Starring – Nicklaus Knipe, Joe DeSanti, Justin Parker
Directed by Jim Fields
“Okay, now that that’s settled, I can go to the bathroom.” -A character from Life After Ex after one of the gay couples in the film reunites.
Life After Ex is an adorable romantic comedy about an awful but luckily brief time in our history (although it didn’t feel brief at the time) about what it was like in America when same sex marriage started to become legal state by state. What should have been a wonderful time for same sex couples was instead mostly awful because even though you got married and it was all legal in the state you got married in, if you then went back to live in a state that did NOT recognize same sex marriage, then that marriage just didn’t exist according to those states that refused to recognize it. In other words, you were fucked!
Dylan and Steve are childhood best friends who fell in love and decided to do what any other couple has done since the history of marriage began, they got married. But they got married in 2011 in Iowa because same sex marriage was legal there, but they are residing in Nebraska where same sex marriage was a giant NO WAY JOSE! But love doesn’t always work out and so Dylan and Steve breakup, but they can’t get divorced because Nebraska doesn’t even see them as married.
What to do?
What to do?
What to do with such fucked-up legality?
Well, Dylan has to move to Iowa for a year in order to gain residency status and then he can get his gay divorce on. Oh the lovely things us gays had to do in order to survive history. But this being a romantic comedy, Dylan goes through the ups and downs of dating while residing in Iowa, which ends up being quite the roller coaster ride since he hasn’t really dated anyone besides his husband. So, chaos and confusion ensue, but this being a romantic comedy, I’m pretty sure you can guess where it will all end. Yep, that damn love, it is always conquering all.
I think this movie has some historical significance because this period in our history was so brief. This issue for same sex couples being married here but not there lasted basically 15 years from 2000 when Vermont became the first state to recognize civil unions between same sex couples until that glorious day on June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court said, “Hell yes, you can be married!” My wife and I were one of those couples that experienced being married here but not there. You can read more about our story in the film reviews for The State of Marriage and Limited Partnership, but I will say here that it was a giant pain in the ass and completely and utterly ridiculous from a legal standpoint and just plain ole not fair. And because this period was so thankfully brief, not a lot of films were made about this problem, if any, because I’m trying to think of any other films about this subject right now besides Life After Ex and I can’t come up with any. That could be my fucked-up memory thanks to 16 sessions of unnecessary electric shock treatment I got about 8 years ago now, or it could be there are simply no other movies that were made about this dilemma many same sex couples faced when they were married here but not there.
Luckily this movie was made and too bad more weren’t about this drama and unnecessary heartbreak and struggle many same sex married couples faced during this time period. So, if you want to relive the drama and giant pain in the ass of being married here but not there, or if you didn’t get to experience that lovely drama and just want to see what it was like, well, Life After Ex is just the movie for you. Enjoy! But only because you know there is a happy ending for both Dylan and for us too. 🙂
Life After Ex is currently screening at film festivals in the mid-West, but hopefully it will make it to a theater or streaming service near you soon. And thank you to Jim Fields, the writer and director of Life After Ex for making a movie that helped me get out all of my frustrations from that time period. I’m so thankful that I’m legally married to my wife in all 50 states now! 🙂