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'Always a Bridesmaid' is the story of Nina Davenport's quest for marriage
and the frustrations and disappointments she encounters on the was, as
and filmed by Nina Davenport. At first it looks as if it might be dry and
boring, but the narrator's voice and style of story telling quickly
one's interest. You realize this is a true story and you wonder what is
going to happen. What kind of person tells her own tale about failed love
and unsuccessful relationships, and on video, interviewing all of her
friend's about what they think of her and her attitudes towards
relationships? Her neurosis pulls you in.
Most of the movie stays pretty interesting, though it begins to drag near the end and you want to tell Nina to stop being dumb and open her eyes. But all in all its an interesting and enjoyable movie.
Society has placed conditions on people that stress a certain way of
living. It often feels like one is lost or unable to associate to
society unless they adhere to these guidelines. For women, the idea of
being a "spinster" can cause a great deal of anxiety.
For everyone who has felt the "clock" ticking and the notion of marriage seems impossible, this is your story. 'Always a Bridesmaid' is a documentary about one young woman's struggle to force (yes, force) her younger boyfriend to not only marry, but want to get married. Though it is impossible to force someone to want what they do not, it is impossible not to feel her immediacy.
Her name is Nina Davenport. She and her boyfriend Nick are both filmmakers. They are both very much in love with one another. She yearns to marry and he is fearful of the idea. There is some ambiguity as to whether she wants to marry him or just get married altogether to anyone. This desperateness is probably felt on at least some level by Nick and is likely another cause for his worry.
In life, it is uncomfortable to be caught in the middle of a situation such as this. In film, this can often fall into whiny melodrama. Nina's desperation can sometimes border on the annoying, but it is so easy to identify with her plight. There is a voyeuristic quality in being placed where the audience has, but most important is the idea that we can see both points of view.
Even more interesting, Nina goes on a sort of film-making therapy. She visits her parents and we learn about her mother's wild days as a much sought after bachelorette. As the scary idea of spinsterhood creeps into Nina's mind, she visits older women who never married. Receiving life's views from these wise women is the greatest gift of this doc.
What they have to say is enlightening, humorous, and at its best it is true. The truth behind their words is refreshing and honest. How their stories help and don't help Nina is fascinating. How she can relate what they say about Nick is unclear. For all of their help, every person is different as well as every relationship.
The ultimate irony is that Nina is, of all things, a wedding videographer. The pressures of spinsterhood meet her at work as well. The audience knows she is young and beautiful and need not worry. But that fact is not what the film is about. The feeling of loneliness and desperation that is unchanged by others' reassurance is an unyielding foe.
I saw 64 films in 2001 (the year 'Always a Bridesmaid' made its extremely limited theatrical run). I listed Nina Davenport's ultra-personal work of heart and soul as number 1. Nothing released that year is as personal or well made as this masterwork. The final scene in the film was not lost on me. The metaphor of the moment is one of the more powerful I have seen if not tranquil and unmoving in its own deceptive way. **** out of ****
This woman and her boyfriend are utterly boring. Couldn't even watch the entire thing. 30 minutes in, and it just blows and blows hard. Who gives a crap, lady? Really, you're jealous of all your friends? You're jealous of all the women you film? If this is your reality--yikes. I wanted her to redeem herself, I wanted to get into this. I saved it so I could watch it by myself, since my boyfriend was not interested. All I can think is--really, you make your money working around weddings. So, if you're so jealous of all of the other brides you videotape and photograph--does that mean that you only want to get married to make your friends jealous? The movie is dull, the documentarian's observations are duller. Lame. Avoid.
This is a well-made documentary but its content was awful. Almost 2 hours of a single young ladies misery about being single. Wallowing in sadness, whining, depressed, questioning everything. No wonder she's single. If I were Nick, I'd be thanking The Lord above that I got away!!! Why would a woman put herself out there for the entire world to see her weak insecurities ? It really doesn't make sense. She suffocates herself with whiney, nagging thoughts and worries. She inundates her close fronds and family with the whining instead of letting go and enjoying the present. Trying too hard is probably the biggest turn off to other people. That and negativity. And desperation. Makes for a sad, miserable life. Another thing I noted watching this documentary is that she is very monotone and has no inflection. Sad.
About 45 minutes into this far-too-long 100-minute film, I kept looking
at the screen, wondering why I was still watching people who apparently
have modelled their adult lives and language on 'Friends,' that @#$%^&*
Director Nina Davenport and other ditzy, whiny women think getting married, with flowing white gowns and all the usual rituals firmly in place, is the beginning and end of paradise on earth. For me, listening to the excruciating conversations of these women, who talk like acne-ridden 9th graders when they're actually in their late 20s or early 30s, is just too much to take. And I thought MEN were supposed to be shallow.
Davenport is a rather sad wedding photographer (ah, coincidence) who thinks that maybe she's never going to get married. Somehow this creaky premise is supposed to translate into a heavy-duty feature-length film. If you think it does, you'll love this stuff.
'Always a Bridesmaid' is really a great to-do about not very much. The second half of the film, where loneliness among older people is examined with sensitivity, is far more interesting than the first, but as a whole I'm not sure how these kinds of docs get financed, made and distributed. Too much is spent on the musings of a woman who thinks it's compelling for us to listen to her inanity ('...but it feels kind of good to wallow in my own sadness'). It gets worse with the flat-out illiterate musings of her boyfriend ('So like, ya know, like, do ya think, like, do ya, like, think, like, that should we, like, do that, like, or like, should we....'). If you love the English language, avoid this flick.
Too many deluded filmmakers assume that the quivering masses will be interested in their insufferably middle-class lives, which they somehow equate with high drama.
I've been constipated for the last four days. Think I'll make a film about it. It has tremendous dramatic potential.
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