The Case Against 8

This riveting documentary chronicles the five-year campaign of the nonprofit American Foundation for Equal Rights to have California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in 2008, overturned in federal court. The snail’s pace and stuffy proceedings of the U.S. legal system aren’t exactly cinematic, but directors Ben Cotner and Ryan White, following in the tradition of filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, intimately document the foundation’s many meetings and depositions, artfully illustrating the meticulous planning that was required to win the case. The film beautifully connects the procedural ennui of large-scale legal cases with the individual struggles of those directly involved; unlike Wiseman, Cotner and White include talking-head interviews, but the commentary, particularly that of the same-sex couples who acted as plaintiffs, is consistently moving.