With keen insight, the film connects the human wreckage of Larry’s and Brandon’s troubled lives.
On February 12, 2008, in Oxnard, California, eighth-grade student Brandon McInerney shot his classmate Larry King twice in the back of the head during first period. When Larry died two days later, his murder shocked the nation. Was this a hate crime, one perpetrated by a budding neo-Nazi whose masculinity was threatened by an effeminate gay kid who may have had a crush on him? Or was there even more to it?
Looking beyond all the copious news coverage of this tragic event, Valentine Road tells the story of two victims: the deceased and the murderer. With keen insight, the film connects the human wreckage of Larry’s and Brandon’s troubled lives—both bullied and both searching for a sense of belonging. Valentine Road puts a human face on a critical issue challenging communities everywhere. Namely, how do we help kids like Brandon and Larry before tragedy happens? Haunting, infuriating, and powerful, Valentine Road shakes us to our core as it calls to question our very notion of justice.
Valentine Road explores the complex issues raised by the shooting of an out, bi-racial transgender teen by an 8th grade classmate. These issues include: homophobia/transphobia in adults charged with child care, the mixed messages society give LGBT youth when coming out, the lure of white supremacist ideology on a fearful white underclass facing shifting demographics, religious intolerance, domestic violence, child abuse and the availability of guns to youths, the reach of the Criminal Justice System. Illustrating how the prejudices and ignorance of the jurors reflect the deeper undercurrents of our culture at the intersection of gender, race, and class the film asks how far have we come as a society, and how far do we yet have to go?