Set against the star-stacked, history-sweeping account of the gay rights movement offered by ABC’s ambitious new four-part docudrama When We Rise, filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein’s modest documentary may feel like a niche undertaking, but it still carves out its own worthy place in the struggle. Focused primarily on activist Evan Wolfson and attorney Mary Bonauto, both of whom have devoted their lives to marriage equality, Freedom provides a boots-on-the-ground account of the state-by-state battles that ultimately led all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the story’s outcome is hardly a mystery — the landmark case was affirmed by a 5–4 margin in June 2015 — and the look of the film itself a little docu-drab, it’s also a shrewd and frequently moving testament to the true nature of change: a thing built not just on grandly eloquent Atticus Finch-style speeches and decisive moments of triumph but on the incremental, often tedious labor that bends — in its own grinding, unglorious way — the long arc toward justice. B+
The Freedom to Marry