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‘Mama’s Boy’ Review: Mother and Son Pave the Way Forward

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Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech for best original screenplay at the 2009 Academy Awards is featured twice in “Mama’s Boy,” the new HBO documentary about Black and his mother, Anne.

It’s no wonder that the writer, who won his Oscar for “Milk” (2008), the biopic of the L.G.B.T.Q. rights activist Harvey Milk, ended up in Hollywood on that podium: He’s a commanding and affecting speaker.

Even when Black’s voice wavers onstage or during interviews for this film, his belief in storytelling as a tool for empathy and activism pours from each word.

That stalwart belief has its advantages and disadvantages. Adapted from Black’s memoir, the film has him tracing the life of his mother chronologically, from her childhood in small-town Louisiana and her unwillingness to surrender to polio to her gradual acceptance of her son’s gay identity.

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