Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jenny’s Wedding (2015)

Number Rolled: 40
Movie Name/Year: Jenny’s Wedding (2015)
Tagline: Family is worth fighting for.
Genre: Drama
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: MM Productions, Merced Media Partners, PalmStar Media
Producer: Stuart Brown, Michael C. Cuddy, Mary Agnes Donoghue, Kevin Scott Frakes, Gail Levin, Michelle Manning, Myles Nestel, Lauren Selig, Raj Brinder Singh, Nick Thurlow, Alex Wake, Todd Williams, Lisa Wilson
Director: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Writer: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Actors: Katherine Heigl, Tom Wilkinson, Linda Emond, Grace Gummer, Alexis Bledel, Sam McMurray, Diana Hardcastle, Matthew Metzger, Houston Rhines, Cathleen O’Malley, Betsie Devan, Hollis McCarthy, Alex Wake, Greg Violand, Seamus Tierney, Kenya Gest, Hildy ‘McGillicuddy’ Johnson
Stunt Doubles: None

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Blurb from Netflix: When Jenny plans to marry her girlfriend, she decides it’s time that her family, who doesn’t know that she’s a lesbian, finally learns the truth.

Selina’s Point of View:
Let me preface this by saying: I live in a big city. I’ve lived in Brooklyn, New York for all of my life. It’s an incredibly tolerant area where different kinds of people are concerned. When I came out to my mother as bisexual, her response was, “Oh, I know that.” And then we went out for mousse.

On Foreign Film Friday I often discuss cultural differences and how sometimes those differences can go over a person’s head if they’re not familiar with the area a movie was made it. I rarely mention the cultural differences between the big city and small suburbia. It’s insane just how different culture can be from city to city in the same country – or even the same state.

There’s a lot of small suburbia culture in this film that just flies far enough over my head that it might as well be the movie we watch for Friday. The concept of everyone in a city knowing everything about one family’s business is completely ridiculous to me. I don’t even know the names of the neighbors I share a floor with in my building. I wouldn’t know if one of them was getting married or if their parents had died in a horrific plane crash. I certainly have NO clue what their sexual orientation would be. Not that I would care what they did in their bedrooms anyway.

On the same note, if I had married a woman instead of John, nothing my family did or did not do would have been different. My cousin still would have officiated. My uncle still would have flown in from Australia to give me away with my mother. No one would have cared that my partner didn’t have penis. Even my grandmother, if she had still been alive.

What that means is that I can’t really relate to ANYTHING in this film. Not the culture of the setting, not the personal conflict. Even so, I was 100% invested in every word, every argument, every tear that the actors brought to the screen.

When I saw Katherine Heigl’s (Knocked Up, Grey’s Anatomy, The Ugly Truth) name in the cast section for this film, I wound up with a very distinct idea of what I was about to watch. Clearly it was going to be some romantic comedy where she giggles and her co-actors all look like they’re fighting the stomach flu to act with her.

That was NOT what I got in the slightest. Netflix really threw me off by labeling it a comedy – because it was definitely not that.

Heigl wound up doing a phenomenal job here. All the actors did. Even with the cultural gap between my knowledge and the plot of the film, I was submerged in every moment. I choked up when the characters did. I cringed when the time was right. My heart broke with a mere look.

I was impressed with the entire film in general.

One of the characters, played by Sam McMurray (Cristela, A Little Help, The Mod Squad), uttered a line near the end of the film that was very simple but so intensely enlightened that I think it might be one of my favorite quotes from a movie ever. It’s not something I’ll reference often – I don’t have much cause in my personal life for it – but it’s one of those quotes that has the ability, when heard in context, to change a person’s outlook and life.

This was a great film. I’ll be watching it again in the future, and if any of my friends have the kind of issues the main character had in this movie, I’ll be recommending they have their parents watch it.

Cat’s Point of View:
I don’t think I was exactly prepared for this movie. At a glimpse, it seemed to hint at some sort of dramedy, with maybe a dash of romance. This was certainly not so easily predicted. There was much more drama than comedy or other elements – and very little actual romance.

This film ran roughshod over all of my ‘feels.’ Yes, I cried. I’m a crier when it comes to emotional moments in books or movies. Though, the kicker is that I have to be invested enough in whatever the media is. The fact that I had to take some time to clean the salt off of my glasses is a big positive in this film’s favor.

I suppose that shouldn’t really have been too much of a surprise coming from the same writer whom penned the screenplay for Beaches (1988). (I refuse to acknowledge they remade that for television this past year. Is nothing sacred?!) The writer in question, Mary Agnes Donoghue (Deceived, Paradise, White Oleander), also directed this movie. Considering the last film she’d been at the helm of was in 1991, I’d say this story had an important message for her to convey.

I enjoyed the cast. I can’t find fault in any of the performances. I do wish, somewhat, that they’d utilized Alexis Bledel (Sin City, The Good Guy, Parts Per Billion) a little more. At the same time, it may be just as well because the focus of the movie is really on Katherine Heigl’s (Side Effects, Killers, The Nut Job) character. It might have muddied things a bit to try and expand that role.

In spite of my eyes leaking during my viewing and the occasional emotional gut-punch, I really enjoyed this movie. I would have no problems recommending it or even watching it again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 14%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 33%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 2.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

P.S. Scenes and pictures during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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