My Sister’s Wedding is written and directed by Kenneth R. Frank and is an indie comedy about Allison Valentine (played by Samantha Sayah) and her drama-filled family.
As the middle sister of the three daughters of a successful business magnate, she is caught between many secrets and personal agendas that threaten relationships in the family.
The film starts with Allison waking up in the family’s out-of-town home. It is a big day as her younger sister, Tina (played by Lauren A. Kennedy) is getting married in a small private wedding at the house. No guests have been invited and it is supposed to be an intimate event with just both families in attendance. But all of her family members have come to the event with their agenda and are relying on Allison to help them get what they want.
The Valentine family unit is one filled with some much drama. Allison’s parents Al (played by Brian Donohue) and Olivia (Jennifer Jiles) have been separated for 15 years but Al has refused to legally divorce Olivia reason being that it goes against his strong catholic faith. Olivia simply takes delight in being a thorn in Al’s flesh but wants to cut ties with him so she too can move on with her life. She plans to serve him and have him sign the divorce papers at the wedding. But Allison must keep that secret till after the ceremony is over.
Sabrina (played by Shawna Brandle) the eldest sister even though married with kids has some financial issues. She and her husband need some money to start a business but they can’t approach Al with the idea just yet. So again, Allison must bare the weight of being the one to relay this request to their no-nonsense father.
But Allison has her issues weighing her down as well. She wants out of all the family’s business and drama. She wants to become a Latin teacher and she is yet to break that news to her father who has other plans for her.
All these issues are yet to be fully unravelled.
Throw in a catholic priest and the family’s very opinionated lawyer into the mix of inflated egos, then you are sure that there would be some chaos that would likely threaten the success of a simple wedding gay wedding.
As the film progress, it is obvious that Allison is the spine that holds everyone together. But her long can she continue to place everyone else’s needs and desires over hers? And to what benefit?
When Tina’s partner Aaliyah’s (played by Samantha Nixon) family is introduced, we see a different family dynamic. But it’s one with its issues and those to are explored in the film’s 1h 22m runtime.
The film is a micro-budget indie and you can tell by the purposefully choice of a single location for the entire film. Some other production elements like the quality of the sound also show a very obvious limitation of the film.
The family’s supposed success and opulence and shown with just this one not-so-fancy house. But the writing and dialogue do great at leading your mind into believing how wealthy they are. Kenneth (the director) also cleverly chose to accompany most of the scenes with classical music which interestingly seems to add that needed touch of ‘high class’ living to the Valentines.
The acting in this film might be far from the best you might have seen. But the actors show commitment in making sure that you are sold on the story and each character’s contribution to it.
Also unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, this film is not a slapstick rib-cracking comedy. Granted, it sits well in the comedic genre with the few laughs that it manages to pull with the dialogue. I feel this would have been cringeworthy and somewhat clumsy if its writer had tried to make this funnier than it was. The serious issues are all tackled in a witty mature manner making it engaging if you pay attention to it.
Despite the not-so-impressive acting, you can connect with the characters individually and understand each of their situations and thus feel connected to them.
You are simply drawn into this mess of a family and their issues and as the story progresses you start to hope that everything works out well for everybody in the end.
I would rate this film 6/10.
In the end, you find out that the film is more about a patriarch realizing that he can’t always have his way as he must occasionally admit to his flaws and shortcomings whilst allowing the people around him the opportunity to also blossom with their own choices. The film also seems to reiterate the importance of trust and communication being necessary values needed for navigating the complexities of personal relationships in any family dynamic.
‘My Sister’s Wedding’ is still enjoying its festival run and has already picked up several nominations and a win for Best Screenplay. Hopefully, it should be available for all to see on demand.