Movie & TV Reviews

Have a movie on weddings, marriage or women’s issues to recommend? I’ll pop some popcorn and sit down to watch it. Send recs to TheFeministBride@gmail.com

8: The Mormon Proposition (2010) – A documentary film that examines the opposing forces of California’ Proposition 8: the LGBT community and the Mormon Church who secretly lobbied and funded The National Organization of Marriage to oppose gay marriage rights. It’s a provocative look at how religion can send up a call to arms against the gay community and how it directly effects those on the other side of the argument. The movie does an excellent job of objectively laying out the legal and ethical issues surrounding Proposition 8. Director: Reed CowanSteven Greenstreet. (Subject: Marriage, LGBT, Gay Marriage, Religion)

27 Dresses (2008) – A young women (played by Kathering Heigl) has always been a bridesmaid and never a bride, but the lucky owner of 27 hideous bridesmaid dresses. While the movie is a classic, predictable rom-com and Heigl’s character tends to be a pushover when it comes to the wishes of needy brides, she never manages to attend to her needs (and love life). The movie is a good look at the obscene financial commitment and dedication bridesmaid devote to their engaged friends, but also how totally vain and based in consumerism it can be as well. Director: Anne Fletcher (Subject: Bridesmaid, Consumerism, Love, Money, Vanity, Clothes)

An Affair to Remember (1957) – I had only heard of the movie, An Affair to Remember, through the quintessential romance movie of the 90’s, Sleepless in Seattle. Rosie O’Donnell and Meg Ryan cry over the sentimental romance – how love can suddenly find you, change your life and just as quickly disappear under unfortunate circumstances. And I will admit, I didn’t understand (like the guys in that film) what the big deal was…until now.

Cary Grant plays a famous playboy set to marry a very wealthy women; Deborah Kerr plays a smart-alecky, charming singer who is involved in a successful businessman. They cross paths in a cute meet while alone on a cruise from Europe – between their witty banter and shared personal stories, they end up falling into the type of pure love that must of us dream about. Except they are both entwined to others who financially support each of them. They make a pact that if in six months each still feels the same way for the other and can learn to make something of themselves so they can support their love, they will meet on top of the Empire State building. Tragedy befalls one of the characters, and without giving away too much, if you watch the movie you too will be impatiently waiting to see if love conquers all.

Most movies of Hollywood’s golden age are so characteristic in cinematography, dramatic language, smoldering looks and dry-lipped kisses that that age’s film techniques are almost cliché. Despite that, An Affair to Remember is really one of the best romantic movies I have seen in a long time. It’s funny, witty and endearing. The two try to respect their romantic promises to their beaus back home, but they just can’t deny their connection. And rather just abandon their promises, ties to fortune or impetuously run away in the heat of the moment, they take the responsible and mature route before declaring their love on high – or on top of the empire state building. This is a wonderful film for a girl’s night or even a quiet romantic night in, I wish I had only listened to Meg Ryan sooner. That girl knew what she was talking about, just like she knew she was destined for Mr. Sleepless in Seattle. Director: Leo McCarey. (Subject: Romance, Love, Affair)

Arranged (2007) An Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman walk into a bar find themselves in a NYC public school as first year teachers struggling to cope with the diversity tolerance level there. A friendship ensues when both are simultaneously pressured by family and religion to enter into an arranged marriage. The movie addresses the conflict between religion and Western practices – does an arranged marriage have a place in the 21st century? The women finally select a family/religion approved partner and seem very content with their choice. Although in the end, these smart charismatic women abandon their careers for wifedom and motherhood at a very young age. Directors: Diane CrespoStefan C. Schaefer. (Subjects: Marriage, Religion, Tolerance)

