Starring Mark Wahlberg, Joe Bell is the true story of a working class father from a small town in Idaho who decided to walk to New York city to highlight the bullying his gay son, Jadin Bell (Reid Miller) received at school.
Unusually for Wahlberg, this isn't a big-budget action flick but a much calmer film that is as much about creating awareness as it is about one man on a self reflective walk across America.
And Wahlberg really does do a great job portraying a conflicted man. While he undoubtedly loves his son and is accepting of the fact that he is gay, he also struggles with his emotions and ability to outwardly show his affection.
Is Joe Bell Worth Watching?
While the idea of watching a man walk across America may not necessarily hold much instant appeal, Joe Bell is far more than that.
At play are two worlds – the one where Jadin Bell suffers so mercilessly at the hands of his bullies – and the one where Joe tries to make sense of both himself and what his son went through.
Along the way flashbacks of their lives before and during the walk blend beautifully together and really give Joe's solo walk a sense of purpose.
Attempting to tackle his own personal demons, he visits a gay bar, talks at schools and even befriends a drag queen.
Gary Sinise is, as always, truly great as a Sherriff Joe meets on his journey. As is Connie Britton as Joe's wife, a patient and supportive wife who is struggling with her own grief.
Joe Bell is not simply about his son's life but is a heartfelt message about how important it is to truly accept people for who they are.
But before you watch it, I must warn you that it will leave you heartbroken. Grab the tissues because you are about to go on an emotional journey that will leave you sobbing.
Joe Bell Official Trailer
Is Joe Bell Based On A True Story?
Yes it is. It follows the true story of a man named Joe, who sets out walking across America to speak out against bullying, raise awareness and honor his teenage son Jadin.
Joe started his walk in 2013 and that is when film is set.
Where to Watch Joe Bell
You can watch Joe Bell with Mark Wahlberg on Amazon.
It is free to watch if you are a Prime subscriber.
It is currently not available on Netflix.
Joe Bell Movie Cast
Joe Bell is a biographical drama from director Reinaldo Marcus Green, from a screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain).
It was also the last screen play that oscar winner Larry McMurtry wrote before he died in 2021.
Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter) as Joe
Reid Miller as Jadin Bell, Joe's son
Maxwell Jenkins as Joseph Bell, Jadin's brother
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, Jadin's best friend
Scout Smith as Colleen
Cassie Beck as Mrs. Swift
Charles Halford as Will
Tara Buck as Mary Ivy