Rami (Sam Abbas) is engaged to be married to Sara (Nikohl Boosheri) starting the early stages of their wedding plans. All the while, he shares a secret love affair with another man, unbeknownst to his traditional Muslim family.
At times, The Wedding shows glimmers of hope as an understated forbidden romance, but it just falls pale to its own film influences. The film showcases a Blue Valentine poster in the bedroom of Rami and Sara. It’s clear the film is an influence for The Wedding but has a hard time living up to its predecessor.
“Rami is engaged to be married to Sara…all the while, he shares a secret love affair with another man…”
Watching the deteriorating relationship of the two newlyweds, it’s hard to root for its success even before the introduction of Lee (Harry Aspinwall), Rami’s secret lover. Sure, they seem to be in love and express early signs of on-screen chemistry, but as the film progresses, like their engagement, things begin to fizzle. By the fifteen minute mark, you already believe they’ve lost all love for each other. Rami and Lee share a few notable, small moments together that provide the much-needed passion that’s missing throughout. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between. More often than not, this issue is exponential as the two deliver a large portion of the film’s dialogue through text messages. With a deft hand, this device can serve as a refreshing break from more extended dialogue and potentially add needed commentary. That’s just not the case here.
As Rami, Sam Abbas effectively pulls off the closeted lackadaisical fiancé with a volatile heart, but he never really gets the character off the ground to the true profundity the script requires. Lee (Harry Aspinwall) should have been a more integral part of the story, but his screen time was limited primarily to scenes of passion and he barely gets to utter a word between kisses.
“…Boosheri is the film’s standout performance of a woman watching her illusion of a relationship falls through her fingertips.”
A major reason for Rami’s closeted affair with Lee is the eventual misunderstanding that would come from his traditional Muslim family. Most of this is gained from context, however. Besides a few momentary texts from his mother, the film doesn’t give into the direness of his family discovering his secret.
Nikohl Boosheri is the film’s standout performance of a woman watching her illusion of a relationship falls through her fingertips. Her quiet-turned-explosive moments bring the much-needed life into The Wedding.
This could’ve, more should’ve, been a darling of a film in a climate willingly to welcome it with open arms. But, this dreamlike love story, plays out more like a forgettable daydream.
The Wedding (2018) Directed by Sam Abbas. Written by Sam Abbas Starring Sam Abbas, Nikohl Boosheri, Harry Aspinwall.
6 out of 10