The Case Against 8

  • Review Date: June 4, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Compelling documentary on legal fight for same-sex marriage.
  • Review Date: June 4, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 112 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie promotes equality and the importance of fighting hard for what you believe.

Positive role models

The people featured in the film are indefatigable, committed, and determined, fighting battles both legal and personal to stick to what they believe in.


Some of the featured folks face very strong hostility.


Very brief kisses.


One person says "s--t" during an interview. Some sequences feature homosexual slurs, inluding "dyke" and "homo."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief mentions of people drinking champagne to celebrate or drinking at the end of a difficult day.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Case Against 8 is a comprehensive documentary about the legal fight to overturn California's Proposition 8, a state initiative that defined marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. When it passed in 2008, it effectively nullified all the marriages between same-sex partners in the state and barred new ones. Gay and lesbian advocates immediately began planning a legal campaign against the new law, and this film shows the behind-the-scenes planning and maneuvering that took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court. There's some brief swearing (including "s--t") and scenes that include homosexual slurs.

What's the story?

In November 2008, as voters elected Barack Obama to the presidency, California also passed Proposition 8, a law that eliminated same-sex couples' right to get married. Opponents of the law began planning a legal campaign to overturn it almost immediately. Enter THE CASE AGAINST 8, a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the case, which finally ended up in the Supreme Court. Spearheading the fight is the unlikely duo of Ted Olson and David Boies, two attorneys best known for opposing each other in the case that decided the 2000 presidential election, Bush v. Gore.

Is it any good?


Proposition 8 was a significant ballot initiative, in part because it led to vehement opposition that ended up with a Supreme Court ruling that opened to door to same-sex marriage around the country. The Case Against 8 is an up-close, step-by-step examination of a complicated case; it allows viewers to follow the legalities and strategies used to put forward the plaintiffs' overall message: that marriage equality should be about love. The film shows what daily life is like for a gay couple and how they've been affected by being unable to marry. It also reveals how being at the center of a lengthy, high-profile lawsuit can upend your home.

This film makes a very thorny issue very approachable at a level that teens and even some older tweens should be able to grasp, humanizing a debate that may seem remote to some viewers. It's one of the rare films that manages to be simultaneously important, entertaining, and educational.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how The Case Against 8 presents its arguments. Do you agree? Should documentaries always be completely objective?

  • What do you think about the legal strategies used to overturn Proposition 8? Do you think a different strategy might have had a different result?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 6, 2014
DVD release date:January 6, 2015
Directors:Ben Cotner, Ryan White
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Case Against 8 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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