The Right to Love: An American Family

Well-intentioned but pedestrian, "The Right to Love" makes the case for gay marriage by focusing on a Northern California family of two daddies and two adopted kids.

With: Bryan Leffew, Jay Foxworthy, Daniel Leffew, Selena Leffew, Denise Miney, Justin R. Cannon, Anne Leffew, Chuck Leffew, Brandon Leffew.

Well-intentioned but pedestrian, “The Right to Love” makes the case for gay marriage by focusing on a Northern California family of two daddies and two adopted kids. They are indeed very ordinary folk, beyond the same-sex union, which makes Cassie Jaye’s docu a good argument for equality but a pretty dull human-interest story. Padded with rehashes of the state’s Proposition 8 battle, plus debates over hot-button issues (school bullying, gay youth suicide) already explored in greater depth elsewhere, the pic seems unlikely to foster much change preaching to the converted in a limited, Oscar-qualifying theatrical release starting Sept. 7.

Pic would arguably be more valuable in truncated form on TV and social media, where it might access and educate gay marriage foes. In fact, much of it already has been online; Jaye uses lengthy excerpts from the “Gay Family Values” videos that Bryan Leffew and Jay Foxworthy posted on YouTube to show just how “normal and boring our family is.” They’re right: Unless you’re thrown into shock seeing a loving male couple parent two young children, this footage is no more or less interesting than anybody’s homemovies. They seem very nice guys, regular churchgoing types, their kids Selena and Daniel happy and well cared for. Those who would nix gay adoption might well ask themselves where little Daniel would be without it, as he has a developmental condition that no other family had wanted to take on.

A couple for 13 years before California briefly allowed same-sex marriage, Leffew and Foxworthy are seen protesting Prop. 8, which overturned that earlier Supreme Court decision. Pic also covers the national dialogue those events inspired, as hashed over by such personalities as Rachel Maddow and Whoopi Goldberg on one hand, Ann Coulter and Kirk Cameron on the other.

Eventually the pic moves on to the related kid-centric territories of bullying and suicide. There’s also some input from Leffew’s father, grandmother and brother, who are supportive of the couple if not necessarily of their political cause, offering potential dramatic conflict that the film doesn’t really pursue.

Some rather cloying songs aside, packaging is adequate.

The Right to Love: An American Family


Production: A Jaye Bird Prods. release of a Jaye Bird presentation. Produced by Christina Clack, Cassie Jaye, Nena Jaye, Ford Austin, Marc Wasserman. Executive producer, Jay Pugh. Directed, edited by Cassie Jaye.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Jaye, Nena Jaye; music, Edwin Wendler; sound, Steve Orlando, Sean England, Frank Clary, Mac Smith. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, Aug. 2, 2012. (In Frameline.) Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Bryan Leffew, Jay Foxworthy, Daniel Leffew, Selena Leffew, Denise Miney, Justin R. Cannon, Anne Leffew, Chuck Leffew, Brandon Leffew.

More Film

  • A woman prays at a makeshift

    Japan Expresses Its Grief Over Deadly Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Fellow animators and others in the Japanese entertainment industry have expressed their sorrow and solidarity with Kyoto Animation, the well-respected anime studio that suffered a horrific arson attack and the deaths of dozens of staffers. “We are all fellows in the same boat. If we continue to create without being afraid, we will find solace [...]

  • For Lineup Story

    Billie Piper's Directorial Debut, 'Rare Beasts,' to Bow in Venice Critics' Week

    “Rare Beasts,” the directorial debut of British stage and screen actress Billie Piper (“Doctor Who,” “Penny Dreadful,” “Collateral”) is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, which has unveiled its lineup of nine first works, four of them from female filmmakers. Produced by Vaughan Sivell of Western Edge Pictures in association with [...]

  • 'Mientras dure la guerra' -Rodaje Modmedia-

    Alejandro Amenabar, Ricardo Darin, Paco Cabezas Bound for San Sebastian

    MADRID  –  Alejandro Amenábar, Ricardo Darín and Paco Cabezas, director of episodes from “Peaky Blinders” and “American Gods,” look set to join Penelope Cruz, already confirmed as a Donostia Award winner, at this year’s 67th San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival. The biggest movie event in the Spanish-speaking world, this year’s San Sebastian runs Sept.20-28. Amenábar’s [...]

  • Pinewood Studios James Bond

    Netflix's Shepperton Studios Deal Is Stretching the U.K.'s Production Limits

    Netflix’s huge new hub at Shepperton Studios outside London is a further fillip for Britain’s booming production sector. Amid jitters over Brexit and its effects on the economy, the streaming giant’s commitment is a vote of confidence in the U.K. entertainment industry and a continuing source of local jobs. But the decision by Netflix to [...]

  • Bottom of the 9th

    Film Review: ‘Bottom of the 9th’

    Nearly two decades after scoring an audience award at Sundance for “Two Family House,” a smartly understated yet deeply affecting indie about a Staten Island factory worker who deeply regrets stifling his showbiz ambitions, director Raymond De Felitta steps back up to the plate with “Bottom of the 9th,” another dramatically solid and emotionally satisfying [...]

  • Endemol Shine Builds ‘The Bridge’ in

    Endemol Shine Builds ‘The Bridge’ in Africa (EXCLUSIVE)

    DURBAN–Endemol Shine Group has sold the rights to adapt its critically acclaimed and highly popular Nordic Noir detective series “The Bridge” to Cape Town-based production company Both Worlds Pictures, Variety has learned exclusively. The series will feature an all-African cast and will be set around the Beit Bridge border crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Originally known [...]

  • Durban Film Fest 2019

    Durban Fest Hails Film as ‘Conscience of Our Nation’

    DURBAN–When Ros and Teddy Sarkin raised the curtain on the first Durban Intl. Film Festival 40 years ago, the odds were long that their scrappy fest would survive its inaugural edition. The apartheid government and its draconian censorship board had a stranglehold on the films that reached South African theaters, banning the sorts of subversive [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content