Hollywood Movies: Affirming that Friendship or Platonic Love is Just As Good As Marriage
Certainly Hollywood – like Christianity – has been guilty for years of promoting marriage as being better than singleness, in that they often teach you are nothing and nobody until someone else loves you (romantically), and that you need someone else to “complete” you (and again, it has to be a romantic partner).
However, I’ve seen Hollywood knock out a handful of movies in the last decade that affirm singleness and friendship above marriage.
I mentioned one such movie in (Link): this post.
In the past two weeks, I’ve seen two movies on cable television that affirm friendship as being, just as important, if not more so, than marriage.
One of the movies was first released to theaters in 2015, the other in 2009. Both movies emphasize that marriage may not make your life better or happier.
The Wedding Ringer
In one movie, The Wedding Ringer (IMDB link), the groom, a brunette guy in glasses, proposes to his blond girlfriend. He states a few times in the movie that she is the first or only very pretty woman to give him the time of day.
Her beauty is the only reason he’s marrying her – he doesn’t even seem to enjoy her company all that much.
(There’s another good lesson in there for men in real life, many of whom do elevate a woman’s looks above her intellect, personality, character and so on, and they do so at the expense of a healthy relationship.
Just because someone is good looking, whether male or female, does not mean he or she is a good, smart, fun, trustworthy, or an interesting person. Good looks alone are not going to sustain a relationship.)
As the movie unfolds, we learn – and the groom overhears on his wedding day – that she is only marrying him because she was “tired of dating assholes, he’s a nice guy, and he can support a family.”
We learned earlier in the movie that the blonde is eager to start having children, and this guy, while she’s not truly in love with him, would make a good, stable provider.
Another key aspect of this movie is that the groom grew up socially awkward, shy, and he didn’t have many friends because his parent’s job kept the family moving constantly.
The shyness combined with the frequent moving left him friendless.
So, he hires a guy played by Kevin Hart to be his best man at his wedding because he didn’t have any friends to perform this function.
By the time we get towards the end of the movie, and the groom overhears the blonde bride admitting she’s only marrying the shy guy for his stability, the groom realizes she’s not really in love with him, and he calls the wedding off in front of all their guests.
He also realizes that he enjoyed life much more when he was just hanging out with the Kevin Hart character – he and Hart become friends during the movie. They end up being pals, and there’s a scene of them on a plane heading on a vacation somewhere with the other men who were hired to be groom’s men for the wedding – these guys are now all friends with each other.
Message of this movie: friendship can be more rewarding and emotionally fulfilling than marriage, and some people only marry because they feel they “have” to, or they’re looking for Mr. Stability to help them have children and raise them.
And the movie’s message is, if you’re not really compatible with your fiancee (or fiance’) and not truly in love with her or him, you are better off staying single and having platonic friends.
You can read more about that Wedding Ringer movie on IMDB.
I did not care for all the humor in The Wedding Ringer, because some of it was quite tawdry (including a scene where the guests smear peanut butter on the groom to be’s penis and have a dog lick off the peanut butter – not that this is actually shown, in that the camera stays on the man’s face and does not go below his crotch), but I do appreciate the main plot that marriage is not for everyone, or it’s not guaranteed to make a person happy.
Another movie that focuses more on friendship than marriage is called Bride Wars, which was released in 2009.
View Bride Wars IMDB page here.
In this film, we have a blonde and brunette who have been friends with each other since girlhood. The blonde is played by Kate Hudson and the brunette is played by Anne Hathaway.
The Hudson and Hathaway characters both end up having to schedule their respective weddings on the same day, across the hall from each other in the same location.
These two end up getting angry at each other during the movie – because they’re competing for the same florists, music d.j.’s, photographers and so on.
The brunette (Hathaway) calls off her wedding before the altar, on the day of the wedding. She realizes that her fiance’ (played by Chris Pratt) is not for her.
The Pratt and Hathaway characters start their disagreement in their wedding hall, and Hathaway runs across the room to where her blonde friend, played by Hudson, is being married, where the fight escalates, and the she tells Pratt’s character they are over – the brunette breaks up with her fiance’.
You can watch that break up scene (Link): here on You Tube if you like.
The blonde and brunette end up hugging things out, and apologizing to each other.
They become friends again, and the blonde goes on to finish her ceremony and marry her fiancee.’
The movie ends with a narrator talking over photos of the blonde and brunette at the blonde’s wedding and ends on a photo of them as little girls, and the narrator says sometimes the person you can count on most in life is not a spouse (though it can be), but can be a friend.
Love and companionship does not come exclusively from (sexual or romantic) love, romance, or spouses – it can come from friends and friendship. A few Hollywood movies deliver this message, and it’s too bad that Christianity has not caught on to this.
More and more adults in the United States are staying single, and so the conservative Christian fixation on marriage – with all the marriage sermons and marriage books – is not relevant to many in the culture these days.
You can watch the end scene from Brides Wars (Link): here where friendship is alluded to as being just as strong a bond as marriage.