Not A Tame Lion (2022) Film Review- Armessa Movie News


The figure of John Boswell in history is unfortunately not widely known. This is a different kind of hero, with plenty of contradictions in his own life that could perhaps make people doubt him and his agenda. 

But Not a Tame Lion is solid enough to make you change your mind about that. The documentary is informative, but done with so much heart, that you can’t help but get on the wagon of Boswell’s impressive legacy. This is a man who was keen on changing the perceptions by Christianity in regards to the acceptance of LGBTQ people. He did so much more, and the film is a very detailed document on the reach of his work.

And yet “work” feels like a very square word when we analyze Boswell’s effect. Sadly, an effect that not many people know of. And it’s because we señdom associate the principles of religion with a twist that seems to shatter conservative ways into oblivion. We can’t say the solid foundations deserve to be tumbled down, but broadening minds is just inevitable, and John Boswell is a fantastic player in this game.

Not a Tame Lion digs deep into the life of a very complicated man whose views inevitably put him at the top of a fight that simply was more relevant than it felt like. His presence in the world of Medieval History and Linguistics is far too heavy to ignore. But what he did next was just an admirable feat in times when prejudice seemed to take over the world with AIDS being considered a disease that only affected the LGBTQ community. 

Boswell was a key player in giving the middle finger to society. Even if you didn’t feel it necessary, the history expert’s argument on marriage equality was strong. The evidence came from access to Vatican files that not many had, and Boswell used it to reveal far more than what the powers that be knew about. 

The statement by Boswell is very, very important. But the film also takes its time to explore the life of the legend. This is where Not a Tame Lion becomes more than an informative documentary. Through testimonies by friends and colleagues, we come to know who was the man behind the books. Love, pride, and human values, are part of a complex ecosystem that fused Boswell’s religious views with a groundbreaking message about Christianity. I feel it’s very sad that not enough people add Boswell’s views into the current discourse of human rights. 

In the very end of the film, its director asks the most important question of all, and that is how do you make a tribute to Boswell and his legacy? It’s redundant maybe, but Not a Tame Lion feels like the best work there is about the man, and his legendary message about a link between two very distant poles.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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– Armessa Movie News