The Russo Test

Jenny’s Wedding is lesbianless- Movie Review

I just watched the movie Jenny’s Wedding which some of you may not have even heard of but it stars Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel as a lesbian couple getting married. The description for the movie is:

“When Jenny (Katherine Heigl) decides to marry a woman (Alexis Bledel), her conventional family must accept who she is or risk losing her forever.”

While this movie will never be an Oscar winner frankly because of its sub-pare plot, characters and over usage of music overs on people being sad, this movie was most disappointing because it featured no attempt at making a lesbian couple real nor relate-able. Furthermore, the story is far more about the straight couples around them than about Jenny and Kitty (Bledel) themselves. This is only one example of the multitudes of movies as of late which capitalize on the growing popularity of being liberal “and accepting the gays” but fail to portray real queer people with real full lives. One only needs to see the various boycott hashtag campaigns surrounding the upcoming Stonewall movie to see that queer characters are not getting the full character development and realism they deserve.

However Jenny’s Wedding had the makings of being a stellar female focused film with writer and director Mary Agnes Donoghue who wrote the screenplays for Beaches and White Oleander, however just because a writer/ director is women-centric does not mean she can pull of an authentic queer story. The couple in question, Jenny and Kitty lack any chemistry between each other, which is slightly understandable as there are four total scenes where they are seen showing affection towards each other and not all of those scenes feature them kissing. There is no presentation of their domestic lives together regardless that they have been in a commit relationship for five years. Furthermore, it is difficult to feel any authenticity or connection with these characters and their relationship when the love interest is lacking all resemblance of character development. You don’t even learn her last name! The description of the movie doesn’t even say that her name is Kitty. You have no idea what her family situation is, nor her job or anything about her except that she supposedly loves Jenny and is willing to “go along” with whatever Jenny wants as Kitty herself has no opinions or a personality. The first time you see any kind of affection between the characters is 25 minutes into the movie! Don’t get me started on the fact that this is movie is completely without any sex! The only mention of sex in the movie is during a blowup scene with Jenny and her father when he alludes to being confused about how to act because he doesn’t know how they have sex. Jenny then proceeds to humiliate her fiance about who wears the strap-on to make a point to her straight father.jennys-wedding1

Really this movie is not about Jenny’s Wedding or anything to do with Jenny and Kitty but is instead all about the straight people in her life. Of course, I specifically talk of her family because Jenny and Kitty apparently have no friends and Kitty appears to have no family of her own. While arguably this story is about Jenny’s relationship with her parents, very little is focused on the real grappling of Jenny’s revelation. Just a whole lot of sad montages covered over by music and her mother yelling at her father saying “We have to talk about this”. We get to see Jenny’s sister Annie come to terms with her unhappy marriage through the deepest and most moving part of the movie… her grass on the front lawn… (no sarcasm). The most developed characters in the story are Jenny’s parents and they lack any real dimension.

I have no real problem with the acting in this movie because frankly when you are given an steamy pile of hetero crap to act from, its hard to do a good job.  While this movie passes the GLAAD Bechdel test for queer characters called The Russo Test, it only passes because the main character is gay. Frankly, if you are testing whether the gay characters themselves are full characters with lives outside of their sexual preference and that a supposedly gay film is in fact about gay characters, this movie would fail miserably. As someone within the rainbow, I am tired of Hollywood capitalizing on this trend of “gay loving” without giving any real characters or reflecting pieces of people’s real lives. On another note- there is only one person of color featured in the film and they are in the last couple of minutes and have a non-speaking part and there are no differently able characters.  And would Hollywood stop playing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song Same Love in every gay movie they can! Seriously, could you pick a song written or sung by gay people to symbolize that you should not be a bigot while watching this movie instead of a white hetero guy telling you to love the gays cuz they are just like us…

Wohoo, we have a film about gay people… but not really because no one lives in a shiny white world where everyone can afford anything they like and everyone is a picture of perfect health and body. I want a film about gay characters which are featured as real people with real lives, seems too much to ask right now.

Lilith Out!

Not convinced? Check out these reviews:

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/30/jennys-wedding-lesbian-drama-katherine-heigl

http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/film-review-jennys-wedding-1201538808/

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