Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank (USA, 87 min)
Directed by Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler
Park Creek Productions
This documentary is an insightful and intimate look into Former Representative Barney Frank’s life in public service, where he’s been at the forefront of the fight for gay rights, civil liberties and financial reform for over 40 years. The doc serves up Frank in all of his Wildean wittiness, showing how he could demolish his political adversaries in hilarious, rapid-fire debate, while never backing down from his convictions. It also catches Frank in humble moments—ambling around D.C. buildings, eyes scanning a hard copy of the New York Times, sometimes oblivious to his environment—which paints a rare picture of the inner life of this gruff, sometimes cranky politician. Moab-based directors Canavan and Chandler explore this quiet side Frank’s personal life, from his sacrifice of being closeted while in public office, to his public coming out in 1987 and his later marriage to James Ready, the first same-sex marriage by a sitting congressperson. Featuring interviews from across the political spectrum, from Frank’s Harvard college buddies to his Republican partners on the House Financial Services Committee, and liberal allies like Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the story of Frank’s life touches upon all of the great political conflicts of the recent past. If Barney Frank is not already on your list of US heroes, check out this documentary.