Bachelorette (2012): The Hangover and Bridesmaids, this movie, is not (but it tries really hard to be). Despite featuring actresses and actors I really enjoy and my doppleganger, K. Dunst, there’s little brilliance they could bring to this script. To start, this is a good example of how good-hearted humor goes much farther than mean-spirited humor and there was a lot of the later in the movie. From making fun of the bride for being fat, calling strippers skanks, and calling bulimics messed up in the head just to name a few feel-good gems, it got really good with the profuse use of calling just about everyone the C-word. Then there was the scene that pretty much encouraged one groomsmen to take advantage of an inebriated bridesmaid. And he should get over his moral anxiety by taking a Xanax so he can take advantage of the drunk girl who was G.T.G. (good to go). There was one redeeming moment when the bridesmaids start arguing with a strip club doorman about how misogynistic it is for women to need a male escort in order to enter the premises, but that was short-lived. I’m all for raunchy comedy, but the degenerate humor just came off as…degenerate, unlike its predecessor movies that managed to take off-color comedy and make it fun and clever. Director: Leslye Headland

Bridalplasty (TV Series 2010) –  In this reality show competition, brides create a “wish list” of physical things they dislike about themselves and want to change. They then compete in order to win that plastic surgery. The last bridalplasty contestant standing wins their dream wedding and a whole new look. It is sort of like a cross between the other reality show called The Swan, where “ugly ducklings” underwent the knife to become beautiful swans and compete in a beauty pageant and any VH1 reality show full of competition, drama and alliances. The female participants couldn’t stop using the “p” word in relation to their wedding. Perfection. None of these women suffered from cleft problems or missing teeth or an extra toe, they were in fact quiet pretty before the surgery. True, some probably have never seen a gym but the show teaches women and brides that wedding perfection can be done with plastic surgery and not healthy eating and exercise. (Subject: Bride, Health, Body Image)

Bridesmaids (2011) – Down and out of luck, a job, an apartment and just about everything else, Annie (Kristen Wiig) is asked to her best friend’s maid of honor. However well-intentioned she is, Annie fails to cope with the wedding’s extravagant costs, to manage the bridal party’s massive personalities and to meet the expectations of the people around her. Eventually she falls out of favor with the wedding and the bride, while she can’t fix her accidental M.O.H. mess ups she does learn that she can at least fix herself and her life. The plot of this story is as old as the sun, but it’s nice that someone finally called out how unattainable wedding responsibilities can set people up to fail. This movie may also be the start of a new approach to chick flicks; it proved that women can be as funny and as raunchy as men (though there could have been more [poop] jokes in Bridesmaids). Not that Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson will be out of a job any time soon, but Bridesmaids proves there’s room for more types of women movies than just horrible rom-coms. For more Feminist Bride thoughts click here. Director: Paul Feig (Subject: Weddings, Relationships, Bridesmaids, Love, Comedy)

Bride Wars (2009) - Kate Hudson & Anne Hathaway star in this bridal, chick flick about two friends who accidentally have their dream wedding scheduled on the same day, resulting in each other trying to sabotage the other’s wedding. This is the perfect movie that exemplifies the classic bridezilla and consumerist wedding.  It paints the brides-to-be as fickle, vain, self-centered and selfish who are more focused on the wedding then the marriage all for the sake of comedic laughs (which in my opinion fall short). Director:Gary Winick. (Subjects: Weddings, Relationships, Consumerism)

Ceremony (2010): A quirky and fun independent film of two estranged friends, Sam and Marshall, who set off on a weekend to reconnect, but instead end up crashing a wedding. False pretenses surround the party of eccentric characters as Sam acts like he is a successful author, he and the bride barely know each other, the groom ignores that he knows they had an affair, and Marshall tries to act like everything is okay despite the weekend going horribly wrong for him. Ceremony is a fun, offbeat movie with fast talk and so many oddballs that it certainly keeps you entertained. If you like the weirdness of The Royal Tenenbaums and ill-fated love stories, this movie is for you. (Subjects: Affairs, Wedding, Love) Director: Max Winkler

3 Fem Rating SMCheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) – A rather dry and witty period film set in England MV5BMjEyMzczODAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzU1MDA3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_visits an anxious and inebriated bride on her wedding day. Downstairs as crotchety guests get ready for the wedding, her lost and uninvited lover arrives with hidden motives. As the bride deliberates on her impending nuptials, remembrances of the last summer return to when the two fell in love. Despite the conflict between two loves – the groom and her lover, there’s a twist to the story that’s hard to see coming – proving that love may not always be what a bride needs to say, ‘I do.” Side note: keep an eye out for the incorrigible boy and his bag full of surprises! Director:  (Subjects: Love, Bride, Wedding, Decision Making)

