“Wild About Harry” reminds LGBTQ community about the struggle for acceptance

Wild About Harry movie poster
Wild About Harry

Wild About Harry tells the story of widower Harry Goodhart

Imagine a time when your children could be taken from you because you’re gay. It wasn’t that long ago. How it used to be is portrayed in the new film, Wild About Harry, available on-demand from Global Digital Releasing.

Set in Cape Cod in 1973, Wild About Harry tells the story of widower Harry Goodhart who moves into the seaside town of Dennis to start a new life raising his two daughters, seemingly as a single father. He opens a woodworking shop under the name of Gibbs & Goodhart that he runs with Mr. Gibbs, who also just moved into the back of their new home.

Of course, Dennis has all the trappings of life in a small town. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, and newcomers are exceptionally scrutinized. That leads to the Gibbs in Gibbs & Goodhart becoming the center of attention, at first in a good way because of his engaging personality but eventually in a bad way because of his more-than-just-business partnership with Harry.

Add to that one suspicious daughter who tattles on her father’s and Mr. Gibbs’ relationship plus a couple of old-fashioned in-laws, and the family fractures further. Do his in-laws succeed in instilling their old-fashioned values on this newfangled family, and does Harry’s older daughter truly hate him as she says when she learns the truth?

Enter the sage son of a local fisherman whose wisdom beyond his years reminds older daughter Madeline that her family–no matter what shape it takes–will always be her family.

Will love prevail over, ummm, let’s say misunderstanding? Hate would be too strong a word to apply to the unenlightened of the day. They simply knew not, were misinformed and misled by social mores.

Wild About Harry has been the recipient of many awards, including the “Best of the Fest” award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the “Audience Award” at the Seattle International Film Festival, the “Humanitarian Award” by the City of Cambridge, and a “Proclamation of Recognition for Furthering Human Rights” award by the City of Palm Springs.

“Inspired by actual circumstances,” Wild About Harry was written by Gwen Wynne and Mary Beth Fielder. Wynne also directed and produced the film, which features Tate Donovan (Argo, Rocket Man) as Harry and Adam Pascal as Mr. Gibbs.

Happily, the time portrayed in Wild About Harry is behind us, and diverse families of many shapes and forms are accepted and embraced. However, it wasn’t that long ago when things were different, and Wild About Harry provides us with an intimate portrait of how things used to be . . . and, in part, the people who were brave enough to put their personal lives under scrutiny to get us to where we are today. Let’s learn from Harry and Mr. Gibbs that openness and honesty are the only options and that expressing them, no matter how hard that might be, can have positive results.

As Harry tells daughter Maddy when she’s pining for her dead mother, “Stand up for who you are and what you believe in.”

Wild About Harry is available on-demand from Global Digital Releasing.