Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sister of the Groom: Movie Review

Awful people at a wedding.

What sounds like a romantic comedy, or at least a wedding-based comedy, is actually a drama about awful people at a wedding. Audrey (Alicia Silverstone) is stressed. She’s turning 40 soon, her brother is about to be married, she has not yet met the bride-to-be, and her mother died a few years earlier.   2020

Directed by: Amy Miller Gross

Screenplay by: Amy Miller Gross

Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Mathilde Ollivier

She’s particularly stressed that her brother moved the wedding date; however, he moved it back a month, and it’s a small wedding with mostly just family held at his house. So it’s not like there were significant plans that got changed or money got wasted, and it doesn’t really affect her. She just obviously doesn’t like change and likes finding reasons to be upset about.

Audrey is hostile with her husband (Tom Everett Scott, who is mostly wasted in the movie), and only feigns being nice to her brother and new sister-in-law for five minutes when she first arrives. Then she’s upset about the death of her mother. And while I don’t want to diminish the loss of a parent (I also have lost one), she’s a grown adult and her mother died of cancer a few years ago while Audrey was a grown adult. I get the sense that she has played her Dead Mom card every single day for the past 3 years and I think it’s time to get over it or get counselling.

The bride-to-be Clemence (Mathilde Ollivier) is an interesting counter-part to Audrey. She’s free-spirited, opinionated, likes bragging about her European life, and I get Audrey disliking her, or even just suspecting that there’s a reason her brother hasn’t introduced them yet. But Clemence isn’t outright mean, she’s just different. Audrey has somehow decided to make this wedding about her and hates Clemence because she thinks she hates her. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t help Clemence warm up to her.

I liked what Ollivier and Silverstone brought to the film. There’s a relatability to Silverstone’s body issues, unhappy marriage, and lack of satisfaction in her life, but she just makes it too unlikable. Her hostility is too over-bearing and takes away from the relatability of her other characteristics. French actress and new-comer Mathilde Ollivier holds her own against Silverstone; she’s strong without being overly negative and plays a character with multiple layers to her.

As Audrey’s incessant unhappiness threatens to destroy the wedding, or at least get her kicked out of it, there are a few romantic sub-plots introduced that don’t get fleshed out. Which is disappointing as it seems there are a few interesting ideas at play here, but it all just comes back to what is Audrey upset about it now and does it even matter? Which just makes Sister of the Groom an exhausting watch.