Many Loves, One Heart 2017
Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Diana Fox
Directed by Sarah Feinbloom
DVD, color, 18 min.
High School - General Adult
Homosexuality, Jamaica, Transgender People
Date Entered: 07/23/2018Reviewed by Sophie M. Forrester, Reed Library, State University of New York at Fredonia
In only 18 minutes, Many Loves, One Heart covers the stories of three LGBT+ Jamaicans and a straight ally, while also providing a brief overview of the general situation for LGBT+ people in Jamaica.
It would have been nice to hear from LGBT+ women in the film; although female academics and one female activist are interviewed briefly, the four main subjects are all male. In addition, the film has neither closed captioning nor subtitles, a problem with regard to accessibility. Another concern is that by limiting its scope, the film could reaffirm stereotypes about the country. One academic mentions early in the film that transgender people are endangered everywhere in the world, “not just in Jamaica,” yet the film does little to show any unique struggles or successes of LGBT+ Jamaicans. Instead, the four subjects and their stories could as easily have come from anywhere in the world.
Nevertheless, that is the very factor that helps the four subjects’ stories to translate easily across cultural lines. By showing individuals who struggle with common issues for LGBT+ people – including familial rejection, homelessness, religious acceptance – the film offers a chance to personify those abstract issues, making them more real. It’s hard not to sympathize with the film’s subjects: sympathy that can as easily be applied to LGBT+ people in one’s own community as those in Jamaica.
So although Many Loves, One Heart doesn’t say as much about the LGBT+ rights movement in Jamaica as one might expect, it says something quite valuable about LGBT+ rights worldwide. Not a bad outcome for 18 short minutes. As a result, it could be very useful in introducing viewers to LGBT+ rights issues, forcing them to think about them as real people’s problems, not abstract statistics – potentially valuable for gender and sexuality studies courses. Therefore, it is recommended for academic libraries, as well as public libraries looking to bolster their LGBT+ film collections.