Dangerous Beauty (1998) – Based on the 16th century true story of Veronica Franco who falls in love but can’t marry the object of her affections due to a lack of dowry. With no marriage prospects, she’s faced with the decision to either enter the convent or become a courtesan. She chooses the life that provides her access to education, independence and the power of expression and articulation, as opposed to the cloister or wifehood which forbids women an education, basic intellectual rights and keeps them as subordinate creatures. Her beauty and smarts win over the hearts (and beds) of most of Venice’s aristocrats, but after Venice faces war and then the plague she is accused of witchery and causing the downfall of Venice.

The film brings great attention to the type of power an education gives a women. It also addresses how culture and society went to such lengths as to limit and control a women’s autocracy and intellectual potential by accusing education as the doorway to lewd, reckless and lascivious behavior. The film itself was great to watch and the plot intriguing and inspirational for all women who chose a more difficult path in the name of freedom and education. (Subject: Romance, Feminism, Education, Sex, Power) Director: Marshall Herskovitz

Father of the Bride (1991) – In all honesty, I’m totally biased towards this movie because I love it. BUT! Amid the $100,000 wedding, the young bride, the swans and traditional fanfare, there are in fact feminist elements afoot! Annie (the bride) insists on being a career girl and when her fiance, Brian, gives her a blender as a gift, she assumes he’s signing up for a classic little housewife (ruh-roh!).  And then Annie’s father, George (played by Steve Martin) starts freaking out over the absurdity that is the classic wedding which if you’ve ever planned a wedding – you’ll relate to him. The humor is great (a tip of the hat to Martin Short’s performance as Franck) and the analytical look at wedding traditions very perceptive. Director: Charles Shyer. (Subject: Wedding, Tradition, Bride, Money, Comedy)

Four Weddings (TV 2009) In the universe of TLC wedding shows, it seems they’ve reached the limit and are scrapping to discover and produce new hit shows. I introduce to you, “Four Weddings,” where four women attend each others weddings and rate them on venue, dress and catering. Unlike other aggressive judgmental shows, the ladies opinions are fairly passive since it seems they don’t want to rain on a bride’s special day – immediately (they wait until they’ve eaten wedding cake and go home with a souvenir). Their ratings post-weddings, however, are so particularly low that they would make any bikini contestant cry and go on another crash diet. Oh right, this is another yet unnecessary TV show were we cast subjective bias and pit otherwise friendly individuals against complete strangers and then we videotape this feedback for posterity. Missing from the cast members are the groom’s, making this show another perpetuation of the white-heterosexual, traditionally feminine wedding chimera that riddles all wedding shows. The show is boring and unoriginal. If TLC wants to stir the pot and highlight the outrageousness of weddings…how about a feminist bride TV show? Something tells me I’d watch

Four Weddings & A Funeral(1994) – An English comedy about a group of friend whose lives are but a series of quirky relationships and wedding traditions. The antics and love life of Charles (Hugh Grant) and his friends are really fun to watch and a real comfort for those going into their own seemingly endless wedding season, which can be as routine and as dull as brushing your teeth. With bridal upsets and matrimonial mishaps in every scene and wedding, we are reminded how absurd wedding pomp and circumstance can be and how funny it all is – as long as it’s not happening to us. Charles, the polite but unlucky chump at all these weddings, chases Carrie, a mysterious American around in a ‘she loves me, she loves me not’ affair. One great part of this movie is its placement of a gay couple. Most movies today when featuring a gay couple always seem to feel the need to scream this type of relationship, whereas FW&AF treated it as normal as any other type of relationship warrants, with quiet respect. Director: Mike Newell

