I saw the trailer for Jenny’s Wedding a while ago and I intended to watch it at the cinema but it didn’t really seem to last very long there (should have taken that as a sign it wasn’t going to be all that brilliant) so in the end I had to wait till it came out on DVD (sadly, I thanks to this blog I burnt bridges with that Tinder Boy that was providing me with illegal downloads).
The movies main character, Jenny (shock horror!), is a ‘openly’ gay and has been in a relationship with her ‘roommate’ for half a decade. Basically, everyone knows except her conservative middle American family. She is at the age when everyone around her is getting married so the pressure is on. After being accused of having an affair with a married man (because that’s the only reason she could have for being secretive and not being married in her 30s), Jenny suddenly decides enough is enough and comes out to her family.
Each family member (and other members of the backwater community) has their own reaction to Jenny’s news. Jenny’s mother wants to keep it a secret due to her fear of being ostracized in their small town. Her father remains fairly silent but says he doesn’t understand how lesbian relationships work (i.e. how they have sex is his primary concern). Her brother knew all along. And Jenny’s revelation makes her sister realise how unhappy she is in her own straight marriage.
The movie intends to be this epic coming out story that breaks with convention but in fact it just turns out to be a somewhat insipid family melodrama. Neither Jenny or her girlfriend are those stereotypical butch, motorbike chicks that people often perceive lesbians to be (and neither of them has to wear a tux at the wedding). The movie is quite tame to be honest and there is actually very little in it that could offend even those most hectic homophobe (they even manage to keep the smooching to a minimum)
Deep-down Jenny’s family are decent people who despite being a bit archaic do love her. The movie actually isn’t so much about lesbian relationships, its more about the general secrets, lies and bigotry that exists in society. It kind of simplifies the challenges and battles that gay/lesbian fought to get equality and just says that no matter which way you swing we all face similar challenges in life. In the end, it’s all a bit too Hollywood and cheesy.
One has to wonder though is this the reality for most gay/lesbian people? Is ‘coming out’ really just one of those minor life struggles people go through and eventually just pass? How about those parents who disown their offspring because of certain life decisions? And if the ‘progressive’ Western world struggles this much with the notion of gay marriage or same sex couples having kids, how about people those from more traditional cultures? How about those parents who disown their offspring because of certain life decisions? Is it more a case of people being OK with more ‘unconventional’ lifestyle choices as long it doesn’t effect them or their own family?
OK Rinsers share your views in the comments below. Have you seen the movie? Do you think the creators had noble intentions but ended up simplifying a far more complex issue?