A very different kind of Christmas movie.
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|A New York Christmas Wedding is a very different kind of Christmas movie. It has the look and feel of an indie film (which it is) and, most importantly, it’s inclusive. I am going to try very hard to not give anything away, but I just have to say holiday rom-coms are not just for the straights anymore.
Directed by: Otoja Abit
Screenplay by: Otoja Abit
Starring: Nia Fairweather, Adriana DeMeo
Netflix seems to be marketing this as a typical holiday rom-com, but that might not attract the right audience. You have to be forgiving at the very beginning. It opens with the younger versions of the lead characters and the acting is weak. We than flash forward to present time and Jennifer (Nia Fairweather) is an extreme character, quick to make fights and comes across as selfish.
Eventually the actresses grow into their characters and the film starts making a bit more sense. It’s not a spoiler to say there’s a guardian angel Azrael (Cooper Koch) but his personality seems very strange until there is a twist reveal for who he is. After that, I loved him. I really appreciate the unique qualities that Koch gave this angel and very surprisingly, the emotional connection to this movie is first provided through him.
A third of the way in, after the first big twist, it really started to explore some interesting themes. Primarily, the role religion plays in a person’s formative years and the rest of their life and the intersection of the Catholic Church and gay marriage. The second act is an introspective relationship drama which handles the additional hurdles of homosexuality well. Chris Noth has a really great appearance as a progressive (almost progressive) Catholic priest.
I’m not a fan of the editing here as they used fade-out transitions too often which just highlights the cheapness of the production. The pacing is also not great as each act really slows down until the twist to propel the film into the next section. However, for people looking for a Christmas movie that is more mature and smart than the typical Netflix fare, this is it.
A New York Christmas Wedding can be hard to get into, but I really appreciate its unique qualities and inclusive nature. The romance is subdued for most of the movie; eventually, though, their emotional connection and genuine love come through. I really hope the right audience finds this film and forgives its weaknesses.