"8: The Mormon Proposition " Review

8: The Mormon Proposition
Title: 8: The Mormon Proposition
Director: Reed Cowen
Studio: Red Flag Releasing
Genre(s): Documentary
Rated: R (For some language/sexual references)

A disclaimer before we begin: This movie deals with topics that are sensitive and provocative. While I’ll try to make sure my dry wit and catchy writing style makes this an easier read it should be noted up-front that politics and personal beliefs will have to be shared so there’s a good chance your feelings will be hurt. We in understanding? Alright, let’s start. “8: The Mormon Proposition” is a documentary about the controversial Proposition 8 bill that was voted on in the election that would amend the California state constitution so that only marriages between a man and a woman would be valid in the state. Some say it took away rights while others felt it protected family values.

As someone who voted yes on the proposition I want to say it was because voting no on it would have actually broken the separation between church and state rule we’ve lived by, but apparently no one else in this movie wants to bring THAT topic up! What this movie does want to discuss though is that the Mormon church were the most outspoken opponents of the bill and gave the most money to the campaign that would eventually defeat the bill. Of course the Mormon church wasn’t the only organization against this proposition and virtually every Christian related religion (and some non-Christian religions) were against the bill, but seeing that the director is a former Mormon maybe he had a personal grudge to voice.

The movie goes through the stages of bill being proposed, bill voting on, and then goes into the subject of gay teen suicide and torture. All the while that gay people are the nicest people in the world. There’s nothing wrong with this mind you. Many of the gay people in this movie come off as very nice. And I know the Mormon church was a big supporter of Prop. 8. That this movie doesn’t really try to get the other side of the story is disappointing only in the sense that it’s become so common for a documentary to be biased to an extreme. Granted, “8: The Mormon Proposition” doesn’t exactly play fast and loose with the facts. They pull up some pretty reveling documents proving that Mormon’s did do what they could to make sure Prop. 8 passed.

For that matter the movie does make a good argument that since the Mormon church is a tax exempt church that they have no right to donate money to bills that will eventually be voted on. It’s hard to argue with these points as they do make a strong case. I guess the problem I have is that - good intentions aside - the movie tries so hard to convince us that gay people are saints and that religious people are all obviously bigots. And honestly, Prop. 8 seems like old news at this point. The stories of Mormon’s performing shock therapy on gay teens was far more interesting and worthy of a documentary feature. The movie also ends with a strange montage of how progress is being made to appeal Prop. 8, when the reality is that law is here to stay.

Look, before I end this review I want to point out that reviews like this are difficult because I do feel for these people and they are obviously passionate enough about the subject to warrant putting time and money into this film. But while there is much to like they win no arguments by prefacing their problems this way. Making them to look like saints and the world to be their enemy portrays them as close-minded and ignorant. Singling out one group as the responsible ones for all this is wrong and petty. A more interesting work could have been made on the conflict of church donations and shock therapy, but this is too little too late. This isn’t trash, but it’s also not real journalism, which makes it harder to swallow. There's my review. I hope no one takes it personally.

Parents, strong language and frank sexual discussion from all sides makes this unsuitable for most children. Recommended for ages 17 and up.