Joe Bell
  • Book Store Admin
  • DVD's
  • Comments Off on Joe Bell

Joe Bell is a 2020 American biographical drama road film directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, from a screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller and Connie Britton, and follows the true story of a man named Joe Bell, who sets out walking across America to speak out against bullying and honoring his teenage son, Jadin Bell, who died by suicide after he was bullied for being gay. The film was produced by Jake Gyllenhaal’s production company, Nine Stories Productions, with Gyllenhaal himself serving as executive producer.

Joe Bell had its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2020, and was released in the United States on July 23, 2021, by Roadside Attractions. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who were divided on whether it was feel-good and inspirational or reductive and contrived.


In May 2013, Joe Bell is walking through Idaho with his 15-year-old son, Jadin. Nine months prior, Jadin revealed to his parents that he is being bullied at school because he is gay. Joe is accepting although still often uncomfortable; he supports Jadin when he joins the cheerleading squad but asks him to practice in the back yard, worried that their neighbours will pass judgement.

Along the way, they stop at a diner where the news on TV mentions sex-same marriage. When two patrons make a disparaging remark, Joe tells them about his mission – to walk across America in order to raise awareness against homophobic bullying – before leaving hastily. Jadin tells his dad that men like that won t change and that bullying starts with their children, who need to be educated properly about its effects.

Back in 2012, Jadin attends a Halloween party and meets Chance, a closeted homosexual; they share a kiss and begin secretly dating. At a school football game, Jadin is heckled by several people in the crowd for being a cheerleader and his parents get up and leave in embarrassment. Later, he is bullied on social media, but is comforted by his younger brother, Joseph. Chance then ends their relationship, scared that his parents will find out. Back on the road, Joe tells Jadin he was supportive of his cheerleading despite never showing it, and the two reenact Jadin s old routine in the rain after they set up camp for the night.

Joe and Jadin arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah. They check into a motel and Joe goes to a gay bar, where he engages with some locals and tells them his son s story. When asked why he didn t bring him, Joe tells them that his son is dead. Joe has been walking alone the whole time; Jadin s presence was all in his mind.

Jadin s mom, Lola, and Joseph visit Joe on the road. Lola shows Joe a note that was left on Jadin s grave, an apology written by one of the boys who had bullied him. Joe reacts angrily and takes it out on Joseph, leaving both he and Lola upset and fearful. When Joe is later spotted by some locals (after having seen him on TV giving speeches at various events) and takes photographs with them, Lola questions if he is walking for Jadin or for the fame. Back home, Lola calls Joe and tells him she found an essay Jadin had written detailing his experiences of bullying and expressing his desire to commit suicide.

Back in February 2013, Jadin is assaulted in the school locker room by a group of jocks. Joe and Lola meet with the school principle who advises Jadin transfers schools or attends therapy. Jadin tearfully refuses, claiming he is not the one who needs help. The bullying continues, particularly on social media. One morning, Lola finds a suicide note in Jadin s bedroom as a jogger discovers Jadin s body, having hanged himself in a nearby park. Lola rushes to the scene to find Jadin has already died. Days later, Joe, who has spiralled into a deep depression, gets into his car with a gun, but Joseph stops him. Joe then decides to walk from Idaho to New York City, where Jadin always wanted to live.

Joe calls Lola from the road and tells her he cannot walk any further, but she convinces him to keep going for Jadin. Days later, a local sheriff, Gary, stops Joe as he walks the side of the highway. He buys Joe a hot meal and they talk; Gary reveals his son, William, is also gay. He tells Joe that he has never considered that William has ever wanted to take his own life. Joe urges him to tell William that it is okay to be who he is, something he never told Jadin and regrets, knowing he will have to live with that for the rest of his life.

Joe continues walking and sees Jadin again. Joe apologises and tells Jadin that he always loved him; Jadin says he knows. Joe then calls Lola and apologises to her also, and thanks her for putting up with him. He promises to be better about staying in touch on the road.

In October 2013, Gary receives a call about a traffic accident in Colorado and arrives at the scene where a semi-truck driver had fallen asleep and hit a pedestrian on the shoulder of the US 40, killing him instantly. The victim is revealed to be Joe.

The film ends with Joe and Jadin meeting in a field, walking together towards the sunlight. As the credits roll, images and videos of the real Bell family are shown.


  • Mark Wahlberg as Joe Bell
  • Reid Miller as Jadin Bell
  • Connie Britton as Lola Bell
  • Maxwell Jenkins as Joseph Bell
  • Gary Sinise as Sheriff Gary Westin (based on Sheriff Tom Nestor)
  • Blaine Maye as Boyd Banks
  • Ash Santos as Kim
  • Igby Rigney as Chance Davidson
  • Morgan Lily as Marcie
  • Scout Smith as Colleen
  • Cassie Beck as Mrs. Swift
  • Charles Halford as Will
  • Tara Buck as Mary Ivy


In April 2015, it was announced Cary Joji Fukunaga would direct the film, from a screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. Fukunaga would produce the film, while Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker and Eva Maria Daniels would produce the film under their VisionChaos Productions and Parliament of Owls banners, respectively. A24 would produce and distribute the film.

