|Review by Stefan Blitz|
Produced by Derek Furtado, John Porch,
Cory Brailsford, Dave Fiorillo
I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of comedian Ray Harrington’s documentary Be a Man, in a packed theater filled with his family and friends.
Screenings filled with guests of the filmmaker often make the viewing experience a bit skewed; everything plays better whether it deserves to or not.
The audience sees and recognizes people they know onscreen and although the crowd usually has a great time, it’s not an accurate gauge of the reaction to a film.
Ray introduced the film to enthusiastic applause as I took a deep breath.
Ray Harrington’s Be a Man is a sweet and honest documentary that succeeds on every level. It made me both laugh and cry. It’s touching and poignant and by the time the end credits rolled, I not only liked the film, but I liked Ray Harrington an awful lot, as well.
Raised by a single mother and grandmother, Ray never had a male role model growing up. When he finds out that his wife, Kaleena is pregnant, Ray decides that before he becomes a father he needs to figure out what it means to be a man.
With fellow comedian and friend Derek Furtardo, Harrington sets out to experience the things that he believes would be important traits in being a man. This includes stepping into the ring with a former world champion boxer; trying to understand the appeal of cars in general; finding his own signature drink and finally, allowing himself to be judged on his appearance by a panel of twentysomethings (who were informed by Furtardo to judge Harrington based on if they would sleep with him).
Ultimately, the film and the filmmaker both come to terms that Ray is not only a man, but a good man. He’s going to be a present and active father in his son’s life. But what’s even more apparent as we see Ray interact with family and friends is that they all look up to him; this journey that he depicts is one they all support and are a part of.
As the film ends, we get our opportunity to see Ray and Kaleena and their son Finn together. There’s no doubt at this point that the film wasn’t made for him, but rather for Finn; the first of many amazing gifts that Ray will give him on his journey to be a man himself.