5 Fem Rating SMHysteria (2011) – It’s the story of the invention of the vibrator – seriously. Hysteria was a medical malady suffered MV5BMjI0NDExNjcwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTU4Mzg2Nw@@._V1_SX214_by women (it is no longer considered a real disorder). It included the following symptoms: ’faintness, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and a tendency to cause trouble.’ The only cure for hysteria was for a doctor to finger-bang a patient to the point of orgasm, which would induce relaxation. It was a hard job for doctors, so Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) designed an electric machine to do the job. The movie is super cute, funny and fabulously addresses the issues of sex and sexuality. The movie is also full of orgasmic cries, so turn your TV up way loud for the neighbors to hear all the fun you’re having. Subjects: Sex, Sex toys, Medicine, Love Director: 

I Do & I Don’t (2007) – A couple undergoes marriage counseling from a dysfunctional married couple. The ‘never have I ever’ games played within the sessions sends the young couple into spiraling doubt as to whether or not they get married. Ultimately, despite multiple uncomfortable nude scenes, overbearing parents, infidelity and sexual harassment by the counselors, the young couple realize that marriage and love is about embracing the perfection and imperfection in our relationships and partners. Director Steve Blair. (Subject: Marriage, Relationships, Comedy)

Love and Mary (2007) – Mary, a bakery entrepreneur, is faced with the eviction of her business. She decides to fly home with her fiance to collect engagement party money in order to save her business. Her fiance bails at the last minute and she brings his brother as a fake replacement. Without giving away the movie, what struck me the most is that Mary, assertive enough to save her business, seems to be a bit passive in her own feelings. She’ll put decorum and promise over her feelings. Overall, it’s an enjoyable movie with a quirky cast of characters. Director: Elizabeth Harrison (Subject: Money, Love, Weddings)

Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011) –  Mandy Moore plays a marriage therapist whose whole belief in marriage is based on her parent’s relationship. When it falters she panics and spirals into mishap as she tries to repair it; only she begins to neglect and abuse her own new marriage. The movie is an interesting look at how our love of the marriage sometimes blinds up from understanding we need to actually work on them. (Subject: Marriage, Love, Relationships, Health)  Director: Dermot Mulroney

2 Fem Rating SMMy Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TV – 2012) – Child brides, High School drop outs, first cousin incest, virgin brides, extreme consumerism, fashion nightmares, arranged marriages – TLC reveals that all of this is happening in America’s backyard. TLC dives into yet another cultural minority’s hidden and secret world, this time with Romanichal Gypsies. Given TLC’s penchant for supporting the Wedding Industrial Complex with their other wedding shows, one might expect this to be in line with the rest (and seems to be racing to become the next Jersey Shore).  It does manage to raise the occasional eye on the double standards between the sexes. Girls are restricted to the home, married off at 16 (ish), and are only expected to become mothers and housewives; the men are the breadwinners. Girls on their wedding day must be virgins (many have not even kissed a boy, let alone know their groom well) or else are labeled unfit to be someone’s wife. (It even shared the story of a same-sex wedding, a big taboo in Romanical culture and TLC.)

And the show is not shy about highlighting the tawdry fashion of the community. It often relies on the fashion designer, Sondra Celli to explain the bride’s culture and fashion choices. While the massive, plantation-style wedding gowns run upwards of $10,000 and run amuck with Swarovski Crystals, the day-to-day dress of a Romney is very provactive. Why the Romani lifestyle is quite anti-feminist, they do have feminist fashion leanings. The women in the show often struggle with being called sluts by “gorgers” (non-travellers) for their attire and seductive dancing given that a Romani woman’s innocence is extremely protected and cherished by her family and community. They struggle constantly with discrimination and judgment being placed on them by outsiders, period. Though the show heros even admit part of the sexy outfits is to attract a mate…

The heros of the show describe their culture as extremely family driven, they carry a strong pride within it and are firmly dedicated to keeping the community alive through new generations and upholding traditions – no matter how outlandish they are. My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is an odd mash up of respectable values, trashy TV, feminist and anti-feminist rhetoric, media exploitation, big personalities and lots and lots of tulle. It’s sort of a train wreck; and it’s impossible to look away.

