The Wilde Wedding, while slightly pretentious, and seemingly made for big city indie lovers, is rather charming and contains the rare depiction of love in a senior age.
Eve Wilde (Glenn Close) has had only one real great love before Harold (Patrick Stewart), and that was her ex-husband Laurence (John Malkovich). The man whose nepotism put her on the map and is why she is the star she is today. Yet, when they were young, he made for a terrible husband. However, in their old age, he has become an amusing friend at least. One quite necessary as Eve is trying to meld her large family with Harold’s.
On Eve’s side, there are her three boys: Rory (Jack Davenport), Jimmy (Noah Emmerich), and Ethan (Peter Facinelli); three grandchildren, Mackenzie (Grace Van Patten) – Rory’s daughter, Lara (Brigette Lundy-Paine) – Jimmy’s daughter, and though his not biologically hers, technically Sam (Jake Katzman), Mackenzie’s half-brother, is part of the clan too; lastly there is her nephew Dylan (Tim Boardman). Alongside them, Eve also invites Rory’s ex, Mackenzie and Sam’s mother, Priscilla (Minnie Driver). For Harold, he has but two girls: Clementine (Yael Stone) and Rose (Lilly Englert).
Together, with Lara’s guest Pink (Paulina Singer) and Rose’s Saffron (Victória Guerra), we watch as what should have been a simple wedding, implode.
New or different doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Other Noteworthy Moments
Stories Only Seasoned People Could Tell
Though in the age of diversity it is getting better, you’d still be hard-pressed to find productions featuring those Glenn Close or Patrick Stewart’s age, getting roles like this. Women Glenn Close’s age especially. For while this is more so an ensemble type of movie vs. one focused solely on her, she is one of the handful who we really get to know. And getting to know Eve, alongside Laurence, and to a point, Harold, is the highlight of the film.
Especially because their dynamic is something almost exclusive to their age group. For no other age group can you have the complexities of a fully lived life include being with someone, divorcing them, and finding a means to heal that relationship to the point you can enjoy their company again. Alongside that, what other age group makes it so cynicism, weariness, or optimism, naivety in Laurence’s mind, seems deserved, charming, and not eye-roll inducing? Much less, this attitude where if you are who you are and if someone doesn’t like it, F*** em!
But what’s you’ll find most entertaining, and the strongest storyline, naturally is Eve and Laurence. Their history isn’t laid out to the point it takes up most of The Wilde Wedding, but Close and Malkovich’s chemistry allows you to understand these two took a long time to get to this point. For whether it is Laurence bringing up how jilted he feels about the movie that made Eve a star, but he got no props from; the way their children speak about them; how Eve handles Laurence and makes him seem like someone she invites into her life, all of this crafts the idea that we are walking into something we could never fully understand. At least, without a whole movie dedicated to the ups and downs of their relationship.
The Middle Aged Drama
Just like there is clearly lingering feelings between Eve and her ex, the same goes for Rory and his. Though, for most of the middle-aged people, there is something going on. The only one I think worth noting though is the love triangle between Rory, Priscilla, and Harold’s daughter Clementine. If just because, again, when it comes to Rory and Priscilla, it seems like there is so much history there that to really understand it all they’d need a whole movie dedicated to them.
Which is perhaps one of the things The Wilde Wedding does especially well. For the characters mentioned in these “Highlights” topics, it presents them as fully realized people. The type who could fill up their own movies with all that has happened thus far. Making it truly seem their lives didn’t suddenly begin, and get wrapped up, based off when the film begins and ends.
So No One Is Weirded Out By This Cousin Crush?
I don’t know if it really is common knowledge that Mackenzie and Dylan kissed, but it seems like it might be. Especially since Priscilla, who doesn’t necessarily seem that close to Mackenzie, knows about it. Making it seem like maybe some family members know but avoid the subject. Which I just find weird for even if they are cousins once removed, it just is handled too nonchalantly.
Too Many Underdeveloped Characters
There are around 15 or so characters in The Wilde Wedding and the majority of them we get a quick anecdote about, their name, and that’s it. With Jimmy, we just know he falls in love easily and is the one who harps on Eve getting a prenup. His daughter, Lara? Well, we assume she is queer and likes dancing. And in general, that is how far most of the characters get. One or two things are established about them, alongside their name, and that’s it.
Heck, even with Mackenzie, despite her acting as our medium to Eve’s world, we are given sparse details. Ultimately making it seem that most of the cast are just there to bolster the idea that Eve is an important matriarch. Nothing more, nothing less.
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
I don’t know about you, but I always found it depressing most love stories feature the young or barely middle aged. This seriously became a problem after a recent episode of Black Love and Viola Davis saying:
“[Talking about Golden Girls and Betty White’s character asking Bea Arthur’s what she wants in her next husband] ‘I want someone to grow old with’ and I thought, ‘Of course’ and she said ‘Because Stan never wanted to grow old with me.’ And for some reason, it struck me much later that is what most people don’t want. They want the young, they want the cute, and as soon as you stay that way with your body, your sensibility, it’s all great. And then when you get older, you change. You change physically, you change emotionally, and a lot of people aren’t in it for the long haul. They’re not in it for the changes. They’re not in it for the health scares or, I don’t know, death. They’re not in it for that. And I literally want someone to grow old with, I do. I understand what all those elements are. I saw it with my mom and dad when she had to sit next to his deathbed. That’s marriage. That’s love. That’s commitment.”
— Viola Davis – Black Love (Part 4)
With that in mind, I found myself coming to love The Wilde Wedding for it made love seem possible no matter what your age, or the complications involved. However, in the pursuit of making Eve this beloved maternal figure, and crafting the idea she is well loved and liked, we get all these extra characters that don’t really get developed at all. Which, after some time, leads to you getting unresolved storylines and feeling like you don’t know these people at all. Such as, whether Jimmy ever found that girl he saw while picking up Lara, what are Dylan’s feelings about him and Mackenzie, how did Rory and Priscilla find a way to reconcile to the point of it not being a horror for her to come to his mother’s wedding, among many other things.
And because this film drops the ball when it comes to its supporting actors, that is why this is being labeled Mixed. For while the leads are given an excellent storyline, richly crafted to make it seem they have lived full lives, everyone else falls prey to being two-dimensional and forgettable. Thus dragging down The Wilde Wedding.