Critics' Pick

The Right to Love: An American Family (NR)

Documentary 88
By Kristina Bravo
Jay Foxworthy woke up in pain, his lungs still containing some water from his suicidal leap off Sonoma County's landmark Wohler Bridge the night before. He had a homophobic father, a mother who’d suffered a nervous breakdown and was engaged to marry a pregnant woman. That morning at daylight, the young Foxworthy had walked from the river back to his car, angry over his failure. Years later, Foxworthy returned to the site to relate his tale, filmed by now-husband Bryan Leffew in Cassie Jaye’s documentary, The Right to Love: An American Family. Producer Christina Clack chanced upon the couple and their two adopted kids, Daniel and Selena, through their Youtube series, Gay Family Values, whose mission is to exhibit the normalcy of the Leffew-Foxworthy family: grace at the dinner table, elaborate tooth fairy productions, forgetting wedding anniversary dates. Against the backdrop of the battle for marriage equality in California, The Right to Love depicts high spirits, disappointments and pathos. Jaye’s directorial credits include the award-winning documentaries Daddy I Do and Faces Overlooked, and she shows a deft hand here, dealing with such poignant scenes as Foxworthy addressing young people who have experienced terrible internal struggles not unlike those he went through at Wohler Bridge. Jaye leaves her audience more enlightened thanks to her exploration of the intellectual and political issues at hand, but the film’s humanity is what ultimately gets her message across.
Cassie Jaye Justin R. Cannon, Bryan Leffew, Denise Miney, Jay Leffew


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