Mystic Pizza (1988) – Julia Roberts first break out role (no, Pretty Womenwas not the first) in what would be a long career of romantic films. Set in Mystic, CT three strong, local girls struggle with finding love, navigating the bedroom, their future and breaking from their provincial townie existence. Despite class struggles, forbidden affairs and feeling trapped, the girls at the end of the day find solace and comfort in each other and pizza. The break out feminist moment comes in the end, when one girl finally commits to marrying the love of her life but only on the condition that she keep her name. (Subject: Relationships, Sex, Identity, Friendship) Director: Donald Petrie

Ready or Not (2009) – With the Hangover coming out in the same year, its hard to say which movie came first but they are exactly the same except this one is less humorous. The groomsmen use an over-the-top bachelor party to kidnap the groom to Mexico a week before his wedding. Everything starts going terribly awry from jumping out of a crashing plane to angering a mobster, from getting put in jail to being put in front of an execution squad. The question of the movie is is the groom ready to leave his bros behind for marriage? (Subject: Groomsmen, Groom, Bachelor Party, Comedy) Director: Sean Doyle

Revenge of the Bridesmaids (TV 2010) - all the trims and fixings of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with all the awful, stereotypical mean girl story lines. Basically, a friend steals another friend’s boyfriend in order to marry him because she’s knocked up (apparently the only option in the movie), but really she’s not prego and really just marrying him for his money (even better). So the bridesmaids basically stage a coup to win the groom back for their friend. Would love to see a female movie that is not about back stabbing, obsolete etiquette, weight loss and vanity. Director: James Hayman. (Subjects: Wedding, Relationships, Vanity)

Royal Wedding (1951) – This receives a one “Fem Symbol” because the title is about where the connection with Queen Elizabeth I’s wedding ends. It’s about a brother-sister singing/dancing act that go to London to perform and ends up going through the typical romantic follies that is 1950′s cinema. But if you like Fred Astaire, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and maybe Glee this movie might be of interest to you. Director: Stanley Donen. (Subject: Love, Dancing, Singing)

Runaway Bride (1999) – OH…Richard Gere, what would you do if you weren’t always either rescuing a woman from herself or her situation? And Julia Roberts – do you always have to be that irresistible woman who needs a knight in shining armor? The movie is about a young bride who keeps jilting her fiances at the altar and running away (even once on a horse, thanks clever rom-coms). Roberts character fails to have an identity and allows the loves in her life to chose one for her, until Gere, posed as a savvy NY journalist, figures out the problem and helps her find herself (again). And surprise! They also fall in love. Director: Garry Marshall. (Subjects: Wedding, Relationships, Identity)

The Bostonians (1984) I was pretty excited about this movie as a Boston native and because it addressed the suffragist movement, however the movie left a lot to be desired. It was a great period piece, but failed to address any specific issues as to why women deserve the vote. The dominating story line was about a young suffragists with uncanny appeal to the cause and to a southern man (played by Christopher Reeves) who loves the inspirational girl, but not the ideas of the movement. A secondary plot is the seeming Boston marriage between the young girl and Ms. Chancellor, a devote advocate to the cause and against anything gender specific. Director: James Ivory. (Subject: Suffragism, Civil Rights)

The Buccaneers (TV mini-series 1995) – If you like romantic period pieces thisseries is for you. The Buccaneers is the last novel written by Edith Wharton of four young American girls with “new” money that spend a season in England in the hopes of finding rich, aristocratic husbands. The girls are successful but their stories unravel as being married and someone’s wife reveals a much more sordid and unsatisfying life than they had been lead to believe. How the girls cope with obligation, expectations of their sex and class and love is worth a watch. (Subject: Marriage, Etiquette, Love) Director: Philip Saville

