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Necessary but flaccid advocacy, Jim de Sève's gay-marriage doc opts for easy lionization and vilification over nuanced analysis. Centering around two subjects—Tampa-based Mickie, whose partner, Lois, was killed in the line of duty; and Okie Sam, who shared a life with Earl for more than 20 years until his death—Knot chronicles the indignities and injustices endured by the widow and widower, who are denied the 1,138 federal rights granted to straight married couples. Soundbites from Bob Barr, James Dobson, and George W. Bush remind us of the powers of the hate machine. Gay Pride revelers in Toronto and Amsterdam, where same-sex marriage is legal, offer simplistic visions of What Could Be. But where are the scenes from a marriage? Because the film focuses on stalwart Mickie and Sam, who reminisce about their dead spouses, we never get to see the dailiness of coupled life or learn what made these relationships tick—and why they are so worthy of legal validation.


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