Jenny has come out to everyone in her life, except for her conservative family. Moved to stop living a lie, Jenny proposes to her girlfriend and finds the strength to tell her parents the good news. But they do not take it well, and the characters struggle with the shift in their world, coming to value love and family over all else. (JEP: 3/5)
Review by Contributing Editor Jessica E. Perry
Written and directed by Mary Agnes Donoghue, Jenny’s Wedding is a new take on love, family, and acceptance. “Jenny” (Katherine Heigl) in a loving relationship with her girlfriend “Kitty” (Alexis Bledel), she came out a while ago, and now lives happily with Kitty in their shared apartment. The catch? Jenny has come out to everyone besides her conservative, small-town family. And Kitty? To them, she is just Jenny’s “roommate.”
At a family gathering, Jenny once again finds herself set up with one of her brother’s friends. She’s not at all interested, but continues to play the part her family expects of her, pretending to be single instead of revealing the truth about who her partner is. But that night, she realizes that she wants what her siblings already have—she wants to walk down the aisle and start a family.
During a talk with her father “Eddie” (Tom Wilkinson) about what it means to find the right person, and how you should never let that person go, he unknowingly convinces Jenny to live her truth and propose to Kitty.
After Kitty and Jenny are officially engaged, Jenny decides to let go of the lie she has lived for so long, and tell her parents that she is gay. But to say her parents do not take the news well is an understatement at best.
When Jenny finally finds the strength and courage to come out to her mother “Rose” (Linda Emond), she asks Jenny to lie and not tell her siblings or anyone else for that matter, the truth about her “lifestyle”.
Her parents’ resistance comes mainly from their reluctance to allow their own lives to change, and less from how Jenny lives hers. Jenny’s news shatters their world and becomes their secret, just as Jenny is finally ready to make it a secret no more.
Her brother and sister are much more accepting of the news, the younger generation sees Jenny’s lifestyle much differently than the older generation. But her parent’s reactions only fortify Jenny’s determination to live her life as she wants to, vowing to no longer censor her true self for her family’s benefit.
Linda Emond is absolutely wonderful as Jenny’s mother “Rose.” Her brilliant performance perfectly captures Rose’s internal struggle and eventual acceptance of her daughter, whom she loves unconditionally. Katherine Heigl, Tom Wilkinson, and Grace Gummer (as Jenny’s sister “Anne”) all deliver strong and moving performances.
As a fan of Alexis Bledel, I wish she had been given more to work with. She did a great job with what she had. But her character was given all but no backstory and oftentimes served as nothing more than a silent counterpart to Jenny’s longwinded speeches.
The films boasts strong acting, and the story has its touching moments, but falters in post. The terrible sound mixing I will attribute to budget constraints, but unfortunately when the score is just a few songs repeated over and over, at a level so much louder than the actors who are speaking, it simply takes you out of the film.
Besides this blunder, Jenny’s Wedding was an audience favorite; cheers and “oohs” and “ahhs” coming from the people around me. So I wouldn’t say don’t see the film, because I think you should. Just be aware that a few corners were cut in post-production, and it is noticeable.
© Jessica E. Perry FF2 Media (8/2/15)
Top Photo: Jenny and her Mom reminiscing on how alike they are.
Middle Photo: Jenny and Kitty on their wedding day.
Bottom Photo: Jenny and Kitty in love.
Photo Credits: Tiffany Laufer
Q: Does Jenny’s Wedding pass the Bechdel Test?
Jenny and her mother, Jenny and her sister, Jenny and her fiancé Kitty—all of these women have many moving scenes together, that revolve around family, love, and accepting one another for who they are.