The Decoy Bride (2011) – A familiar tale brought to the big screen of a larger-than-life Hollywood star trying to marry outside the prying eye of the paparazzi. Think covert Hollywood wedding meets Knotting Hill minus Julia Roberts, meets the biblical story of Jacob and Raquel hidden behind a veil with a dash of Scottish flair. A local girl is used as a bridal decoy for the Hollywood star and accidentally marries the groom for real (played by Dr. Who, David Tennant). Shenanigans ensue and the unlikely couple run around trying to find the missing starlet and get an annulment only to realize there is a spark between them. While finding and identifying true love is the main focus of the movie, I found the characters and their small island life to be the most enriching aspect of the film. Watch for the completely endearing dance scene between the deaf and elderly husband and wife, it will melt heart. Director: Sheree Folkson

5 Fem Rating SMThe Five Year Engagement (2012) – I might be two years behind writing this review, Five Year Engagementbut it still puts me ahead of Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet’s (Emily Blunt) own ill-fated nuptials. As you can guess the movie is about the quirky mishaps that can easily set young fiances off the marriage track. In the land of comedic rom-coms, FYE holds more character and relationship substance than most. High feminist fives for addressing the complicated politics of managing two ambitious career-driven partners in an egalitarian way! And kudos to writer’s Segel and  for opting to put the lady’s career first. I haven’t seen that done in the movies since Father of the Bride II. I also haven’t seen such a weird sex scene involving lots of condiments and deli meat before. And to top it off, they settle their marriage woes with the most endearing and heartfelt f^$%# off to the wedding industrial complex in the end (you’ll have to watch it to understand). There’s even a female proposal (the last one by my count was in Leap Year with Amy Adams and contrary to what you might think holds very few feminist values). If you’re looking for a good feminist flick on weddings, this one is great and if you’re just into fun movies, it also sports an incredible lineup of talented comedians. (Subjects: Engagements, Wedding Planning, Marriage, Jobs) Director: 

The Graduate (1967) – “Mrs. Robinson are you trying to seduce me?” Dustin Hoffman plays a recent college graduate suffering from summer listlessness and ambivalence to what is expected next of him in life. This enables his middle-aged neighbor, Mrs. Robinson, to ensnare him in a emotionless affair. Hoffman finally awakens to realize that he wants more out of life and love after meeting Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Penny. Mrs. Robinson becomes jealous of her daughters youth and Hoffman’s change in affections, sending her daughter into the same lifeless marriage she has been forced to suffer. Hoffman rescues Penny from her nuptials in a not so subtle attempt to save them both from the life of their parents.

Mrs. Robinson is clearly looking for her own sexual revolution after being stuck in a loveless marriage, and sets her sights on a young and innocent man to help release her. But for all her aggressiveness and sexual assertion, it becomes obvious she is failing to create the emotional connection she is really craving. Not until her daughter steals the affection of Hoffman, does she resent her daughters emotional liberation free from her own social constructs. Her resentment sends her daughter to the alter with a man, who we assume will result in the same type of marriage Mrs. R had to endure. Misery loves company. Director: Mike Nichols (Subject: Drama, Wedding, Sex, Relationships)

The Magdalene Sisters (2002) – a gripping tale of female abuse in the 1960′s in Ireland under religious rule. Because of the human rights issues, this is a shocking and disturbing movie to watch, but eye opening as well. Director: Peter Mullan. (Subjects: Religion, Human Rights, Int’l)

The People I’ve Slept With (2009) – We’ve seen many a male character own the spoilsof an active sex life, and when the main character Juliet pulls a Samantha Jones it’s exciting to see a female character finally own her sexuality on par with a man and without social ramifications. Except then she gets pregnant and has no clue who the baby-daddy is. Suddenly, Juliet tailspins into an emotionally abusive, self-reflective state of how could she have been so slutty and irresponsible? Not once does the movie turn the table onto the men who are equally responsible for the embryo and it reverts to a pro-life stance and the age mindset that a woman can’t be sexually free without being promiscuous and irresponsible. BS. (Subject: Sex, Pregnancy, Double Standards, Relationships) Director: Quentin Lee

 

