Second Hand Wedding
As a frequent flyer on Air New Zealand (my favorite carrier to Australia/New Zealand AND from LA to London) I have the opportunity to see regional films that don’t ever make it to the US in wide distribution.
My favorite film this trip was the delightful and heartwarming Second Hand Wedding. It’s everything one would want in comedy. Laughter, tears, deep true human feeling and outstanding performances.
The film is set and filmed on the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. School principal and devoted mum, Jill Rose (Geraldine Brophy) fanatically hunts down garage sales every Saturday morning. Bargains fill her house to the brim. She is obsessive, over-bearing and extremely warm-hearted, a larger-than-life Power of Love character.
When Jill’s daughter, teacher Cheryl (Holly Shanahan), finally accepts a marriage proposal from her long-time car mechanic boyfriend Stew (Ryan O’Kane) she’s afraid to tell her mum. Cheryl has avoided marriage because she’s afraid Jill will turn her wedding into a tacky bargain basement affair. Cheryl is a Power of Ambition character, whose most intense childhood memories are the humilations she suffered at never having anything new or trendy like the popular kids. Her mum always dressed her in off-beat garage sale finds.
Cheryl does confide in her patient and accepting dad Brian (Patrick Wilson). He is a retired security guard who is a Power of Imagination tinkerer. His dream is rebuilding a Model T Ford in his garage. He dotes on Jill accomodates her mania for buying junk. He does keeps Cheryl’s secret, however.
Gracie (Vivien Bell), is a fellow teacher who missed out on the principal’s job when Jill was selected. She is a vengeful Power of Conscience charater who spitefully reveals that Cheryl is engaged. Jill is shocked to hear the news. She is further devastated when Gracie gleefully discloses that Cheryl is too embarrassed by Jill’s mania for bargains to include Jill in the wedding plans.
Jill absorbs this brutal truth with heartbreaking misery. She backs off and doesn’t interfere. Meanwhile, Cheryl and Stew sign up for a wedding reception at a fancy but pretentious wedding hall. They mistakenly think the $6000 they have paid is the full cost. They are shocked to discover the total is actually $24,000, a sum don’t have any hope of raising.
The hall manager, Daniela (Gentiane Lupi), is a deliciously nasty (Power of Will) executive who gets a fantastic come-uppance by Jill. Cherly is tearfully grateful and comes to her mum for further help. Jill saves the day and pulls off the wedding reception with her daughter’s blessing.
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: This family would make a wonderful engaging sit-com series!
Second Hand Wedding is a bon-bon and a delight. See if you can find it on Netflix. It’s well worth the watch.