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Ask Not (2008)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

A film that reveals the personal stories of Americans willing to risk their lives for a country that criminalizes the act of coming out. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how "don't ... See full summary »

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Title: Ask Not (2008)

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A film that reveals the personal stories of Americans willing to risk their lives for a country that criminalizes the act of coming out. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how "don't ask don't tell" affects them during their tours of duty, as they struggle to maintain a double life. The film also follows gay veterans and young organizers turning to forms of personal activism to overturn the policy. Written by Johnny Symons

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Documentary | War

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26 April 2008 (USA)  »

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Ask not what you can do for your country… because it's not wanted if you're gay…
22 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this in the 10% Cinema sidebar at the 33rd Cleveland International Film Festival. Symons' documentary takes a fairly conventional approach in describing how nearly 12,000 men and women have been discharged from the military as part of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Many of these folks have "mission-critical" skills (such as speaking Arabic) and have served honorably until they "came out".

Good historical footage is included, with a nice counterpoint between Harry Truman integrating the armed services (pretty much by presidential proclamation) and Bill Clinton's attempt to keep a campaign promise and get the same rights for gays which was transmogrified by political compromise, giving us a policy that still actively (they do "ask"!) discriminates against the gay community.

This movie supports the gay community in the military and the military establishment as a whole. It's clear that it's the policy that is being implemented "because it's an order", not the majority of the soldiers who are comfortable serving with whatever people make up their unit. Several people are followed, including protest groups and a gay soldier serving in Iraq. I felt although there was a reporting bias (in that its point-of-view is from one side of the issue) it reported in a fair and non-strident fashion, providing a "close-up and personal" view of individuals who very much want to serve (and have served) their country and their travails at attempting to do so honorably and honestly.


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