Sunday, August 12, 2012

Richard's Wedding [2012]

MPAA (UR)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing

Richard's Wedding (written, directed and costarring Turkish-American director Unur Tukel) is an small, generally irreverent, young adult oriented "indie" production about, well, a wedding.

The film begins with Alex (played by Jennifer Prediger) and Tuna (played by Unur Tukel) running into each other "on the El" as they are both heading to their friends' Richard (played by Lawrence Michael Levine) and Phoebe's (played by Josephine Decker) wedding.  As they talk, it becomes clear that both are somewhat skeptical of whether Richard and Phoebe's marriage is going to work and Tuna at least is really worried about the prospect of meeting old friends that he hasn't seen in some time.

Tuna, an unemployed writer, is particularly worried about how he's going to deal with Richard's up-to-then best-friend / room-mate, the somewhat successful, somewhat right-wing and certainly blowhard Russell (played by Darrill Rosen).  Then there's perpetual basket-case and terrible photographer Amy (played by Heddy Lahmann) who, of course, was invited to by Richard to take pictures of the affair and everybody knows that it would just crush her if they honest and told her that she's just plain terrible as a photog.  There's also Tuna's ex-girlfriend Kristen (played by Oona Mekas), who's gonna be there, who even though he was unemployed when they had dated, he had cheated on... Yup, it was not going to be a pretty afternoon for Tuna.  In contrast, Alex feeling herself in a positive relationship with "Daryl" even though he's inexplicably not joining her in going to the wedding feels just fine ... Obviously much ensues...

Now part of what ensues is from my perspective (as a Catholic Priest) rather irritating:  It turns out that Richard is a rather adamant atheist and Phoebe's a somewhat vague but at least _when it comes to her wedding_ Christian.  So they give conflicting instructions to the Minister who comes to officiate at their wedding that they're holding in some random corner of a park in New York.  He doesn't want the Minister to mention God at all in the ceremony (why then call a minister at all then?)  She makes it a point of telling him that "it's OKAY" to mention God (PLEASE).  The Minister, a weak if kind soul with more or less clear struggles in his life tries really hard to find a way to oblige both.  (Note to young Catholics reading this blog: This is why we have a 6 month marriage preparation process and except in truly exceptional circumstances insist on marrying couples in a Church, so that these questions get talked about and resolved _long before_ the wedding day.  And yes, if it becomes clear that the couple really does not want to get married in the Church, we do respect their wishes and _don't_ marry them.  In the Catholic Church, after all, getting married is understood to be an adult decision to be approached in a serious / adult manner.  And yes, the Catholic Church does have standards).

This aside, I did find the dialogue in the film to be quite good and I do sympathize with young people today.

But I will certainly stand by the view that it is far easier to go through life with God in it than to go through life without God.  None of us know what we will come face in life and having God present in our lives when life is not going particularly well can be a great, great support.


ADDENDUM:

While "in theaters in major markets," many "Independent" / Foreign Films and Documentaries are  available for home viewing in the U.S. through the IFC Video On Demand service (type in your zipcode and cable provider to see if this service as available to you) or for download via services like Sundance Now and/or Itunes / Amazon Instant Video.  Eventually, these films become available for rent in the U.S. via NetFlix or Blockbuster.com.   More obscure titles can also be found via Facets Multimedia's DVD Rental Service.


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