Wedding Advice: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Award-winning filmmakers Karen and Fred have been partners for 18 years. Despite mutual commitment and external pressure to wed, they feel ambivalent about marriage. Are they alone in this? What social and political forces contribute to their doubts? They decide to seek advice. With an engaging blend of humor, personal testimony, and expert analysis, this thought-provoking documentary explores the history and contemporary relevance of the institution of marriage.
Interviewees include people who are married, divorced, single, heterosexual, bisexual, gay, and in unmarried, committed relationships; they represent diverse relationships to and perspectives on marriage. Commentators examine the social, economic, and political context in which marriage exists in America and illuminate issues of gender equity, female identity, religious considerations, the exclusion of certain groups (gays/lesbians) from the institution, and the intrusion of commerce and commodification into the celebration.
Re-framing the traditional question, “is there any reason why the two of us should not wed?” the filmmakers ask their subjects: “Is there any reason why the two of us should wed?” As others tell their marriage stories and offer their wedding advice, the film reveals a conflicting desire for and fear of marriage traditions in contemporary American culture. Sections of the film follow traditional marriage scripts from the proposal onward and feature recent marriage-related happenings. The film concludes with the “advice” the filmmakers have received.
At once entertaining and informative and both deeply personal and political, “Wedding Advice” is sure to capture student interest and stimulate thoughtful discussion in a variety of courses in sociology, psychology, women’s and gender studies, popular culture, and cultural anthropology. It was produced by Karen Sosnoski and Fred Zeytoonjian.