The Case Against 8

Movies, Documentary
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The Case Against 8

On the eve of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, many liberal Californians found their euphoria cooled by the passing of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in the state. They did what Californians often do: got organized, found some sympathetic Hollywood money and put on a brilliant legal show, charted here over five years of testimony, appeals, cheers and tears.

HBO’s passionate, pro-gay The Case Against 8 has a built-in audience, the one now watching The Normal Heart. But it deserves wider viewership, especially for its thriller of a plot development: the surprising recruitment to the cause of attorney Theodore Olson, the right-winger who successfully argued Dubya into the White House. As Olson puts it plainly: “Marriage is a conservative value.” Teaming with his Bush v. Gore opponent, David Boies, and a pair of courageous same-sex couples, they begin their lengthy preparations.

The documentary is strongest during these conference-room brainstorms, similar to those of a political campaign. (It could have used more of Boies’s witness-demolishing courtroom eloquence.) The draw here is watching a careful process unfold, regardless of the outcome.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Rated: N/R
Release date: Friday June 6 2014
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ryan White, Ben Cotner
Screenwriter: Ryan White, Ben Cotner