Married…with Movies

My sister and I, playing dress-up in my mother’s wedding dress.

I’m back in Massachusetts for my sister’s wedding this Sunday. So forgive me if I have Wedding on the brain. I’ve never been this involved in a wedding before, and have only been to a handful in the past. And I can now say from experience that there’s a reason so many movies are plotted around weddings. The extreme importance can either greatly heighten the drama and tension between people, blow the tiniest things out of proportion to hilarious results, or both.

Thank God my family, and my sister in particular, have a very healthy and firm grasp on everything that’s happening. We’re as prepared as possible so things don’t go wrong, but understand unforeseen things happen and in that case we just need to go with the flow and enjoy ourselves. Overall, we’d make for a pretty boring movie. I guess that actually is too bad, because I’m a filmmaker and I could use some inspiration for scripts.

But from making sure we all remember to eat so we don’t pass out from the stress, to guest/table arrangement futzing, to worryingly over-editing my Maid of Honor speech, there’s been enough for me to see how easily things could get out of hand. It’s been making me think about some of the most memorable wedding-related movies (and about eloping, if the day ever comes).

Rachel Getting Married

Despite the title, the poster Rachel’s wedding is not the focus of the film. Literally.

The better (by the widest margin) of Anne Hathaway’s wedding-centered movies. One of the great parts of Jenny Lumet’s script is that Rachel’s wedding not as the focus and cause of the drama, but as the backdrop and catalyst for unresolved family issues coming to a head.


If Ophelia has been a bride, this is exactly what her wedding would have been like.

Is it possible to dislike a film, yet find it fascinating enough to want to watch it multiple times? Because that’s how I feel about Melancholia. None of the characters are very likable (something about Charlotte Gainsbourg just bothers me) and the entire film calls up the feeling of watching a car crash, either the farcical crash of clown cars in the first half or the tragic mangling of two full school buses in the second. But watching it makes me feel (a) my sister’s wedding isn’t that lavish, and (b) even our worst case scenario wouldn’t see the marriage lasting less time than the reception.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I wish I had a family full of ethnic stereotypes to write about.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a partner whose devotion to us is so unfailing, not even the decided lack of tension in a script could force him or her to run from such a strange assortment of relations? I wish I could dislike this movie, but its endearing embrace of hijinks above forced drama and its Indie film success-story, won’t let me.

The Hangover

Please let this not be me on Monday.

Very little of The Hangover is about the wedding they nearly miss, though the specter of getting there on time hangs over (haha, get it?) the entire search for groom Doug. The reasons I love it have nothing to do with the wedding, and everything to do with this, this, and this. But it’s very uncommon to see the male perspective in wedding movies, and for that The Hangover deserves some recognition.


My dream theme: free things!

An underrated little British film, this mockumentary in the Christopher Guest style follows three couples holding over-the-top theme weddings competing to win a house from the titular magazine. Neither the tennis, dance number, or nudist weddings is anywhere near my dream wedding (well, actually the nudist one has nice flower arrangements), but watching the plans get more and more out of hand is hilarious.

The common theme is that all these movies and their weddings help me feel better about Sunday. Because there is no way my sister’s wedding could be any crazier or more dramatic than these. Sound off on your favorite wedding movies in the comments section.

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