As I was sitting at the theater about 10 minutes before the screening of “Tying the Knot” (Roadside Attractions) was to take place, I was worried that I might be the only person in attendance. I wouldn’t have cared about seeing the film alone; but I was more concerned that this film might not be getting the attention it deserved.
“Tying the Knot” is a documentary about the nationally polarizing issue of gay marriage. I went to see it in the hope that it might present an enlightening viewpoint on the issue, perhaps fairly presenting the arguments of both sides.
As it turned out, about four other people showed up, and the movie wasn’t quite as balanced as I imagined it. Like Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Tying the Knot” makes documentary filmmaker Jim de S?ve’s stance on this issue quite clear. De S?ve succeeds in his attempt to have the audience sympathize with the gay couples who have been affected most by this issue, and every shot of a Christian-rightist invokes thoughts of Jonathan Edwards’ classic essay “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
In the documentary, those images are intermingled around two heart-wrenching stories about gay and lesbian widow(er)s who became caught up in legal battles surrounding the pensions and estates of the deceased. The argument is made that the legal definition of marriage as “one man, one woman” is discriminatory by preventing homosexual couples from receiving the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Although these stories provide footage for most of the movie, de S?ve also uses street interviews, Congressional coverage, gay marriages in Holland and Canada, protests and expert testimony on the history of marriage as an institution to support his points. The footage of U.S. Congress shows congressmen on the extremities of both sides of the issue. Every second of this footage is masterfully edited together along with a very appropriate score.
Having had my mind already made up on this issue prior to seeing the film, I was able to take with me what I felt were strong arguments in support of the right for gays and lesbians to marry. I would highly recommend the film to those still uncertain about this issue, or those wishing to convince a friend of their stance but are unable to articulate it themselves.
“Tying the Knot” opens at Landmark E St. Cinema on Oct. 8.