the story. A long time ago no one would watch a movie about blacks being persecuted but since the 70s there is a market for it due to the people knowing how wrong discrimination of color is. However, there still isn't a market for gay bashing since most are not yet sympathetic to the victim.

    it will take years. w/o this demograph, not much budget is put into making the film and budget is always needed to tell a true story of this proportion.
  • In 1998, a gay college student was brutally murdered in a hate crime. His was a heartbreaking, tragic story, one that was tastelessly turned into two television movies in 2002: The Laramie Project and The Matthew Shepard Story. Wasn't his family put through enough, without being haunted with Hollywood renditions of the worst part of their lives?

    In any case, I've seen both versions. The Laramie Project was shown to me in school, and I rented The Matthew Shepard Story solely for review purposes on Hot Toasty Rag. It stars Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing as the Shepards, and Shane Meier as Matthew. Most of the film is told in flashbacks from before his murder, but the first scene is a blurry, jump-shot rendition of the incident. As Sam and Stockard sit through the murder trial, they relive memories of their son and come to terms with his life and death. All in a ninety-minute TV-movie. How convenient.

    If you're particularly passionate about this subject, you can rent one of the two Matthew Shepard movies, but it's far from an enjoyable film.

    DLM warning: If you suffer from vertigo or dizzy spells, like my mom does, this movie is not your friend. During frequent flashback scenes, the camera blurs, and that will make you sick. In other words, "Don't Look, Mom!"
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a short film about a young man who was the victim of some homophobic hatred. No matter what the circumstances could have been, no matter what the condition, language or behavior everyone could have demonstrated, killing someone just because he is different is simply absurd. And I say any difference cannot justify killing him, her or them illegally or legally. All act of lethal violence against any one has no justification at all.

    But in this film, in this case the emphasis is not so much set on the son who finds out he is gay in high school, probably when he went to his first homecoming dance with a girl he could not cope with, but about his parents who had accepted this fact, about the parents after his death, after the first part of the trial that convicted the killer, a young man like Matthew, of the crime, and before the second part of the trial when the jury is going to decide on the sentence. The death penalty is sure but a plea can always be accepted by the parents.

    The question is what can the parents do? What would Matthew tell them to do? Will he require the death penalty or will he request mercy for his killer? If Matthew was a beautiful person;, an intelligent person, a gracious person, he must have known violence leads to violence and some one some time must stop the hate machine and say: "Okay, you killed me. Okay you meant to kill me and you abandoned me in a place where I took two days to bleed to death, to die, before my body was discovered. Okay you intended to kill and to torture. But you did all that from a crooked belief that people who are different have to be gotten rid of and that did not come from you, and anyway I cannot find closure and peace in your death. I can only find closure and peace in forgiving you and hoping you will forgive yourself.

    I regret a little the father decided to follow another line in front of the court and to accept to show mercy and take the plea from the defense but for the wrong reason, so that the killer may suffer remembering his crime all along his long life. It does not even matter whether the murderer does or not. What matters is what the world can remember from Matthew, the message he can transmit to us from beyond his grave, from beyond his torturing chamber, from beyond the long agony and suffering ending in death. And that message has to be a message of mercy that may lead some people to realizing the way out in a divided situation is necessarily to come to terms with the difficulty and moving on towards more tolerance and more understanding.

    But the message is for us today that we have to put that division, that antagonism behind us and move towards providing everyone in this global society of ours with the same rights and the same duties, no matter what their personal choices may be. But remember: we cannot respect something, a religion, a sexual orientation, a culture, an ethnic origin, or whatever you may think of, if we do not know about it, if it is kept and has to be kept locked up in a closet.

    A very strong film on a situation that will little by little tend to move away and get lost behind us and bygones will have to be bygones. The day is close when this will happen, will be the case.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
  • A tragic story that needed to be told in a medium that would be likely to catch the attention of at least some people who would otherwise not bother learning about someone like Matthew. The fact that people with the Hollywood credentials of Goldie Hawn, Stockard Channing and Sam Waterson were involved undoubtedly has also attracted some attention to the production.

    This presentation of the story does seem to give greater attention to the parents and to their struggle to deal with all that happened than it does to Matthew himself. So many people in the film expressed their love for Matthew and stated that he was a caring person who was concerned with others, but there wasn't much evidence in the movie portrayal of him to support those claims. He seemed to come off as an extraordinarily naïve, self-centered, overly dramatic, two-dimensional individual. Maybe that's who he really was, but I think he was probably someone who was genuinely loved by others and he could have been portrayed with greater depth and in a more sympathetic manner.

    It is good that his parents were accepting of who he was and tried to respect him, but as he said in the movie, he was really alone with no one to talk to about his problems because his parents, as loving and overly indulgent as they seemed, had no experience or realistic understanding of what he had to deal with.

    His father got only the barest first hand glimpse of what it was like when he overheard jokes about gays in the bar where he went for a drink and seeing the hate mongers outside the court. Experiencing those sorts of things on a couple occasions is nothing like dealing with it every day of your life, often from a time when you're quite young and have no idea why or how you are different from others. Telling Matthew they loved him was great but woefully inadequate support for someone who was receiving constant reminders that so many people hated him and would like to do him harm.

    High marks for telling the story about Mathew's parents, but I wish we had learned more about the real Matthew. As understanding as his parents tried to be and as much pain as they felt, the person who was trying to come to terms with the inescapable hate and who eventually was crushed by that hate, was Matthew and to one extent or another, all those of us who have to try to cope with that hate throughout most of our lives.

    Quite often it does get better if you're able to survive long enough, but the "getting better" usually depends on you learning to cope with it all rather than because there's any great environmental change over time.
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