Movie Review: White Wedding

No, I’m not talking some adaptation of a Billy Idol song. The White Wedding in point here is a South African movie that’s available on Netflix InstantWatch even as we speak. As I’ve said before, one of the kind of movies I enjoy recommending most is a film that most people probably wouldn’t give a chance without a recommend from a friend. I take the chance on movies so that you don’t have to–you can know going in that you’re going to enjoy it (or not). Netflix said I’d love this movie, so Denisa and I gave it a shot.

For the first third of the film, I was thinking that Netflix had lied to me. It takes a while to get going as it follows four separate story lines that meander around for a bit before they start intersecting. Even once they intersect, the pacing feels off. The movie’s about a man who’s trying to get to his wedding in Cape Town, but he wants to pick up his best friend first, and then they need to go pick up his fiancee’s grandmother. So it’s a road trip movie, South African style.

I think one of the things I enjoyed most about the film was how different it was, culturally. A lot of the movie is subtitled, as the characters weave in and out of English, pidgin, Afrikaans (I think), French (maybe?), and some other languages I just couldn’t identify. I thought it was fascinating to see how the language worked, and how everyone spoke just about any language he or she felt like (it seemed), and yet everyone understood everyone. (This isn’t a flaw of the movie–I’m pretty sure this is just how people speak there.) That alone was enough to keep me watching for the first third until the movie picked up.

The pacing feels off because this is very much NOT your standard Hollywood fare. Yes, there were a few spots that I predicted, but on the whole, the characters acted in ways I didn’t expect, did things I wouldn’t have thought people did, and yet stayed seemingly authentic the whole time, because they were consistent.

In the end, I went from feeling very meh about the movie to thoroughly enjoying it. A strong three stars from me, and considering that the film started at about a borderline two stars, that should give you an idea of how strong of an ending this movie has. I’ve said before that I much prefer a film that starts weak and ends strong than the reverse, and this movie is a great example of that. Give it time, if you watch it. Denisa and I both agreed it was worth the wait.

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