The Wilde Wedding
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dysfunctional family comedy doesn't live up to stellar cast.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid many characters' less-than-admirable behavior are some positive messages: Family relationships can overcome difficulties, couples should want to spend their old age together, and love/monogamy is complicated -- but worth it if you truly love and respect someone.
Positive Role Models
Although the younger generations are a mess, Eve and Laurence are great exes who respect, care for, and love each other, putting aside their differences to encourage and support one another and their kids/grandkids. Representation-wise, there's very little diversity in the movie, although one character is LGBTQ, and one is of ambiguous race/ethnicity.
Violence & Scariness
Physical comedy, like a character falling and another getting his face encased in a homemade face mask that he has to break open (hurting himself in the process).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
At least three different love scenes: The youngest Darling brother is introduced while having sex; he later tries to seduce two different women and is shown in various states of undress (the women in their bras), making out and presumably more. Exes have sex after a drunken night. Kissing. An unexpected couple is discovered (and video-recorded) while having sex in the woods. Second cousins kiss chastely.
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Many uses of "f--k," "bitch," "a--hole," "s--t," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Volvo, BMW, Apple.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink, smoke cigarettes, smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, and eat (intentionally and unintentionally) chocolates spiked with hallucinogens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Wilde Wedding is a mature family dramedy about a retired movie star (Glenn Close) who's about to marry her fourth husband, an award-winning novelist (Patrick Stewart). As in many dysfunctional-family comedies, there's lots of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.), plus sex (though no graphic nudity) and substance use (both alcohol and recreational drugs: marijuana, cocaine, and mushroom-laced edibles). The drunk/high relatives make a series of ill-advised choices that lead to betrayal, the revelation of secrets, and more. Since the main characters are over 60, it's doubtful many teens will be interested.
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The Wilde Wedding
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What's the Story?
THE WILDE WEDDING chronicles the wedding weekend of retired, world-renowned 60-something actress Eve Wilde (Glenn Close). She's marrying critically acclaimed British novelist Harold Alcott (Patrick Stewart), who will become her fourth husband. Attending the festivities on Eve's side are her three adult sons (Noah Emmerich, Jack Davenport, and Peter Facinelli), two adolescent granddaughters (Grace Van Patten, Brigette Lundy-Paine), and her favorite exes, including her first husband/father of her children, Laurence Darling (John Malkovich), a respected stage actor, and former daughter-in-law Priscilla Jones (Minnie Driver), a pop-rock superstar. Harold, meanwhile, brings along his two daughters and one of their best friends. As Eve's granddaughter Mackenzie (Van Patten) attempts to film a documentary about first love, it's clear that sparks are flying in all sorts of directions, leading to a tumultuous wedding day.
Is It Any Good?
Close, Malkovich, and Stewart in a grown-up romantic comedy sounds like a dream, but Damian Harris' thinly plotted story about bed-swapping soon-to-be-relatives still underdelivers. The son of late Irish actor Richard Harris (whose first wife was a Welsh aristocrat and whose second was an American actress/model), Harris -- who was also married to an actress (Peta Wilson) -- clearly understands first-hand the highs and lows of two people in showbiz trying to make a life together. The Wilde Wedding's many themes about fame vs. critical respect, renown vs. money, ego, and self-aggrandizement all seem authentic, and the three esteemed actors are all up to the task of playing people who are well-known to various degrees.
The problem is all of the other characters, from the childish adult children who can't seem to help wanting to sleep with their new step-siblings to the underdeveloped adolescent/young-adult grandchildren who are either scandalous (Lundy-Paine's Lara shows up with a new, loud, blogging girlfriend) or overly sincere (Mackenzie, who wants to know what love is, even if it's what she feels for her second cousin). Driver stands out as a slightly unbelievable "rock goddess" who's Mackenzie's mother and Eve's favorite former daughter-in-law. She sings the titular remake of "White Wedding" with a zeal that says "cabaret" more than "arena frontwoman," but at least she can sing. Random other characters pop up, mostly to show what a mess these rich white folks are, but the movie doesn't amount to much other than an excuse to see three of the finest actors of their generation interact.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how The Wilde Wedding portrays drinking and drug use. Why do you think recreational substance use is portrayed as humorous? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?
Do you consider any of the characters role models? What character strengths do they exhibit?
What are the movie's messages and in-jokes about acting? Is there really a rivalry between movie actors and stage actors? Do you think actors are as self-absorbed as they appear in the movie?
How does class, money, fame play a role in the movie?
- In theaters: September 15, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: October 17, 2017
- Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart
- Director: Damian Harris
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and drug use
- Last updated: December 23, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
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