Married and Counting: Film Review

Married and Counting - H - 2013
Although more than a little gimmicky, this documentary movingly puts a personal spin on an urgent issue.

Allan Piper's documentary chronicles a same-sex couple who repeat their marriage vows in every state in which it's legal.

Anyone who doesn’t like weddings would be well advised to steer clear of Married and Counting, Allan Piper’s documentary about a gay couple who travel around the country to get married in every state in which it’s legal. By the time you’ve witnessed three or four of the teary nuptials on display, you’ll be desperately hoping for them to elope.

Of course, that’s the curmudgeonly view of this timely film arriving on screens as the Supreme Court is still weighing the issue. While it’s obviously preaching to the choir, it makes its case for marriage equality in a heartfelt fashion that puts a very human face on the issue.

Or two faces, to be exact, those belonging to Pat Dwyer and Stephen Mosher, who have been together for 25 years since meeting as college students in Texas. They first got married in Connecticut after that state made same-sex marriage legal. Unfortunately, that marriage is not recognized by the vast majority of states, or by the federal government. So as a way of making a political statement—or possibly auditioning for a reality show—they decided to repeat the ceremony on what could be described as a wedding tour.

So, with different groups of friends and family in attendance, they travel to Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, California, and finally Washington, D.C., where they perform the ritual on the steps of the Supreme Court (the filming took place several years ago).

The film delivers an intimate portrait of the obviously loving couple, who come across as very real—no mean feat, these days. Needless to say, tensions arise over the complicated logistics, not to mention that Mosher has not yet come out to some family members and his father objects to the weddings on philosophical grounds.

Although a stunt-like atmosphere inevitably permeates the proceedings narrated by Star Trek’s George Takei, it would take a cold heart indeed to resist being moved by the couple’s struggle to have their union fully recognized.  

Opened April 26 (Speakeasy Productions)

Director/producer/director of photography/editor: Allan Piper

Composer: Richard Berman

Not rated, 93 min.