Sunday, 29 June 2014

REVIEW - THE CASE AGAINST 8 (BEN COTNER AND RYAN WHITE)


As hopeless a state of affairs it may seem for so many today, sense, reason and justice always prevail. As the plaintiffs in The Case Against 8 can attest, the pursuit of freedom and the pursuit of happiness are not fought for the individual. They're fought for the whole of humanity. Prejudices are dismantled, disproved and dissipated in time, and it is encouraging to note how America's highest courts can turn to America's oldest legislation to advance those pursuits. The Case Against 8's title makes clear that this is not a balanced debate, and that's because it never was. How sad to think that the majority of the world's population cannot realise this, but how exciting to think that history will remember the struggle for sexual equality under the law as it is presented here. These brave people do not need to argue the sense, reason and justice behind their cause, though to hear them verbalise it so candidly and so eloquently is very moving. Ben Cotner and Ryan White's film exposes, as the preposterously drawn-out legal proceedings did, the lack of sense, reason and justice in the case for Proposition 8 in California; no stable, well-informed mind could stomach considering that case as legitimate, and fleeting reminders of the cunning bigotry that fuelled it are emotionally corrosive. Just as it stings to witness such hatred, it soothes to witness such joy as is experienced when The Case Against 8 reaches its stirring conclusion. Cotner and White know the futility and the sheer inappropriateness of skimping on sentiment when it comes to a story they rightly depict as principally sentimental, rather than procedural; their over-reliance on sappy musical scoring is the movie's foremost flaw, however. But their determined focus on the optimism of this moment in the ongoing battle for LGBT civil rights is, itself, optimistic. Instead of examining the undoubtedly hopeless state of affairs of that battle across the globe today, they examine that state in the future, as history will remember it, as moments like this are shaping it. That's cause enough for me to get very sentimental indeed.