An Affirmative Act: A Social-Issue Tract Obscured by Showy Genre Twists

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An Affirmative Act
Directed by Jana Mattioli
Take 2 Releasing<>BR> Opens April 1, AMC Loews Village 7

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A promising story obscured by showy genre twists, An Affirmative Act is launched as a social-issue tract about a lesbian couple in New Jersey who married and adopted a child while one of them posed as a man. Directed by first-timer Jana Mattioli, the film veers into the narrow channels of the bare-bulb courtroom melodrama and then the rapids of the lurid conspiracy thriller before washing ashore in pieces. Busted for fraud, Samantha (Elissa Goldstein) and Terry (Candice Holdorf) are threatened with seven years in prison. The couple’s rejection of a deal offered by a shifty prosecutor (Blanche Baker) comprises the film’s modest moral stake: They broke the law because the law was broken. A hotshot lawyer (Eric Etebari) takes up the case, only to be drawn into the wrong end of a statewide conspiracy to enact an anti-gay marriage bill while nobody’s looking. The governor (Justin Deas), a Confederate Hitler-lover (Thomas G. Waites), and a mythical mob honcho known as the Man in the White Suit (Charles Durning) walk into a bar. . . . No, they work together to hijack the case for different reasons, none of which are particularly clear or of particular interest by the time all is laboriously said and haplessly done.

 
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10 comments
anna.e.vitale
anna.e.vitale

*SPOILERS*

Are you kidding me?

This movie is like Conspiracy Theories Gone Wild. The Man in the White Suit is white, no he's black, whatever the case, he's threatening everyone about this gay marriage case despite the fact that he doesn't care about gay marriage. The governor is faking a brain tumor, the judge is being bribed, and the neonazis are hard at work being solely responsible for policy-making in the state of New Jersey.

This had the chance to be a good movie about a real story. Instead it turned into this insanity that doesn't quite make sense even after the movie is over. And how does our case wrap up? With the bribed judge turning good guy and "sentencing" all the bad guys, And The Man in the White Suit never is explained.

And did I mention that we end the movie with the realization that one of our protagonists is a total witch?

Moviegoer
Moviegoer

I live in Boston and went to the theater here but I'm from NJ. I heard about this movie from my mother who heard about it on a local NJ talk show, but I couldn't find any reviews in Boston. On the internet I found yours, "Wouldn't you like to know", and boy am I glad that I followed my own instincts and still went to see it. It's the intrigue and genre that make this movie so smart and successful in delivering its social issue message. The film is a courtroom drama first, with a legal story about civil rights. In this case, gay marriage. The brilliance is that it doesn't ram gay marriage down your throat and that gives the film its best chance to change people's minds.

MovieGuy
MovieGuy

I love this banter! Kenneth Del Vecchio or Kenny D as we affectionately or not-so-affectionately know him would usually never see it! He doesn't even go on facebook, but I will find a way to get him to read this little thread, without making myself known! And he will immediately figure out who Who Wouldn't Like to Know is because the 180 IQ that you always hear about, he really has. He is a total $#^#&^#^#^#, but he's also the smartest person we know, both commonsense and academically. How many people know this movie, with legal knowledge, like Who Wouldn't Like to Know? I can almost guess because I have worked on one or a couple of his movies. As for An Affirmative Act, come on, this is a very good movie. The fact that he pulled it out of the courtroom at the end was genius! I don't personally like Kenny D too much, but he's one hell of a producer, you can't take that way from him. Jealousy is a very bad word.

princesscassie
princesscassie

Finally there is some chatter about this movie. It shouldn't be about the producer, however, as thankful as I am that he made this movie. No spoilers here, but the last lines of the movie meant everything. How bold and strong. Lesbians and gays everywhere should be empowered through this piece of art, turning it into real life action. I am not gay, but I do think we should all be treated equally. That's what this movie tells us, and it does it in an entertaining, mindful way. Two women aren't treated equally, so they seek to change the law on their own, in a way that can't hurt anyone else. When they get caught, they don't fold, but rather battle the system. They're clever enough to hire a lawyer who's not part of their group, who can relate to a jury and a judge. The lawyer takes the same risks as they do, but for different reasons. And, what happens. I said no spoilers here. I saw it in Hudson Country, NJ. I can't remember the city, my friend took me! I'm from central, NJ, but it was somewhere by the Lincoln Tunnel, off Route 495. See it if you can.

NYC Girl
NYC Girl

Hey, what is it that makes this guy Ken Del Vecchio so powerful, "Wouldn't you Want to Know"?? I just checked out one of his websites, www.justiceforallproductions.c.... He's only produced and written about 20 movies with dozens of stars in them, written a bunch of novels and law books, owns Hoboken Int'l Film Festival, used to be a judge in NJ and owns a law firm with about 30 lawyers working for him. He sounds like your basic loser. I followed with a google search and found the same thing. I think you should take him on. You probably have waited a few more tables than him and can carry a bunch of plates at once.

Dali Goprimash
Dali Goprimash

You're not on target with your review. Other than a few unusual casting choices, this was an incredible courtroom drama that made a powerful point on one of the more important social issues currently being argued in the United States. What's known as the best courtroom drama? Philadelphia? This movie, An Affirmative Act, was better. I got tears in my eyes twice during it. You might be influenced into thinking Philadelphia is better because it starred Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, but this little film beats it. The ending was just great.

Wouldn't you like to know
Wouldn't you like to know

I'm glad a critic outside of Ken Del Vecchio's payroll finally gave their two cents. This movie feels more like a 80 minute soap opera about gay marriage. Oh and why hasn't anyone else questioned how the judge got away with blackmailing the governor, chief of staff, and district attorney?! The whole thing is absurd. There isn't enough of a struggle in is movie, everything happens so easily, and every piece of the puzzle just falls into their laps without a single bit of effort. Yawn.

RoborCop
RoborCop

I saw An affirmative Act with Anthony C tonight and I saw things a little different. I wanted to catch this flick because of Jackie martling, I'm a huge Howard Stern fan. i had no idea what the movie was going to be about. Martling wasn't too funny in it, but he had a good role and did a pretty good job. The movie was obviously for gay marriage and although I really don't have a position on the topic, I'd rather it didn't take a side. I do agree that the writing is what makes this movie because the courtroom parts were totally realistic (I am a retired police officer) and I was interested all the way through. I liked some of the actors and some I didn't, but the two attorneys (Etebari and baker) were brilliant. Also, i thought the other lead (Goldstein) was particularly good beacuse she seemed so natural playing both a law professor, wife, defendant and victim.

Anthony C
Anthony C

Saw it tonight at AMC Loews. Here's my take. The acting was primarily solid with standout performances from the two lead actresses, especially the one posing as a man, and Deas. Lead actor was strong too. The writing was the best part of the movie, fooling the audience twice with an ending you couldn't predict. The movie would've been boring without the suspense. This is really a mainsteam movie, not a gay movie, but it sends a clear pro-gay marriage message in a cinematic way. The overall production value was decent but nothing incredible, sometimes it was too dark and music took over too often. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

 

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