A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jenny's Wedding is an awkwardly made drama about a woman who comes out to her family. It's very earnest and may be useful for some families in similar situations, but others may find it frustrating, as it seems aimed at very sheltered viewers. Violence isn't an issue, and language is very infrequent (one "bulls--t" and "God" as an exclamation). The main character kisses her partner, and there are some sexual references (to "porno movies" and "strapping it on in bed") and references to a (fictitious) affair. A character smokes cigarettes in secret.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is in a happy, committed relationship with Kitty (Alexis Bledel), but she's afraid to tell her family about it. She attends a particularly painful anniversary party for her parents (Tom Wilkinson and Linda Emond), where her brother tries to fix her up with a male friend -- and where her sister (Grace Gummer) begins to spread the rumor that Jenny's sleeping with a married man. After that, Jenny decides to come clean, but her family reacts with shock and confusion. There are cries of betrayal, and unfriendly gossip starts circulating. Despite everything, Jenny decides that she wants more than anything to start a family of her own, so she makes preparations for her wedding, with or without her family's help.
Is it any good?
Incredibly earnest in its intentions, this lesson in tolerance suffers from astoundingly bad filmmaking, unlikable characters, and misguided attempts at metaphor. Even though it comes from veteran screenwriter Mary Agnes Donoghue (Beaches, White Oleander, Veronica Guerin), the script never sounds natural; the actors constantly struggle with dialogue that sounds written rather than spoken. Donoghue never manages to do more than simply place her camera in front of a convenient backdrop for each talking scene; it's the opposite of visual storytelling.
Even the best actors in the cast come across as positively amateurish. Maudlin pop songs kick in every so often in a vain attempt to help. The issue of gay marriage is handled respectfully but also in a way that seems aimed at only the most sheltered or conservative of audiences. Anyone else will find the movie extremely frustrating. Perhaps worst of all is the supremely awkward, wince-inducing attempt to use "dead grass" as a metaphor for a happy marriage.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Jenny's Wedding deals with coming out. What does it mean to Jenny? To her parents? Can you think of other movies that have tackled related subject matter?
Have you ever kept secrets from your family? What kind of secrets? What happened if/when they found out?
What audience do you think the movie is intended to appeal to? How can you tell?
Why do you think the dad smokes cigarettes in secret? Does the movie glamorize smoking in any way?
- In theaters: July 31, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2015
- Cast: Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel, Tom Wilkinson
- Director: Mary Agnes Donoghue
- Studio: IFC Films
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic material including a crude sexual reference
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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