On this World Pride Weekend it is important to be reminded of the importance of being able to love who ever the hell you want to love. After a successful debut at the Hot Docs film festival and playing now at the Bloor Hot Docs Theatre and making its HBO debut tonight, “The Case Against 8” manages to craft and even handed balanced argument as it dissects one of the more controversial laws to come off the law books in recent memory.
In 2008, over 18,000 same-sex couples won the right to marry in the state of California only to see it stripped away from them 6 months later when the controversial Proposition 8 won the popular vote and came into law. To reverse this law, it took two committed couples and two unlikely lawyers, Ted Olson and David Boles (the ones who argued both sides of Bush vs. Gore) to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
Rather than lean on any social or moral issues, “The Case Against 8” actually focuses on the case at hand and the legality of this issue and leaves the raw emotion that can come up out of the equation
Co-writers and directors Ben Cotner & Ryan White successfully keep it on point focusing on the subjects and the issues. Following the legality of it all was actually pretty darn interesting as we track the evolution of not only this landmark case but all the subjects involved in it. The film never devolves into a story of hate or of issues of morality that tend to come up around issues like this and to their credit they stay on point making it a movie about the struggle to change an unjust law, and not let emotion override the situation.
While the brave couples who fought for their right to get married certainly make for excellent subjects, I found that the lawyers, Olson and Boles who were famously an opposite sides of a very contentious issue teaming up in this case to be so much more fascinating. It’s an issue that has torn down the traditional party lines and makes it about the right to be in love.
“The Case Against 8” manages to be hard hitting, interesting and deliver a happy ending all without feeling to manipulated and it makes for an excellent documentary experience.
4 out of 5 stars.
“The Case Against 8” screens nightly at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema here in downtown Toronto, please check with local listings for show times.