I adore chick flicks, cutesy films that you can rely on to have a happy ending. When I happened upon Jenny’s Wedding, I wanted to watch it because it has two of my favourite actresses, Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel. Now, before I launch into a heartfelt review of this movie, I should put forth the caveat that this movie is a heavy one. It weighs down on the emotional quota really really hard, so unless you are comfortable with your emotional side and can handle the flood of emotions you will feel, tread with caution.
Opening with a seemingly-normal family, the film hinges on a truth that lies just below the surface and could destroy the family if it comes out. Jenny (Heigl) is a gay woman who has been hiding her sexuality from her very traditional family all her life. Prodding at the nuclear family structure, this movie delves into the various sides of love. Psychology has dissected love into seven different types: Eros (romantic love), Philia (the love between friends), Storge (familial love), Agape (love for strangers, nature and/or God), Ludus (love for pleasure), Pragma (love based on duty or long-term needs) and Philautia (self-love which can be either healthy or not) We see many of these types of love in this movie: the love between a mother and her daughter (Storge), the love between a father and his daughter (Storge), the love between siblings (Storge), the love between same-sex couples (Eros), the love of self in a healthy context (Philautia), the love of friends (Philia) and the love of a family as a whole. This movie goes the extra mile to remind us that love comes in so many different shapes and sizes, and real love is big enough to overcome anything, big enough to shine into the darkness that exists within us, big enough to forgive the most hurtful of actions or words, big enough to accept despite the challenges that come with the acceptance and big enough to put another before oneself. I found my heart being pulled in all the directions that this movie could possibly take. Heigl deserves a standing ovation for her performance, as do Tom Wilkinson who plays her father, Eddie, and Linda Emond who is her mother, Rose. While Bledel’s is more of a supporting role as Jenny’s girlfriend, Kitty, she plays it well
This movie takes on a much more serious portrait of a chick flick, using this medium to tap into some very nuanced and important issues that conventional families face these days. With themes of love in all its facets, sexuality, acceptance, forgiveness and family among others, this movie is a must-watch. You, if you don’t already, begin to understand that although people within a family are so different from each other, each is deserving of the comfort and acceptance that comes with belonging to a place of real love. After all, we are all on this earth looking for the same things: love and acceptance.
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