BFI Flare: Love, Scott — a compassionate call to arms against hate crime ★★★★

A moving documentary about a man’s life in the aftermath of a homophobic attack might just be the surprise hit of LGBT cinema this year.

Love, Scott is the true story of Scott Jones, a gay man who was left paralysed after an attack which he firmly believes was motivated by homophobia.

The documentary, which premiered at BFI Flare, is a sensitive exploration of Jones’ life in the three years after the attack and the relationship between strength and fear.

The documentary has a clear message attached, in the fact that while Jones’ attacker pled guilty to attempted murder, the attack was not treated as a hate crime by the Canadian courts or the media.

Love, Scott does not focus on the specific events of the attack, instead focusing more broadly on a fully fleshed picture of Jones and his rallying cry for legal reform.

What follows is an emotionally deep and reflective documentary which is both sensitive and rousing.

(Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)

Although the piece occasionally feels like it loses its focus, almost every part of it serves to round out the experience of Scott Jones.

Related — BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival transforms the capital into the ‘best queer venue in the world’

In one of the most moving parts of the documentary, Jones returns a year later to the place in Nova Scotia where he was attacked, reflecting on the fear that he felt in that moment and previously as a closeted gay man.

Part of the documentary’s intimacy comes from the relationships behind the camera, as narrator, writer and director Laura Marie Wayne is a close friend of Jones’.

This relationship is clear in the film, as the documentary is framed as if the audience is simply another friend in the room, adding to the film’s intensity.

Bucking the traditional structure of a documentary, Love, Scott features several extended moments without dialogue in the film. Sometimes these scenes feel slightly over-long and attention can wander, but mostly they serve their purpose.

Toronto police at Pride (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)

Love, Scott presents itself as an incredibly reflective documentary, drawing out the viewer’s emotions through beautiful performances from the choir Jones is the conductor of and through periods of silence.

Moments of peaceful tranquillity resonate through the film and ensures that it never feels rushed despite covering so much.

It has to be said that the film takes slightly too long before capturing the audience’s attention, but when it does so the beautifully shot documentary is truly captivating.

The audience is treated to an intimate insight into Scott’s physical and emotional healing which is at times brutally raw.

In one of the most poignant scenes of the film, Jones crafts a letter to his attacker in prison, empathising with him in an emotional scene that in lesser films would feel forced.

Love, Scott is remarkably human and deserves high praise for addressing a dismal reality for many LGBT+ people with such softness.