POSTED April 25 2013

Speak now or forever hold your peace

Robert De Niro as the father of the groom in "The Beig Wedding"

Robert De Niro as the father of the groom in “The Beig Wedding”

Thinking of Shakespeare Lord Byron noted that “Tragedy ends in death and comedy in marriage.” Thinking of the wedding movies that pollute the multiplex from Valentine’s Day through Memorial Day the modern observer might note that they are tragedies wearing cummerbunds, bridal gowns and forced smiles, like The Big Wedding, a film that manages to desecrate the Catholic Church not to mention the personas of Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon as the groom’s parents and stepmom.

I blame Four Weddings and a Funerala perfectly lovely film about friendship and relationships. Its success begat the Bridezilla cycle of movies focused on the wedding itself. Bride Wars. Sex and the City. The Wedding Planner. Something Borrowed. 27 Dresses. The subtext of these films, observed a friend of my stepdaughter, Morgan, is that “You don’t need a man to be happy but you do need the shoes.”

The reason that the wedding is such a great comedic device is that it has inherent narrative drama and the nuptials are a symbolic way of reconciling opposites. From A Wedding to Wedding Crashers to Rachel Getting Married there are contemporary wedding movies I like, but their narratives are not focused on the ceremony, but on other tensions. Interestingly, both Mamma Mia! and The Big Wedding feature Amanda Seyfried as the bride, but are really about the dysfunctional relationships among the bride’s and groom’s parents.

Your thoughts about wedding films versus films with weddings in them?




  1. Debbie says:

    I’m so bored with any film that has a wedding. (But then, I’m so bored with weddings in general…) The one wedding film I loved was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But I don’t remember the wedding scene at all; I’m sure I found it dull. I remember the Windex.

  2. Nancy C says:

    FORCE OF NATURE was kind of a bizarre anti-wedding movie, with an even more bizarre mispairing of Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock. The whole time, you’re thinking that somehow this duo is going to wind up together, while they struggle on their respective journeys home, his to his own wedding (to another woman). Sandra B. turns up in another anti-wedding movie, this time paired with Ryan Reynolds, in the more recent THE PROPOSAL (was that the right name?), where she plays his svengali of a boss. A foreign national whose work visa is about to expire, she commands him to marry her to stave off her impending deportation. In spite of myself, I kind of liked them both. Recently, I re-watched an old classic that, until now, never struck me as a marriage movie: THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. But really, that’s exactly what it’s about: the broken, fragile warriors returning home from the Second World War to try to pick up and reassemble the pieces of their old lives as husbands or husbands-to-be. For me, the most memorable line in the film is Teresa Wright’s vow, “I’m going to break up that marriage!” when she sees the shabby treatment war hero Dana Andrews endures at the hands of his shallow, boozy, floozy of a wife, Virginia Mayo. Indeed, the film ends with the wedding of the double amputee Homer and his loyal, devoted bride Wilma (the adoring girl next door)–punctuated by the passionate embrace and declaration of love between Wright and Andrews. Love (and marriage) conquers all.

  3. Carrie says:

    Nancy: I love Forces of Nature which, in one monsoonal gust, does away with Bridezilla and reaffirms love. I agree it’s a weird movie, but I love Marc Lawrence (who wrote it, and also the Miss Congeniality movies, Two Weeks Notice and Music & Lyrics) and Bronwen Hughes did a poetic job directing it.

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