Film/VOD Review: MARRIED AND COUNTING (directed by Allan Piper)

Post image for Film/VOD Review: MARRIED AND COUNTING (directed by Allan Piper)

by Ella Martin on July 12, 2013

in CD-DVD,Film


Stephen Mosher and Pat Dwyer met in undergrad at North Texas State University and have been inseparable ever since.  As their twenty-five-year anniversary approaches, they decide it’s finally time to tie the knot.  The trouble is, in most states, that decision isn’t theirs to make.  Stephen and Pat are gay.

Married and Counting is a touching, over-the-top tribute to love.  Director Allan Piper succeeds in capturing and communicating the deep bond these two men have nurtured over the years — a bond they express simply with their mutually attractive magnetic hematite wedding rings, and grandly with their seven weddings.

Ella Martin's Stage and Cinema film review of "Married and Counting."

While the film concerns a basic, everyday-life civil right — committing to a partner in marriage and enjoying certain legal protections and privileges as a result — its form is decidedly nonvérité.  With the exception of the wedding ceremonies themselves, the majority of the scenes feel pre-planned — even those that seem designed to feel candid.  Stephen and Pat are filmed as they do everything wedding-related.  While watching them under these special circumstances certainly gives us a glimpse of who they are as people, we don’t see them at work or talking about things that don’t have something to do with their gaggle of weddings; plus, some of the scenes do not add much to the story.  The high-stress trip to VT and NH to pick up wedding licenses, for instance, shot by a dashboard camera, is annoyingly performative.  Stephen quotes his father who calls the project a “colossal show of egotism and expense.”  Whatever it is, it’s engaging, informative (“There are over 1300 rights and privileges that come to heterosexual couples at the federal level”) and, for romantics, very moving.

Ella Martin's Stage and Cinema film review of "Married and Counting."

Aside from a few clunky repeated talking points, and some awkwardly performative private moments, this film makes its case with kindness, calm, and maturity.  As their friend Vince states, Stephen and Pat are “aggressively joyful,” and ready to live a deep and lasting commitment not just to each other but to life itself.  George Takei’s epic narration drives home the hard facts quoted at key points in the film.

Just two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  I have yet to receive an invitation to Stephen and Pat’s next marriage; after all, eight states down, forty-two to go.

Ella Martin's Stage and Cinema film review of "Married and Counting."

Married and Counting
Speakeasy Productions
USA, 93min, No Rating
now available on VOD
to view film, visit Film Buff or iTunes

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat July 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hey Ella,

Next up for us will be RI. We don’t have all the details settled yet but It should be late summer/early fall. Is RI accessible to you? You are welcome to attend.

BTW – nothing in our film is staged at all… we’re just gay.

Pat <—- really… Pat 😉


Ella Martin June 26, 2015 at 9:14 am

Thinking of you two today!!!!!! YAY!!!!



Leave a Comment