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A Simple Wedding

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
A Simple Wedding Movie Poster Image
Sweet culture-clash romcom upends stereotypes; drugs, sex.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 88 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Movie is all about power of love and the idea that love forgives. Be open minded to love and opportunity, don't let tradition or expectations stop you from following your heart. Shows power of honest communication between family members and people in love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nousha and family are Iranian American Muslims; story is about navigating her family's traditional Persian heritage and values in modern-day America. Her parents love her but have very specific expectations for her. Characters/relationships include range of races, body types, sexual identities. All gender stereotypes are thrown out the window. Some characters state that sexuality is a spectrum rather than a label. Nousha is fully in charge of her sexuality. But she also makes some choices that may feel iffy: taking drugs, drinking heavily, hooking up on a first date, etc.

Violence

Arguing/yelling.

Sex

Intended-to-be-funny conversations about sex and male anatomy, including close-ups of crotch bulges, a drawing, and rude jokes. Nousha often makes the first move, whether it's a first kiss or moving to sex. Several playful sex scenes in which characters are in their underwear and kiss/talk about sex, but nothing explicit shown on camera.  

Language

Language includes "p---ies," "d--k," "f--k," and "s--t." 

Consumerism

A BMW and an Apple laptop have logos front and center, implying product placement. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Nousha buys and takes unidentified drugs on dealer's promise that it "will make you feel great." She later acts slightly eccentric, says she's "tripping"; no consequences (or rewards). She and Alex smoke pot. Social drinking throughout, with a couple of moments that present potentially misleading notions about "liquid courage": Alex's mom drinks out of her flask in the middle of the day, which leads to a love connection, and Nousha slams martinis to get through a set-up date with the intent to have sex (but, many drinks in, she chooses not to, asks him to zip her up, and leaves without incident).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Simple Wedding is a culture-clash romcom about an Iranian American attorney with traditional parents who falls in love with a white, sexually fluid artist/DJ. If that sounds progressive, you're right. The movie is full of positive representations of diverse groups, including same-sex couples and a Black female boss. The movie is both made for and pokes fun at millennials, dealing with over-the-top political correctness, personal freedoms, and the embrace of substance use. At a club, main character Nousha (Tara Grammy) buys and takes a drug from a dealer without even knowing what it is, with no consequences. In another scene, she and her fiancé, Alex (Christopher O'Shea), smoke pot. Nousha has full agency over her sexual decisions -- and the value of honest communication is made clear -- but parents may cringe when she slams drinks with the intent to sleep with a guy she's not all that into. There are lots of penis jokes, some nonexplicit sex scenes, and a couple of swear words ("f--k," "s--t."). Co-star Rita Wilson executive-produces, just as she did with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the two films are similar in warmth, romance, comedy, satisfaction, and putting the spotlight on a multicultural family dynamic. 

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What's the story?

In A SIMPLE WEDDING, Nousha Husseini (Tara Grammy) is an Orange County attorney who isn't obsessed with marriage. But her Iranian immigrant parents push her daily to marry a fellow Persian -- and fast. Then she meets and starts falling for Alex (Christoper O'Shea), a charming bisexual artist/DJ. Nousha worries whether her parents will accept their relationship -- and whether her and Alex's cultural differences are too great to overcome.

Is it any good?

This modern-day love story is wonderfully millennial: It's social-justice oriented, with diverse characters and a progressive approach to dating and sex. It nails millennials' language, sense of humor, and approach to problems. Even when the comedy goes broad, the acting and dialogue are fully authentic -- hopefully, we'll be seeing more of the cast and writer-director Sara Zandieh.

While there's been a recent revolution when it comes to reinventing the romantic comedy, A Simple Wedding actually follows a formula but updates it for modern audiences. It's hard to think of too many (or any) light movies with positive portrayals of Iranian Americans, or with a Muslim woman as the adorkable lead, or, for that matter, any in which a heterosexual girl marries a bisexual guy. Romcoms often have a "gay guy best friend," but how many times does the female lead have two lesbian best friends who are married with a daughter (and no issues)? Alex's gay father and stepfather aren't stereotypical, either. In fact, the greatest thing about all of the characters here is how comfortable they are in their own skin. So millennial!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how cultural and generational differences are typically depicted in the media. How does that compare with real life? How can that kind of difference create problems -- or opportunities for new traditions?

  • What kind of diversity and representation did you notice in A Simple Wedding? Why is it important for all kinds of people to see someone like themselves on the big screen? Does it matter if they're portrayed in a positive or likable light?

  • Talk about how the movie portrays drug and alcohol use. Is it glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How does the story show the importance of communication?

Movie details

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