Like God and the Devil in the Book of Job, maternal monstrosity and internalized homophobia try their damndest to claim the soul of cherub-faced Caleb (Sean Paul Lockhart). Both press mightily upon him, and he soon crumples under their weight — by the second minute, he’s in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit.
The romantic thriller Truth finds Caleb eager to tell his story, which has two beginnings: a childhood smothered by the homophobic hate of his bio and foster moms, and an online hookup with silver fox Jeremy (a charming Rob Moretti, who also wrote and directed).
Caleb’s abandonment issues and overabundant medicine cabinet don’t scare away Jeremy, who’s hiding his own deal-breaker flaws. The lust between them is thrilling — and Truth is explicit enough to show cock and semen — but their love is never quite moving.
The characters are underwritten to Lifetime TV specifications, and Lockhart is too waxen to bear believable wounds. It doesn’t help that Moretti’s script confuses insanity with sadism. As Caleb’s mentally ill mother, Suzanne Didonna hisses an anti-gay bile-spitter of a monologue so merciless it’d make Faye Dunaway’s Mommie Dearest character break down in tears.
But the script’s secret-revealing structure is solidly built, and the rolling tension crescendos into a third act full of memorably unsettling scenes, including a pregnant woman (Rebekah Aramini) in her third trimester beating her belly and chanting, “Why are you doing this to me?”
Truth is hammier than Easter brunch, but its depictions of rejection transfiguring into violence are always affecting and distressing.