The Romantics (2010) – Seven friends gather over the weekend for the wedding of two of their friends, except the Maid of Honor is still in love and sleeping with the groom (Josh Duhamel). The dysfunction of the friends unfolds during the course of the night revealing that everyone is everybody’s muse in body, mind and soul, thus complicating the existing relationships. The poignant moment is in the end when the Maid of Honor (Katie Holmes) confronts the bride (Anna Paquin) moments before she’s to walk down the aisle. Begging the question would you have the guts to tell someone the truth before they made a mistake? What would you do if you were the bride? Director: Galt Niederhoffer (Subject: Wedding, Friends, Affairs)

The War Bride(2001) – Set during World War II, Lily marries a Canadian soldier. She quickly becomes pregnant and moves to Canada to live with her in-laws as part of a save the war-brides campaign. A sassy, fashionable city-Londoner, she finds herself in the plains of central Canada on a farm, severely out of her element and amongst hostile in-laws who find her UK style foreign, too sexual and think her marriage was a ploy to get her out of war-torn Europe. Not knowing whether her spouse is alive, she struggles with being a wife and a mother in a foreign land. (Subject: Marriage, War, Women) Director: Lyndon Chubbuck

TiMER (2009) – A technology exists that predicts who your soulmate will be and when you will meet him/her. Oona O’Leary, however, faces a blank timer (meaning her soulmate hasn’t participated in the technology, so there’s no way to know who she is destined for). At 30, she obsesses over whether or not love will happen for her, which becomes the focal point of the movie. The movie is worth watching for the philosophical debates it offers –  would you want a third party to reveal who your soulmate is? Is there only one soulmate per person? What is lost if our destinies are spelled out for us? Director: Jac Schaeffer. (Subject: Dating, Relationships, Philosophy)

VDay: Until the Violence Stops (2003) - A poignant look at how Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and the non-profit VDay.org have touched and inspired the lives of women around the world from a reservation in South Dakota to the Comfort Women in the Philippines, from California to Harlem and to Kenya. An eye opening documentary that takes a look at how violence against women exist in many different cultures and how those within it seek to rise above it. Director: Abby Epstein. (Subject: Violence, Sex, Human Rights, Activism, Hope)

Wedding Crashers (2005) – Two “womanizing” (that’s IMDB’s words) guys,  John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn), crash weddings to party and pick up girls. Both get caught up in their antics when John falls for Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Jeremy finds the tables turned as he is now the sexual victim of Claire’s dysfunctional family. While the movie is very funny, I have to give it a low fem rating because it really objectifies women and encourages subterfuge as a viable way to win girls’ hearts (and get them in bed). Gloria (Isla Fisher) is almost redeeming from a feminist standpoint as she feels very sexually free to experiment and treats sex like a man (Hi, Samantha Jones), until she pretends to be a virgin and a slut in order to get guys interested in her. Not to mention the movie’s portrayal of the gay brother as the black sheep of the family because of his sexuality is less then flattering for the LGBT community; and it’s promotion that the higher cost, the better the wedding.  Then again it’s a comedy, take it or leave it, but don’t copy it. Director: David Dobkin (Subject: Weddings, Sex, Relationships, Comedy)

Wedding Weekend (2006) – A seven-man college a cappella group is brought back together, fifteen years later, to sing at the wedding of one of their friends. While practicing for their big performance, the guys realize that they each lack harmonywith themselves, as friends and with their spouses. Things crescendo as hijinks ensue, ultimately resulting in a rock bottom note. The singers finally realize that life, relationships and marriage can’t be worked out if you’re sitting in the audience. To harmonize, you have to join in and sing the right notes. (Subjects: Men, Marriage, Relationships)

When Harry Tries to Marry (2011): As a result of his parents divorce, young Harry believes arranged marriages are the only way to have a successful marriage. Straight out of college he rushes to employ a matchmaker, gets paired with a very nice match and goes about planning his wedding. Except amid a long-distance relationship… life and love unexpectedly happen. Harry is left to decide between his hardcore beliefs and the natural path that is laid before him. The movie ends on a really good lesson; that life and love cannot be rushed in youth, inexperience and impatience. Time is one of most important assets we can give ourselves. (Subjects: Marriage, Love, Arranged Marriages) Director: Nayan Padrai

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