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Son of the Bride

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Son of the Bride

from Film Forum, 04/11/02

Son of the Brideoffers viewers a brief respite from disappointment. Director Juan Jose Campanella's movie introduces us to Rafael, a divorced restaurateur who is forced to change his way of life after he suffers a heart attack. With his renewed perspective, he decides to help his father fulfill his ailing mother's life-long wish to have an elaborate church wedding.

The USCCB critic says, "It is the convincing rapport between the characters that is the grease that keeps this film going. With heart-warming moments as well as hearty laughs, Son of the Bride reflects on the importance of appreciating life here and now."

Bruce Donaldson (Movieguide) calls it "a heart-warming, well-made story," but says its perspective is a "non-Christian, Romantic worldview, with humanistic elements." He is also bothered that the church is portrayed in an unflattering light: "The church, as an institution, exists to equip congregations or parishioners—people—to do the work of ministry themselves. If the filmmakers had understood, or experienced, this point, they might have written a powerful 'Christian' story."

But it is true that, no matter why the church exists, many churches are unfriendly. Perhaps the story's unhealthy church can serve as a caution and a reminder to churchgoers about Christian responsibility.

The USCCB's critic responds to the issue, saying: "The representation of the Church as cold-hearted doesn't seem to be intended to single it out as much as to say it is just another place where Rafael doesn't find help."

Mainstream critics gave it mixed reviews, in spite of its Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. Some argue that it is too sentimental. But Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat (Spirituality and Health) write, "Son of the Bride is a heartwarming story about personal transformation that is consistently fresh and funny."