In April 2019, Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins and Gary Sinise joined the cast of the film. Reinaldo Marcus Green would direct the film, replacing Fukunaga who was still attached as a producer, with Wahlberg, Jake Gyllenhaal and Stephen Levinson serving as producers, and A24 no longer distributing and producing. Principal photography began on April 15, 2019, and ended May 24, 2019.


Under the title Good Joe Bell, the film had its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2020. Shortly after, Solstice Studios acquired distribution rights to the film for $20 million, and scheduled the film for a February 19, 2021 release. However, the film was not released that date, due to the film being removed from Solstice’s schedule. In May 2021, it was announced that Roadside Attractions acquired distribution rights to the film from Solstice and set it for a July 23, 2021 release, with Vertical Entertainment set to distribute the film digitally following its theatrical release.


Box office

The film grossed $674,000 from 1,094 theaters in its opening weekend, finishing 11th at the box office.

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 40% based on 127 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The website s critics consensus reads: Good Joe Bell s heartfelt message – and Reid Miller s stirring breakout performance – are unfortunately undermined by formulaic storytelling. On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews . Audiences surveyed by PostTrak gave the film a 79% positive score, with 57% saying they would definitely recommend it.

Giving it a C , The A.V. Club s A. A. Dowd stated The film has its heart in the right place, but its head is foggy and possibly concussed; it seems uncertain how to reshape its ripped-from-the-headlines story into satisfying drama. Steve Pond of TheWrap called the film An open-hearted, unapologetically emotional story of a man struggling to come to terms with what happened to his son and with his own complicity in it and said here are shocks along the way, handled gently or dropped as a gut punch .

Peter Debruge of Variety was more critical, calling the film a didactic anti-bullying melodrama that feels more akin to old-school TV movies and saying that movie like this would be a good start, if this were 1980. A decade and a half after Brokeback Mountain, however, it feels like a huge step backward.

