Seldom is there a movie that effects you in a profound way that you still think of it months after you’ve seen it.
“Bridegroom” is one of those rare films that I can’t get off my mind. I am also still emotionally numb from the story and yet here I am reliving it as I write about it. I actually have now seen this movie three times. Most recently, I was invited to the red carpet LA premiere. I met with the creators in the hopes of helping to get a screening in San Francisco...that's still possible perhaps. But until that happens, it does screen this Sunday on the OWN network and then comes out on DVD Nov. 19.
While I still think the movie needs a lot of fanfare and to screen at a big theatre surrounded by love and support, let’s start by increasing its audience by watching it on Oprah’s network Oct. 27 at 10pm (9pm Central).
The title makes you think Rachel McAdams might find the love of her life in a story written by Nicholas Sparks. But “Bridegroom” is not a narrative feature and the drama, heartbreak and intolerance demonstrated in this love story is real.
The movie makes you think it’s about a fairy tale wedding. While it touches on gay marriage – or lack of – has really nothing to do with marriage. The title is the last name of one of the subjects – Thomas Bridegroom. Bridegroom graduated from military school in Indiana, went on to Vassar, met the president and his model good looks and love for entertainment seem it would have put him on the fast track to movie stardom, should he have wanted to go down that path. But Bridegroom’s interest in getting out of Indiana was more personal – he just wanted to be free to be who he is – a gay man. This freedom was completely curtailed in his unaccepting family that would rather disown him than embrace who he is.
In Los Angeles, he met another escapee from the Midwest, Shane Bitney Crone, who came from Montana in order to get involved in entertainment but more importantly, be out and proud.
No one could have written a better gay love story than the true real love of Thomas and Shane. They had the most glorious life together. Everyone they knew found them to be the ideal couple. They also lived a life of riches – rich in love and rich in travel. They blogged about a lot of exciting places to visit but in order to make this happen, they lived a frugal lifestyle. Even in their travels, they would stay at modest accommodations or even just couch surf.
Like any beautiful love story, tragedy does intervene. One of our lovers has a horrific accident and we all get a slap in the face that his partner cannot visit him in the hospital because he is not “family.” Their tale takes a dramatic nose dive from a world of perfect love, to one in which your partner is treated as a mere acquaintance, not being able to stand by your side, make any decisions in your life or even see you in the hospital. A world where even sympathetic medical staff are not legally permitted to allow you access when all you want to do is be there for the one you love. It’s a world where a bigoted gay hating family can turn their back on you as they make all of your partner’s decisions, sometimes almost in spite of you and leaving you in the cold nonetheless.
I cannot go on more about this story without either crying or ruining it for you. This movie has enraptured every emotion I have and makes me love, applaud and admire Linda Bloodworth Thomason, who directed, produced and wrote this film. She, and her husband Harry (who is also one of the producers) are the creative team behind one of my favorite TV series of all time, “Designing Women.” Who would have thought that someone could be a great success in two mediums? Bloodworth Thomason is sensitive to her topic and reaches us on a level few movies can.
Please don’t read a lot about the story of Thomas and Shane until you see the movie. Since it’s about real people, it’s easy to find out what happens with them. I encourage you to see this movie and then read everything you can about their story. Then take it a step further and do what you can to ensure that gay rights and marriage are always protected whatever state you’re in, including your state of mind.
When it comes down to it, it’s not gay…it’s not straight…it’s equal. No one should be told they cannot see their “family” because legally they have no right. This is still PRESENTLY the law in many states. But it’s definitely not part of humanity.
Besides hoping to have it shown in San Francisco and running Sunday on OWN, “Bridegroom” is still showing at three Lammle Theatres in LA on Saturdays and Sundays. Get info at www.laemmle.com.
AFTER you’ve seen it, learn more at www.bridegroommovie.com and get involved in some of the many civil and gay right causes on the site. We all deserve the same love.