‘The Inspection’ True Story, Explained: Is Ellis French A Real Person Or A Reflection Of Elegance Bratton’s Life?

Bucking the trend of cliches isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Due to different religious and culturally prejudicial belief systems, a big part of society still hangs onto some beliefs that have always held them back. A man’s sexuality, which we frequently associate with his masculinity, is often the subject of such beliefs. A typical stereotype holds that men should always exhibit toughness and other attributes that are deemed to be macho. The diversity of sexual identities is often criticized and frequently used as a yardstick to determine a person’s value. Elegance Bratton’s directorial debut, “The Inspection,” is more than just an account of his early life and the struggles he encountered; it also clarifies the difference between a man’s sexual orientation and his capabilities to achieve success in life.


“The Inspection” recounts the tale of a homeless Ellis French (played by Jeremy Pope), living in a shelter in New Jersey after being expelled from his mother’s (played by Gabrielle Union) house only because of his homosexuality. His mother’s disdain and his desperation to win her favor drive him to prove his worth. In a world plagued by the tragedy of war and hatred, which have claimed the lives of many of his friends, he desires to become a marine in order to give his life meaning. He starts a new journey in his life, one in which his sexuality becomes his punishment. When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still in effect in the military, Ellis suppresses his urges and presents himself as straight in boot camp. However, once the truth is revealed, the other recruits and commandants begin to abuse and taunt him.

The true account of Elegance Bratton’s tragic early life is reflected through Ellis French in “The Inspection.” At the age of 16, after being ejected from his mother’s home, young Elegance spent years being homeless and briefly with a selected family near Christopher Street Pier in the West Village. After ten years of wandering, he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps to establish the purpose of his life. He made the decision to make his life worthwhile when, at this time, not even his own mother gave a hoot about it. He made a choice to accept the discipline of a uniform because, whoever he was, his life would still have value if he passed away while donning a military uniform.


The treatment given to the marine recruits in “The Inspection” is meant to transform them from human beings into ferocious, death-defying beasts. The commanding officers are not only teachers but also typical bullies who make the training more intense while not even hesitating to push the cadets to death. These pressures of flaunting masculinity during boot camp lead Ellis to conceal himself. As a result of suppressing specific desires, he was brutally criticized and even bullied many times while training. Ignoring his desire to leave the camp, he goes through all the abuse and torment to finally see a glint of hope. Awkwardly judged among the recruits, we see French hug his fellow marine, Ishmael, as he breaks down in tears. His actions demonstrate to society that being a marine does not require being particularly masculine; rather, it requires being human first. A human who finds a shoulder to cry on and cannot conceal his vulnerability. When Ellis graduates, he anticipates that his mother will be proud of him for standing on his own two feet. However, she does so while attempting to ignore the reality that her son is still gay. This time, instead of acting to seek her favor, Ellis holds his head high with his own sexuality, refusing to forget who he is and who he will always be. Even though his mother refuses to show him the affection he deserves, he still vows to fight for it.

As the movie comes to a close, we see Marine Ellis French still walking toward his ambition. However, in real life, Elegance Bratton chose to pursue filmmaking after continuing to fulfill his Marine Corps commitments up until 2010. But why did Elegance Bratton ultimately choose to pursue filmmaking after overcoming all obstacles to become a marine? In order to answer this question, it should be emphasized that Elegance had gone through many highs and lows in his life. In addition to joining the Marines, his dream was to win his mother’s affection. This film serves as justification that he hasn’t strayed from that goal. His choice of filmmaking reveals his artistic side, which wasn’t diminished despite a demanding training schedule. From being a homeless gay man of color to making his life worthwhile, his journey was one worth telling the world about. This is a story that speaks of a common man who, all his life, wanted to make a change. His story is real and also important for those who are restrained and criticized by conventional beliefs. “The Inspection” can give them hope in life and the courage to express themselves. So that those who feel their lives have been meaningless can find purpose in them.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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