This weekend I watched “Jenny’s Wedding”, an indie drama released last year. It follows the conservative middle America family of Jenny Farrell (played by Katherine Heigl) as she comes out to them and marries her partner of five years, Kitty (played by Alexis Bledel). Spoilers and plot details below the cut.
Jenny comes out first to her parents. They don’t call her a sinner, but her mother does ask her to continue keeping it secret from her siblings and others. For a while it looks as if her father may be accepting because he is not vocal in wondering ” what he did wrong” like his wife is, but when confronted he reveals a disgusted interest in what that means for Jenny’s sex life.
When, after deciding not to keep her sexuality secret any longer, Jenny comes out to her brother, he tells her that he’s always known and he’d love to come to her wedding. Her sister feels betrayed and lied to, after years of Jenny making up boyfriends and calling Kitty just her roommate. She works through those feelings and also supports Jenny.
Jenny’s mom and dad find ways to get over the shock, and the hurtful words exchanged, to show up at the last minute, and dad even walks her down the aisle. A happy ending indeed.
Things I liked
I really appreciated that the parents were somewhere in between acceptance and intolerance, because I think it’s probably common. You can’t appeal to a bigot, and you don’t have to do with acceptance. This in between category is the murky world of compromise.
I also felt that each family member responding differently was realistic. The characters worked as individuals and as a group in ways that were true to life.
Jenny’s sister has a side story, where the dead grass in her yard becomes a metaphor for her unhappy marriage, and she figures out she wants a divorce. This is her happy ending, as divorce often really can be.
Things I didn’t like
The movie focuses a lot on how hard this is for Jenny’s parents, and very little on her relationship with Kitty.
I also disliked how last minute the reunion between Jenny and her father was. While her mother repented early enough to help with wedding plans, dad shows up minutes before the ceremony and gets the honor of giving Jenny away instead of her brother who always supported her.
I know the timing is a movie convention, a frustrating one. It’s where emotions divorce from reality; Jenny is only glad, without any lingering hurt. Her brother doesn’t mind. Dad does the bare minimum and gets honored for it. Okay, I guess that is realistic.
Thing I didn’t know I needed
As a 90s teen, I of course loved all the shows on WB. I will always think of Katherine Heigl as Isobel from Roswell, and Alexis Bledel as Rory from Gilmore Girls. I had profound crushes on the actresses and their characters, and seeing them kiss fulfilled a ship fantasy I didn’t know I had. It was extremely satisfying.
I give this 3.5 out of 5. With a PG 13 rating, this is a movie you can watch and discuss with your children, to express how very much cooler than those parents you would be if your kids ever need to come out to you.