Year 2020
ReleaseDate 2021-07-23
RuntimeMins 94
RuntimeStr 1h 34min
Plot The true story of a small-town, working-class father who embarks on a walk across the U.S. to crusade against bullying after his son is tormented in high school for being gay. Meanwhile, he realizes he is instead missing out on his son’s life back at home.
Directors Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writers Diana Ossana, Larry McMurtry
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton
Produced by Jill Ahrens,Ryan Ahrens,Derrick Brooks,Rebecca Cammarata,Eva Maria Daniels,Jean-Luc De Fanti,Terry Dougas,Uwe Feuersenger,Cary Joji Fukunaga,Jake Gyllenhaal,Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis,Hayden Kiessling,Lola Lathrop,Paul A. Levin,Stephen Levinson,Riva Marker,Larry McMurtry,Diana Ossana,Peter Pastorelli,Ben Renzo,Mark Sanger,Daniela Taplin Lundberg,Mark Wahlberg
Music by Antonio Pinto
Cinematography by Jacques Jouffret
Film Editing by Mark Sanger
Casting By Avy Kaufman
Production Design by Kelly McGehee
Art Direction by Roger Crandall
Set Decoration by Les Boothe
Costume Design by Susan Matheson
Makeup Department Allan A. Apone,Shane Bell,Lora Laing,Kathy Mills Lynch,Greg T. Moon,Molly Moonanne Sanders,Abigail Steele,Yvette Stone,Sara Vaughn,Johnny Villanueva,Britlyn Gordon,Karin King,Tannis Poynter,Maika Taylor
Production Management Stephen Lippross,Peter Pastorelli
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Kether Abeles,Chris Carroll,Miriam Footer,MarSchelle Walker
Art Department Mike Barnard,Eyan Bingham,Brett Bird,Dan Bradford,Lance Clayton,Monet Devilliers,Josie Fife,Gino Fortebuono,Will Garner,Rhonda Gray,Rachel Kubricky,Brian Lives,Kenny McNeill,Ivory Olsen,Lee Olsen,Mike Orme,Ethan Paur,Wade Rogers,Rebecca Spiro,Jared Thomas,Kristopher Zamora,Patrick Campbell
Sound Department Jack Cheetham,Andrew Cier,Paul Davies,Paul Hanks,Nina Hartstone,Luis Landrau,Morgan Muse,Jens Rosenlund Petersen,Kobi Quist,David Rawlinson,Andrew Stirk,Edward Tise,Simon Trundle,Andrew Ahlstrom,Matt Hovland,Michael Miller,Mark Wilkening
Special Effects by Chuck Roundy,Ryan Roundy,Kallan Shira
Visual Effects by Evelyn Anaid Avilés Ramírez,Jeremy Brooks,Alfredo Flores Juarez,Evan Ghigliotty,Luis Gorriz,Matt Hartle,Chris Hoffman,Ingrid Juliao,George Loucas,Benjamin Mullin,Rachel Pelc,Adrián Pierral,Daniel Pierral,Aaron Rovner,Matthew Dean Russell
Stunts Ashlen Aquila,Douglas Carley,Eliza Coleman,Mark Dyer,Sean Graham,Anthony T. Pennello,Keith Sayers,Eric Weinstein,Jim Wilkey,Jeremy Westerman
Camera and Electrical Department Ben Anderson,Richard Coy Aune,Trevor Brenden,James Brown,Payden Button,David Carreira,Quantrell D. Colbert,Daniel Courtright,Allen Dial,Rich Floyd,Steve Freebairn,Micky Froehlich,Tyler Furner,Austin Green,Seth Huston,Jimmy E. Jensen,Stuart Kirkby,Matthew Leslie,Chris Newman,James Notari,Dennis L. Peterson,Paul Postal,Glade Quinn,Caleb Rasak,Michael Reese,Timothy Reynolds,Gregg Simmons,Alex Stein,Craig Sullivan,Andy Turek,Zach Valois,A.J. Beer,Scott Goslin,Erik Christian Hansen,Ryan Sudbury,Tristen Tharp,Jonathan Tinsley
Casting Department Sahna Foley,Jeff Johnson,Gayle Minkevitch-Jensen,Lynnanne Zager,Leeba Zakharov,Robert Milo Andrus
Costume and Wardrobe Department Charlene Amateau,Lorraine Crossman,Albert James May,Rachael Ohman,Jill Paz,Elaine Perlmann,Steven Witkowski,Heather Gaither
Editorial Department Conor Burke,Justin Chan,Mike Chiado,Richard Conkling,Moises Cruz,Oliver David,Rebecca Erbe,Eric Freidenberg,Jim Gardner,Affonso Gonçalves,Nick Haridopolos,Morten Højbjerg,Parker Jarvie,Sydney Taylor Johnson,Angelica Lopez,Carl S.G. Moore,James Notari,Colby Parker Jr.,John Quartel,Eric O. Schusterman,Stefan Sonnenfeld,Sam Thor,John To,Phil Whitehead,Douglas Yablun,Joe Ken
Location Management Graham Beckstead,Marc Conn,Mimi Davis-Taylor,David Harris,Laura Lee Langton,Ben Okamura,Mark White,Demian Spilsbury,Mark White
Music Department Gabriel Ferreira,Marilia Franco,Susan Jacobs,John Kurlander,Ryan Pederson,Antonio Pinto,Maximilian Rubell,Robin Whittaker,Ilyse Wolfe Tretter
Script and Continuity Department Jenna Dayton
Transportation Department Paul Michael Akers,Britani Alexander,Richard Baker,Roy Brewer,Allen Capps,Erik Coutts,Sean Dodge,Benjamin J. Fox,Jesse Fuson,Natania Garrett,April P. Hanson,Josh Kielkowski,Nick Larson,Mike Law,Kenny Maw,Melanie Olmstead,Rick Spidell,Dustin Stone,Jacob Thomas,Rob Turner,Barry Tuttle,Ernest von Hauff,Joey Wright,Jake Bolinder
Additional Crew Richard Allen,Tiye Amenechi,Abigail Angelos,Diana Ascher,Steve Ayala,Ryan Bartley,Hamish Berry,Teddy Blanks,Kurillos Chioktouridis,Jared Coleman,Makenna Cowgill,Rachel B. Davis,Vicki Davis,Don Draper,Randy Draper,Erica Elmer,Laura J. Fox,Hector Gonzalez,Ann Gray,Ben Gregory,Julia Grinberg,Crystal Harris,Judie Harris,Tyson Haskins,David Heckel,Payton Heuser,Ariana Hewitt,Anna Kalou,Cassidy Kirkham,Aaron Kramer,Roxanne Mayweather,Jess Mazza,Vanessa Mendal,Scott Menville,Jeff Midgley,Sam Nation,Lisandro Orozco,Luis Orozco,Lydia Nielsen Painter,Eugene Pikulin,Anthony Pizzini,Spencer Pool,Jaqueline Proctor,Fenton Quinn,Cassidy K. Rawlinson,Julian Rawlinson,Connor Rickman,Mandy Rebecca Roberson,Nicolas Scoozis,Suzanne Shelton,Nik Shriner,Todd Spears,Warren Sroka,Rick S. Sulier,Shane Sweet,Brittney Thaxton,Alexis Varouxakis,Tyson Whitney,Kade Whittle,Katie Willden,Bryant Winter,Max Work,Shelby Young,David Boyle,Angella Joy,Paula P. Manzanedo,Skylar Neale,Ian M. Stratford,Christopher Vincent,Jeremy Westerman,Skylar A. Wilman
Thanks Keenan Coogler,Craig Kestel,Peter Pastorelli,Mallory Thomasson
Genres Biography, Drama
Companies Argent Pictures, Closest to the Hole Productions, Endeavor Content
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6.1
ImDbRatingVotes 7467
MetacriticRating 54
Keywords writing,flashback,flash forward,gay character,gay teenager