My Big Gay Italian Wedding (2018)
A playful, quirky and sometimes thoughtful involuntary almost musical about coming out to family, overcoming fear and prejudice, and the power of love to make things right.
Synopsis: Antonio proposes to his boyfriend Paulo, and then takes him to his small hometown in Italy to introduce him to his parents and share the news. Of course there are some bumps along the way. Antonio’s family must come to terms with the big, gay wedding and more importantly their own beliefs.
Big Gay Italian Wedding is a quirky film. It’s funny yet pondering. It’s subject is focused but the story is meandering. The characters are real yet inexplicable at times.
I loved the opening sequence of Antonio and Paulo’s relationship. It sets up the story for them as a couple who should be getting married. However, moments later I was wondering why these two are tying the knot. Antonio can’t say “I love you” to Paulo. They quickly devolve into an argument about whether or not Paulo can go to Italy with Antonio which mostly stems around Antonio’s not being out to his parents.
Their friends are quite interesting people. Benedetta is their landlord, but also a bit of a mixed bag. She apparently likes tranquilizers and is more than willing to drink a meal. Donato is their new flatmate who comes with no luggage but more than enough baggage. Although they have some funny moments, at times they distract from the storyline.
And there’s Camilla, Antonio’s ex-girlfriend. She is in need of therapy or some sort of mental health care. Even Anna, Antonio’s mom, says that she’s “always been one of those creepy people.”
Father Francesco is one of my favorite characters. The fact that he seems to find a balance between his religion and the people right in front of him is refreshing. He’s also wise and somewhat hysterical at the same time. He chuckles when presented with excommunication. And his wise words ring true for many characters in the film. “Too many obstacles divide people. And often we do not notice the main obstacle, the one that stops us from loving every day… it’s in the most profound place, it’s inside us.”
Coming out to family becomes an obvious theme. Paulo says that it’s “easy to be gay in Berlin” where Antonio is away from his family. He can be out to his friends without the risk of coming out to his family back home in Civita, Italy. Without giving too much away, Antonio’s coming out is a mixed bag. Some of the parents’ reactions are almost beyond explanation.
But I think what is more worthy of analysis is Antonio’s father, Roberto. The first time we see Roberto (Civita’s mayor) he is defending his decision to welcome refugees to the village. He says “it’s a matter of sensitivity, of being human. It’s not a political matter.” He seems pretty open minded and progressive.
But when it comes to his own son marrying another man it’s a completely different story. The rather bizarre story he tells his family is that if his neighbor has a baboon that’s fine. But he doesn’t want to have a baboon in his own home. Antonio even remarks, “What are you talking about?” Not the best metaphor, but we see what’s going on in his mind at this point. Even after he appears to see that his behavior is affecting his son and apologizes, he continues to make choices that negatively affect his son’s marriage plans.
What makes the film somewhat incongruous is that we don’t really see what resolves these issues. Unless Jesus falling on Roberto and almost killing him is what metaphorically solves these issues for him… Likewise, there are several other story strings left hanging that we wonder what exactly happened or why.
Like the opening sequence, the ending is equally endearing and fun. It might be the best part of the whole film ending on a climax. Although it seems a little disjointed, it leaves you on a high note and feeling like all is well in the world. The goat is a star.
Availability: Amazon, iTunes