Flowers from the Heartland

One of the great things about short documentaries is that they can be made relatively quickly, so they can take into account current events that may still be happening.  In February of 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom legalized gay marriage.  This brought about a relative flood of gays and lesbians into San Francisco to get married legally before the courts inevitably overturned Newsom's ruling.  This happened in August.  During the period of legalized gay marriage, a group called Flowers from the Heartland was started to show support for these couples.  The concept is very simple.  People from around the country donate money to buy bouquets of flowers to be passed out to people awaiting marriage ceremonies.  Sometimes a note would accompany the bouquet.

The warmest part of Flowers from the Heartland is seeing the reactions of these couples.  They seem genuinely touched to be getting a gift from complete strangers.  Yes, it is their wedding day, so their emotions are already high, but it shows that total strangers, both gay and straight are supporting the idea of legalized gay marriage.  Director Peter Daulton goes for the straightforward approach by interviewing both people who received the flowers and some of the people the people that sent them.  There is nothing but support and love for all of the couples.  He manages to visit a few states along the way, showing some of the breadth of people happily giving their money in support.

Gay marriage is an inherently controversial and divisive issue, and Flowers from the Heartland skips over a lot of the issues surrounding it and just sugarcoats everything.  The assumption here is that gay marriage is the right of the people.  I have a hard time reconciling these last two points.  In a way, I would like to see Daulton's viewpoints articulated a little more.  Why does he feel that gay marriage is legal?  It would give some strength to the otherwise touchy-feely nature of this short.  On the other hand, by debating the finer legal points, it changes the tone of Flowers from the Heartland, taking away the light, happy feeling that Daulton was presumably going for, and potentially bringing in some of the uglier contentious points that just rile everybody up.  On the whole, I think that this is a nice little doc.  Daulton could have brought in a little more substance, since, as it stands, he's preaching to the choir, and worse, sometimes sounding like a commercial (albeit one with good intentions).

Gerf Rates It: Okay.
25 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language, would be a PG-13 or possibly an R.

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