"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Directed by Jodie Foster
Written by Dan Futterman
Produced by Jodie Foster and Gus Van Sant
Laura Linney (Colonel Angela Benton)
Mary-Louise Parker (Allison Ferry)
Harrison Ford (General David Benton)
Glenn Close (Melissa Benton)
Susan Sarandon (Kathleen Ferry)
Marisa Tomei (Joanne Ellis)
James Gandolfini (Colonel Steven Nixon)
Albert Finney (General John Taylor)
Tagline: "What do you do when it’s a crime to be yourself?"
Synopsis: Colonel Angela Benton is an excellent soldier. A West Point graduate, she served in both Gulf Wars and Bosnia with numerous commendations. Her father, General David Benton, is a Vietnam War hero. She had a seemingly perfect military career. There’s only one problem. She’s a homosexual. The government’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy makes it a crime to be openly homosexual in the military. Colonel Angela Benton has been living a lie all her life. All she wanted to do was serve her country like her father and her ancestors before him.
After a few very stressful months at work, Angela and her partner, Allison Ferry, decide to take an Alaskan cruise. While on the cruise she is spotted by one of her classmates from West Point. They are chatting up a storm and everything is fine until Allison comes up to Angela and kisses her. Angela’s friend is in shock, and reports her homosexual activity to General John Taylor, Angela's commanding officer. Her secret is out.
When she returns home there are several messages on her voicemail. The first is from General Taylor, calling for her immediate resignation on the grounds that she was a closeted lesbian, violating government policy. The second is from her mother, Melissa. Melissa is your average military trophy wife hostess. Melissa is yelling and screaming into the answering machine. She ends by saying that if she never wants to see her daughter again.
Soon enough, the press has her house surrounded and Angela has no choice but to leave. She moves in with Allison and Kathleen Ferry, Allison’s mother. Angela places a call to another former Major Joanne Ellis. Ellis served with before leaving the military and becoming a lawyer. For the case against Benton, General Taylor has requested Colonel Steven Nixon, the Army’s most ruthless lawyer, to prosecute the case.
David and Melissa Benton are the next to come under the public’s radar. Questions are constantly being asked. Will Benton side with his country or his family? Who will they support? Will they attend the court martial? Melissa can’t take the pressure anymore. The shame, the press, everything, it’s all too much for her. She waits until her husband is asleep, takes his gun, and shoots herself.
Will Colonel Angela Benton be allowed to live with her comrades in arms as well as her devoted partner? Will one woman’s struggle be able to change the world’s mightiest fighting force?
What the Press would say:
Jodie Foster’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is one of the best and definitely the most controversial film of the year. It’s ripped from the headlines plot tells the story of Angela Benton, an army officer fired after coming out as a lesbian. I can most definitely say that this is bar far one of the best ensemble casts assembled in the history of cinema. Laura Linney, Mary-Louise Parker, Harrison Ford, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, Marisa Tomei, James Gandolfini, and Albert Finney are all absolutely fantastic. Laura Linney gives one of the best performances ever as the disgraced colonel. She is absolutely heartbreaking in the role. Glenn Close is a lock for a nomination, if not a win as Linney’s mother, Melissa Benton. This is the best supporting performance of the year and deserves recognition for it. Close has never been so devastating in any other film. Although her previous directorial work has never been recognized, Jodie Foster is this year’s Sean Penn. She was able to relate to Linney’s character, since she herself was closeted for many years. In addition to directing, Foster also co-produces with Gus Van Sant, the director of what should be one of this year’s most controversial film on gay rights, “Milk.” The screenplay by Dan Futterman, who wrote 2006’s Best Picture nominated “Capote,” solidifies this film as a big frontrunner for Oscar season. This groundbreaking and controversial drama will most likely be nominated in the following categories.
Best Picture (Jodie Foster and Gus Van Sant)
Best Director (Jodie Foster)
Best Actress (Laura Linney)
Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close)
Best Original Screenplay (Dan Futterman)