I was in a dilemma as to whether to use this one for Netflix A-Z W selection. Fact is, Netflix calls it The Wedding Guest and everywhere else calls it Barefoot. BUT, I really wanted to write about it and in a way, it was my selection so I’m sticking with the original plan! Scott Speedman brings back so many awesome memories and I haven’t seen him in anything in forever so I’m excited! 🙂
Lets check it out! 🙂
The Wedding Guest (2014)
Director: Andrew Fleming
Cast: Scott Speedman, Evan Rachel Woods, J.K. Simmons, Treat Williams, Kate Burton, David Jensen
The “black sheep” son of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient who’s been raised in isolation her entire life. He then takes the naive young woman home for his brother’s wedding.-IMDB
At this point of writing this review, I think its suffice to say that I’m in absolutely love with this movie. Currently, I’ve seen it in parts and fully for more than five times. Also, if you were to see this or give it a chance, don’t watch the trailer. If this movie doesn’t draw audience to it, its because of the trailer.
I have no idea why its ragged on in Rotten Tomatoes, well, probably because apparently its similar to some German movie called Barfuss that I haven’t seen or heard about before, so I have no comparison. It drives me crazy to see such a low rating like 14% and then I ask these lovely people (because I respect their opinion as well), what is the worst movie you have seen? Its more out of curiosity like its all out of comparison although this one is charming as heck if you like this sort of romantic drama/comedy. Anyways, mini rant over!
Apparently these little indie flicks catch me a lot. Maybe its because I just find it incredibly adorable and fun and a little dark all at the same time. The pacing, the characters and the story are all so endearing and personal. Its like a movie that is carefully split into 4 different parts from introducing our two main characters to the “wedding guest” portion and then to a road trip/escape story and in that process learning more about our two characters and the evolution of their relationship and what makes them actually so different and so perfect for each other at the same time.
Continuing on the tangent of the rant and the emphasis on the characters and their relationship, The Wedding Guest is successful because of its charming main characters. Its also why I don’t think the emphasis of its similarities to another movie’s story makes that much of a difference in the whole spectrum of things. I fully believe that romance is based on chemistry and when you strip it all apart, romance stories are similar and relatively predictable but rather to add charm to it is what makes it rise above the others. With that said, The Wedding Guest does a fantastic job at this. Playing the black sheep of a wealthy family called Jay is Scott Speedman, I like him quite a bit and this makes me want to rewatch the TV series Felicity. Its been so long since I’ve seen him in anything. I believe the last movie was Underworld. Before we talk further about his character, I think we need to look at the female lead.
Opposite of him is the mental patient that follows him called Daisy, played by Evan Rachel Woods who I know from Across the Universe. Daisy is the star of the show here because she is adorable and naive because this is the first time she is physically connecting with the outside world because she grew up locked up because of her mother. As her story unravels and we learn a little more from her opening up to Jay, we also understand why she ends up at the mental hospital and why no one quite understands her but her character has a huge room for growth and development and her emotions are exceptionally raw and fragile that its easy to connect with her and because of that connect with Jay.
While we can argue that Jay is portrayed as a rather selfish and unlikable guy, he also grows because he sees the world differently because of Daisy. Daisy trusts and relies on him and believes in him. Although it is because she doesn’t quite understand the world around him but at the same time, her intentions are simple and straightforward and absolutely genuine that it wakes up something in him and their connection strengthens unexpectedly but beautifully in the most bittersweet way. For once, Jay is accountable for the choices he makes and it seems to be what it needs to make him conscience about making the right choices even if he doesn’t want to face the problems he wants to avoid. And his life was a mess and one of the reasons why he decided to go home in the first place.
Although the first half of the movie hints towards just building these characters and giving us time to connect to them, its what makes one scene in the middle so powerful and everything that follows fall into place. Sure, there are little plot holes about the reality of the situation but a movie is still a movie and the feeling The Wedding Guest manages to deliver is still lighthearted, cute but yet so worrying when you know the characters probably will have to separate from each other just because of each of their troubles being an escaped mental patient and a wanted man for violating probation. We also are reminded of this because another acting powerhouse, J.K. Simmons is here acting as the psychiatrist trying to get Jay to bring back Daisy. Yet, in all this, The Wedding Guest still manages to keep it happy and funny here and there and hold some meaning to the relationship being built here.
Overall, The Wedding Guest was a pleasant surprise and one that I love so much. Its as indie as they get but the cast delivers a fantastic performance portraying their characters. The cast is great with Evan Rachel Woods shining above everyone as she captures the naive Daisy. Its great to see Scott Speedman and just to show how much potential this movie has, J.K. Simmons is in here and I have never seen him in a bad movie to date. There’s something special here wrapped in funny and awkward moments even if the story seems like its been used before, it doesn’t stop the fact that the patience in building these characters and their connection is rewarding in the end.
Have you seen The Wedding Guest (aka Barefoot)?