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This documentary is the perfect way to fully educate Americans on one of the landmark political shifts of the 20th century. The Case Against 8 follows the two gay couples chosen to make the case to overturn Proposition 8, California’s ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. The two women, Kris Perry and Sandra Stier, and the two men, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, endure experiences that would tear many marriages limb from limb as their quest to wed proceeds for over five years. This journey is highlighted by dynamic transcripts, glimpses into “marriage equality war rooms,” home video, and photographs.

The story reaches a crescendo when the couples relate their experiences of testifying on the first day of the trial. Perry and Stier especially are fierce, well-spoken women who reinforce the argument put forth by their infamously conservative but resoundingly charismatic lawyer Ted Olson: that marriage equality is a traditional value and its opposition is unconstitutional. The film revolves around both sides’ anxiety about the future of America, a rapidly changing nation grappling with the idea that second-class citizenry of any kind diminishes the country as a whole. The narrative is dense, but understandably so, and not without its light moments. A richly informative investigation, it pulls viewers along on a political and legal thrill ride that will have you cheering the central couples on scene after scene. 

–Amy Carlberg