I was a very precocious kid. So one day I ended up looking up the word 'homosexual' in the dictionary. Something along the lines of a romantic attraction between members of the same sex. And it slowly dawned on me that that's what I was.
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"8" chronicles the closing arguments of the federal trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger, in order to overturn Proposition 8, an amendment that eliminated same-sex couples rights to marry in California. The actual trial wasn't broadcast by orders from the judge, so what writer Dustin Lance Black had access to make his play was the transcripts from the case, which are used as verbatim here and with the actors (not sure if the same thing happened on the original Broadway showing) doing a live reading of the transcript/screenplay. It feels like a spur of the moment thing, all the personalities involved were campaigning to a similar trial happening in another state, so they had to rush things and make it relevant to this other case. Great move by Rob Reiner and company.
The picture is powerfully made, positively relevant and historic for the gay rights, despite the lack of knowledge from people in seeing it since it was a video project - but in terms of accessibility is right there on the web for everyone to read the play or see this project. American Foundation for Equal Rights holds the license to all of that material, which is out there for free, with valuable educational purposes.
Not just what it has to present or how it presents, "8" got me hooked to it due to its amazing ensemble cast. Plaintiffs for the case are played by Christine Lahti and Jamie Lee Curtis (as Kris Perry and Sandy Stier); and also Matt Bomer and Matthew Morrison (Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami) - both gay couples are represented by attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, played by Martin Sheen and George Clooney. On the other side on the issue, oppositors are played by Kevin Bacon, Jane Lynch, George Takei and others. And with witnesses from all parts portrayed by show stealer's Chris Colfer (dazzling performance), Jesse Tyler Ferguson and John C. Reilly (taking over Reiner's original role on the Broadway play, the man is responsible for some of the most hilarious moments of the play, quite shocking to see that his character actually existed, said some of the strangest comments that failed to prove that his opposition to gay marriage was solid).
So here's a real life story that doesn't have fictional moments or embellishment by Hollywood. It is told like it happened, not only the trial, the moments in court but also interviews that happened in between and afterwards. Obviously, that the closer you are to the topics presented the greater the experience; but if you're not totally in it you can learn a lot from the movie or the real case as well. Sure, there'll be complaints from some viewers thinking "here's another liberal propaganda, it's all biased and one-sided...and stuff" but when you look for the heart of the matter you can't support life to its fullest and cheer for the progress of mankind by putting disadvantages on everyone else that doesn't go or fit with your way of thinking, of feeling, of sensing things, or simply what one thinks is against nature (when in fact it IS nature following its usual course). The movie (and the trial must say) feels passionate about the gay marriage issue not because it has to; it's mostly because it comprehends a whole variety of aspects that most people don't think about, they're so prejudiced yet they refuse to truly admit. Why marriage or family constitution must be just for one type of pairing, man and woman? Why the ones opposed to a different view always have the worst arguments to present? I just put those examples but by watching the film you'll get a lot more question that won't be answered so easily. And as for the other side of the battle, they raise the most important points: Why our love can't be accepted and validated? Why we have to fight for an apparent simple act? When we're gonna be able to just live like we are and getting access to what every straight person can? It's all there in the movie in between conversation of Perry/Stier with their kids and other great moments.
Watching "8" was a perfect combination of emotions. Through the whole experience I was thrilled, excited, marvelled, at times even angry and combative, almost as if I wanted to be a part of the actual trial. By the time the cast is joined by some of the real participants of the case, all the excitement from before becomes a heart-warming effect, of the victory conquered by the advances those families went through and many more will face in the years to come - not just in California, maybe in all U.S. and possibly someday all over the world. It all begins with small steps like these. Powerful. 10/10
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