The Green is taut drama by veteran stage and screen director Steven Williford that offers a believable story and many wonderful performances. Beautifully shot on location in Connecticut, the film expertly captures that part of the country and the people who inhabit it. LGBT folks often leave city life to settle down in such areas, but arenât always quite prepared for the culture shock. “The Green” offers up said culture shock and surprises of other varieties.
Having left behind a life in New York City for the village charm of shoreline Connecticut, Michael Gavin (Jason Butler Harner), a drama teacher at a progressive private high school, thinks he can live a simple, harmonious domestic existence with his partner Daniel (Cheyenne Jackson), a caterer. Seemingly more concerned with the minutiae of suburban life than he is about challenging the bias he experiences in the provincial, recession-weary yank bastion, Michael adheres to an unspoken survival code: donât speak up, don’t make trouble.
But Michael’s world is turned upside-down when he is accused of engaging in “inappropriate behavior” with Jason, a troubled male student (Chris Bert). Despite Michaelâs best effort to get Jason on track, the young man will soon loose his scholarship. Jason isn’t comfortable at the center of the storm and soon after Michael is arrested, runs away from home leaving behind his financially-strapped mother (Karen Young) and her violent mercenary boyfriend (Bill Sage), who sees an opportunity capitalize on the schoolâs culpability in the alleged affair.
The couple seeks the help of a local lesbian lawyer, played to perfection by Julia Ormond, who has to ask the hard questions and face the reality of the case. She reveals a previous incident that Michael has kept a secret from Daniel and is a game-changer. With his job, relationship, and freedom in jeopardy, Michael must confront the suspicions of his co-workers, the latent homophobia of his friends and neighbors, and Daniels doubts about his partnerâs innocence after the investigation reveals a secret from his past.
The film, aided by Paul Marcarelli’s screenplay, moves along at a quick pace that may actually be too quick. It would appear that too much wound up excised by the editor and/or director. It would have been nice to learn a bit more about some of the secondary characters. Thereâs plenty of real talent here, including the always-delightful Illeana Douglas, but she isnât afforded much screen time. The story is believable and engaging, but shot-thrifts some meaty sub-plots.