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1 review, 13 user ratings

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Same Sex America
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by Natasha Theobald

"Love and Marriage"
4 stars

Sometimes it seems like it would be so nice to fast-forward through the growing pains which accompany change, to get to the end of the process, skipping the heartache and headaches of the glacially moving status quo. Of course, with some contentious issues, there is no real end of the road. There are only points of pause when one side or the other feels some relief and the other side hopes for a dramatic shift back or forth. Doors are opened only to be slammed shut again. This is one such issue, it would seem.

Same Sex America is a documentary feature which follows the growing pains which occur as Massachusetts confronts the issue of gay marriage. The issue came to the forefront in late 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry was to deny them equal treatment under the law. What followed was a bitter war waged among lawmakers and judges, politicians and regular people on both sides of the debate. The tug of war moved things one way, then another, and people for and against the change gathered at each turning point along the way to express their views, to let their voices be heard.

We hear from people on both sides of the issue in the film. All are given voice and a human face to attach to abstract ideals. The film's purpose, though, is to follow a number of couples who desire to marry when the right is bestowed, starting in May, 2004. We see them at home. We watch as they prepare for their ceremonies. We meet their families, their children, and all of the other people who will be positively affected by the opening of doors. We are offered insight and a more personal perspective.

Early in the movie, we see a little girl in a white dress. She looks beautiful in her special clothes. She is dressed for the union of her fathers. Later, a lesbian activist speaks to the filmmakers about being a little girl and dreaming of her own wedding day. With some emotion, she reveals what it was like to realize, at some point, that she would never have such a day. Now, though, her hope has been renewed. She, and every other little girl, may have the chance to dream of white dresses and family parties and an embrace of whatever person they choose to love.

The same activist mentions at one point that her parents are in the same place. They are, however, on the other side of the divide. They have come to support the ideal of marriage belonging only to one man and one woman. The filmmakers follow her home in her effort to reconcile her parents' love for her and their wish for the door inching open for her to remain closed. Another woman, who has joined her church group to protest, talks about having no animosity for the other side. She tells of a woman reaching her hand to her as the church group walked through, a woman fighting for change that the church group had arrived to fight against. Here lies the humanity.

The movie has a blazing pace and an enormous heart. I don't know how I might feel about it coming from a different personal viewpoint, but I feel confident asserting that no one on either side is vilified. No one is made to look crazy or ridiculous. The filmmakers seem to have great respect for all of the people who were willing to share their opinions, their homes, and a piece of their lives. I'm not one to cry at weddings, but I cried many times while watching this. While I have little hope that the two sides can successfully reconcile the divide in this case, the people in the movie have given me great hope in the love and resilience and empathy of which individuals can be capable. Maybe that higher state of being will one day transcend the murkiness of such fights for individual rights. Maybe the women who touched the hands of the opposition will one day be able to see into the faces, each of the other, into the desire for nothing more than to have the right to dream of a wedding day and a lifetime of love.

The movie is not always easy to watch, but it is an important look at the human face of a divisive issue in our time. It is well worth seeing to improve one's own understanding and to catch a glimpse at the growing pains of this moment in history.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11951&reviewer=317
originally posted: 04/21/05 23:21:11
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston. For more in the 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/13/07 David Pollastrini Boooooring! 1 stars
9/25/05 hasti men 3 stars
9/15/05 inkiri Beautiful story, touching wedding footage, balanced reporting. 5 stars
9/14/05 qwe ertyertetye 4 stars
8/22/05 www www 5 stars
7/30/05 Hafeez Ullah Khan SEX 5 stars
7/09/05 Penshell Strong To The Point 5 stars
7/08/05 Mike adds a human face to a difficult issue 5 stars
7/01/05 Shannon Fonseca This movie was a wonderful representation of a fight that will go down in the history books 5 stars
6/30/05 Dianne Kenney Very well done. Balanced 5 stars
6/30/05 Mary M. McCarthy My spouse and I are honored to be a part of this story! 5 stars
6/22/05 vikrant show the sex movie 5 stars
4/26/05 paula_biggers2005 i would love to see movies lists 4 stars
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  DVD: 07-Aug-2009



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