Critics' Pick

Married and Counting (NR)

Documentary 93 December 31, 1969
By Sherrie Li
If there is one thing everyone can probably agree upon, it’s that George Takei (as in “Ta-KAY is gay,” he recently joked) is the perfect narrator for a documentary about same-sex marriage. His voice provides a calm, weighty tone as he speaks of current gay-related laws as well as main couple Pat and Stephen’s backstory of growing up in Texas. The film takes us on the couple’s wedding tour across the country, where we see tender moments of the couple being helped by strangers as well as their disappointment as they seek the approval of their families. Shot from 2010 to 2011, the two men commemorate their anniversary by shlepping around in a van with their friends, getting hitched in every state that has legalized same-sex marriage (five at the time)—nitpicky (black pen, not blue!) paperwork, wedding stress, tearful faces and all. “There’s something aggressively joyful about it,” the New Hampshire wedding officiant says. “They’re saying to the world very loudly, ‘Our happiness is not a threat to you, but we are here. And we should be counting.’” This is no angry rant against the injustice of being denied certain rights as a couple; what Married and Counting achieves is a personal invitation to look at this couple’s lives—and to ask the opposition why their love is somehow less legitimate than others. Composed largely of homemade videos, the film shows Pat and Stephen putting their hearts on their sleeves with a simple intent: to celebrate a 25-year relationship between two individuals who just want to make things official. Maybe by their 50th anniversary, leaving their home state of New York will no longer mean they aren’t recognized as a married couple.
Allan Piper