Why can’t we have nice things?

At the weekend, I watched the movie “Jenny’s Wedding”. I remember the trailers last year, advertising a light romantic movie about a lesbian finally coming out to her family because she’s getting married. I remember that the trailers seemed to promise a movie that was high on fun and romance, low on angst, starring Katherine Heigl. I was sold. What romance fan doesn’t want a movie like that?

*sigh*

The movie I watched wasn’t the one in the trailers. It shouldn’t have surprised me, it really shouldn’t, but I’d been so hopeful. A movie featuring an F/F romance getting a good cast and a Hollywood-esque approach to a story! Woot! Except…that wasn’t what this movie turned out to be. It was really more about how her family reacted to her coming out, the way it split them apart and how they slowly tried to repair the damage. The focus was all on Jenny’s parents and her sister and on Jenny’s broken relationship with them.

By the end of the movie I knew a whole lot about Jenny’s family, and almost nothing about Jenny and Kitty. I didn’t know what kind of couple they were, or why they were getting married, or who Kitty was and why she was marrying Jenny. I was told that they loved each other, and that Jenny had known for a long time that Kitty was The One, but I didn’t get any sense of that until right at the end. For maybe thirty seconds, we got a peak at what their relationship might be. That was it.

“Jenny’s Wedding” turned out to be an issue movie that failed to do the one thing I wanted it to do–show me a lovely F/F romance and convince me that they were perfect for each other–while doing the same thing I’ve seen onscreen more times than I can possible count because all the focus was on Jenny coming out to her parents. Not that this isn’t important, but sometimes it would be nice to find a nice, fun f/f romance with a happy ending that doesn’t spend 95 minutes lecturing me on tolerance.

If the trailers hadn’t told me to expect something different, I probably wouldn’t be so irritated right now. If there were more movies of the kind I want, I’d be less irritated.

If I want a straight romance, I’m spoiled for choice. And a lot of the time, that is what I want. Or at least, watching “Maid in Manhattan” for the five millionth time scratches the itch. But when your ranking on the Kinsey scale is somewhere above a two, sometimes it’s nice to watch a movie with a pairing that isn’t boy-meets-girl. And despite the book romance market finally getting on board with providing that, the film market is still struggling. It’s still difficult to find a movie that’s fun, with a happy ending, and doesn’t beat me over the head with issues. Or that doesn’t make the issues the central feature with the romance a very dim and distance minor plot thread.

That’s not to say that those films don’t exist. If you look hard enough, they’re there. I love “Imagine You and Me”, enough to have my own copy.

And I’ve watched “Nina’s Heavenly Delights” as many times as “Maid in Manhattan” and I still adore it.

(The title sounds dodgy, but it’s really about two women falling in love over a cookery competition. Don’t watch without a really good Indian curry on hand, because you’ll be craving. Gosh, what a shock, my favourite F/F romantic movie is structured around food.)

The problem is that movies of that ilk are so rare that it’s hard to make an extensive list. Or at least, hard to make a list without having to throw a dozen caveats at it. And that, my friends, is why “Jenny’s Wedding” disappointed and irritated me far more than is rational.

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2 thoughts on “Why can’t we have nice things?

  1. I had “Jenny’s Wedding” in my list on Netflix. I guess I can take it off now. I was expecting something more along the lines of “Imagine You and Me” (which, I agree, is a great movie). It seems strange that they would market “Jenny’s Wedding” as a light F/F rom-com when it is really something else. Marketing should draw people in. Their own marketing seems to prove people want a nice light F/F romance. So why wouldn’t they make what people are looking for?

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    1. If you’re looking for something along the lines of “Imagine Me and You” then definitely cross this off the list. It’s not a light F/F romcom at all. And it doesn’t even do the story it has well – it was like being hit with a sledge hammer on the tolerance story. Argh.

      I think they know that a light F/F rom com has the potential to draw people in. They wouldn’t have marketed this movie the way they did if that wasn’t the market they were going for. It’s just that they get frightened of providing that movie. The thinking still seems to be that if you’re making a movie about two people in a relationship who aren’t the traditional gender configuration, it must about The Issue. It can’t just be a love story. It can’t just make the audience happy. They still aren’t understanding that they can provide what the market is asking for.

      If you like Imagine Me and You, I highly recommend Nina’s Heavenly Delights if you can find it. Nice fun film, sweet F/F romance, and secondary characters that I also love.

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