Our Family Wedding Movie Review

Almost every girl dreams of her wedding, about the white dress, the bridesmaids, the cake. It’s one of the most exciting events in a girl’s life. But what happens when a girl wants to marry outside of her culture and her family is adamant in sticking to traditions? Our Family Wedding, starring Forest Whitaker and America Ferrera, delves into the heart of this topic. Lucia (America Ferrera), a young Mexican-American woman, drops out of law school to marry Marcus, a young African-American man, to move to the country of Laos and work as a volunteer teacher. The only problem is her Mexican parents have no idea of her plans.

Cultural tradition is the major theme of Our Family Wedding. The title reflect this theme since it turns out not to be Lucia and Marcus’ wedding, but rather their families’ wedding as the parents keep making more and more decisions for them in an effort to keep cultural and personal beliefs alive. This strong desire to keep tradition is mostly evident in Lucia’s family who insists on having a Mexican wedding. So much that they bring a goat for a “birria, ” a typical Mexican barbeque where a goat is killed and roasted over a fire. The goat breaks loose, running amuck causing terrible damage to the wedding preparations.

The movie touches on various difficulties many bi-racial couples face. When Lucia introduces Marcus to her parents for the first time, they’re surprised to see he’s African-American. Their astonished faces, however, are nothing compared to Lucia’s grandmother’s reaction as she faints when she sees Marcus for the first time. Another important theme the film addresses is religion. Like almost every Mexican-American family, Lucia’s family is Catholic. However, Marcus’ family has not real religious affiliation., to which Lucia’s grandmother replies, “Es un pagano.” Lucia’s family insists on having a Catholic priest marry the couple and, finally she concedes.

Most importantly, however, the audience is able to see the struggle within Lucia to stay true to herself despite her parent’s expectations and feeling of responsibility to her culture as a Latina. America Ferrera’s performance is superb in this heartwarming comedy. As always she delivers a touching interpretation of a Latina “entre la espada y la pared.” One of the surprises in the film is that comedian Carlos Mencia takes on the role of Lucia’s father showing a different side to his usual unrefined, crude manner. He unexpectedly plays the part of a concerned and loving father well.

Our Family Wedding lets us see cultural barriers in a different light and eventually has the audience laughing at how unnecessarily serious tradition can be. It is a heartfelt romantic comedy which teaches us that honesty to family and oneself must prevail beyond any cultural ties.

By Helen Rodriguez

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