A New York Christmas Wedding

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
A New York Christmas Wedding Movie Poster Image
Angel shows woman the path she didn't choose; language, sex.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Parents who reject their kids do damage. Sins are forgivable. Sometimes, your first love is the greatest. "Your heart should always remain open."

Positive Role Models

Jennifer is a loving, decent person who loves her father and appreciates the things and people she lost in life. When she's given a second chance to be with them again, she takes it. Diverse characters.

Violence

A teen gave birth to a stillborn child. Someone either dies in a traffic accident or committed suicide.

Sex

A high school girl kisses her boyfriend and has sex offscreen with him, leading to a pregnancy. Her family disowns her. A priest supports her emotionally through that time. That girl realizes she's gay and marries the woman she loves later. Two women lie in bed clothed and kiss and caress. A man wants to make love to his fiancé while his parents are visiting in the other room. Talk of abortion.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "jerk."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine. A reference is made to getting drunk on tequila. A girl spikes eggnog with whisky.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A New York Christmas Wedding has a guardian angel, an opportunity to relive a life, a rebuke to the Catholic church for anti-gay marriage policies, yet also an embrace of the solace that religion and community provide, with a teen pregnancy and talk of abortion thrown in. A suicide is mentioned. Language includes infrequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "ass," and "jerk." A teenage girl has sex with her boyfriend offscreen, and later, as an adult, the same character kisses her female partner and wife-to-be. Adults drink wine. A reference is made to getting drunk on tequila. A girl spikes eggnog with whisky.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTruereview19 October 31, 2021

Best Christmas movie ever!

This movie is just amazing and very educational but it also speaks to the heart and doesn’t judge. It is therefore the best Christmas movie I have ever seen in... Continue reading
Adult Written byShayneJensen December 24, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byTora9 February 18, 2021

Pretty darn good.

The heart-warming story of two different loves, while it contains complex story lines, was very easy to follow and beautifully executed. The somewhat confrontat... Continue reading

What's the story?

Jennifer (Nia Fairweather) and Gabby (Adriana DeMeo) are best friends in high school. It's Christmas 1999 and Jennifer is about to tell her friend that she loves her beyond simple friendship. But they have a silly fight on the phone and both vow to never speak again. This leads Gabby to have sex with a bad boyfriend, which leads to pregnancy and, more than likely we learn later, her suicide. As Jennifer is about to marry David (writer-director Otoja Abit), the polished son of two wealthy entrepreneurs, David's mother's bossiness catapults Jennifer out of the house to clear her head. We learn her hesitations about the wedding have less to do with a controlling mother-in-law than with memories of her gay first love. Enter Azrael (Cooper Koch), Jennifer's guardian angel. He sends Jennifer into alternate universes, one where David is married with kids and doing just fine without her. In this universe, Jennifer lives with the no-longer-dead Gabby and they're planning a wedding, if they can get the priest (Chris Noth) to marry them in the church they've attended all their lives. He ignores church law and performs the rite, at which point the angel Azrael shows up again, making Jennifer an offer about which life she wants to choose.

Is it any good?

A Christmas Wedding in New York is all over the place, making so many arguments regarding so many issues that it's difficult to identify the many messages and appreciate them all. One argument is made fairly late in the action by a priest as he quotes a passage from Corinthians that denounces "fornicators, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites…" The priest calls it "one of the most damning, hurtful and misused Christian passages in the Bible" and sees a direct correlation between those words and "the rise of gay Catholic suicides."

Writer-director Otoja Abit nevertheless conveys a fondness for religious traditions at the same time he sees the church's position as hypocritical in its supposed acceptance of gay people and its simultaneous refusal to allow them to marry in the church. More subtle value judgments are communicated here as well. This movie suggests it's better to be with the gay, middle-class love of your life than with your super-rich hetero boyfriend and his pretentious and bossy parents. All of this contemporary social commentary is mixed with a fantasy about a woman still yearning for her dead first love, and the guardian angel who's helping her go back twenty years and live happily ever after with people who are long gone. Likable performers and the movie's general emphasis on elevating love and inclusion above all else help make this palatable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how kids feel when they're disowned by their parents. When Gabby became pregnant her parents abandoned her. How did that affect her?

  • How does this movie view the Catholic church? What message does it offer to the church hierarchy, to Catholics, and to the religious community in general?

  • How does this movie promote the theme of acceptance? What are some of the different ways of thinking and being presented here?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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