Shocking Tearjerker: Our Review of ‘Joe Bell’

Posted in Movies by - September 21, 2021
Shocking Tearjerker: Our Review of ‘Joe Bell’

Some films based on true stories are stories everyone knows. While there may be shocking moments in those kinds of films, most of the plot is know. They are successful because you want to know more about those public figures. Other times you know very little about the story or the people in them.  Joe Bell is one of those latter films, and before you start looking up the man do yourself a favour and watch the film first.

Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg of Instant Family) is walking across America in a crusade to stop bullying. His son Jadin (Reid Miller of Play By Play), a victim of relentless bullying in high school because he is gay, accompanies him on the journey. Joe is the first to admit he had a hard time dealing with his son’s admission himself. But he’s determined to do something about the bullying his son faced by making people aware that it’s not alright. Unfortunately the journey isn’t an easy one, and it’s a message not everyone wants to hear.

When a lot of people see that Mark Wahlberg is starring in a film they automatically make an assumption about it.  They assume it is either an action film (mostly because he starred in several high profile action films such as two of the Transformers films and Lone Survivor and has a great physique) or a comedy (thanks to hits such as Ted and Daddy’s Home). What they forget however is that he does a remarkable job acting in dramatic films as well, and he has two acting Academy Award nominations (The Departed and The Fighter).

In Joe Bell he showcases his dramatic skills once again. His character isn’t the most likeable, but he has a strong heart that make you feel for him. It’s not an easy character to pull off, yet Wahlberg does a great job of it. As good as he is however, he is only as good as his opposite number, Reid Miller. Miller plays his character with a depth that shows you the duality all people who are bullied must have. The face that smiles even though they are hurting terribly inside. Joe Bell wouldn’t be as good as it is without either actor.

Warning, Joe Bell will surprise you, and shock you. This isn’t a spoiler, but simply a fact. It will pull emotions out of you that you weren’t expecting to feel either. This is the type of film that people who bully should watch so they can understand what their victims are feeling. Those who are are bullying victims and survivors should watch it too so they know they are never alone.  And in case you must know before watching the movie, the film stays pretty close to the facts and doesn’t veer too far off the road.

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While Roderick has only been writing movie reviews for a relatively short time, he's been a fan of film for as long as he can remember. It's a love affair that started when he saw Star Wars at a drive-in theatre in Kitchener when he was four years old. In the past decade he's fulfilled his dream of interviewing celebrities, attending red carpets events at festivals such as TIFF and writing reviews for outlets such as He's always on the hunt for the next big thing to hit the screen.
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