112 Weddings: AFIDOCS Review

20 Jun

112weddingsDougBlock

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a news photographer by trade who has filmed weddings in the past and is about to get married myself (#humblebrag) so this documentary had me hooked before the opening the music. Luckily for me, it only went uphill from there as this film delivered in every category from writing, to editing to music.

112 Weddings is part doc/ marriage guide/ social experiment brought to us by Doug Block, a documentary filmmaker who moonlights as a wedding videographer. Looking back through footage from his side jobs, Block begins to ponder the true meaning of marriage. For the past 20 years he’s captured moments of love, intimacy and joy for couples celebrating one of the most important days of their lives. But when the video is edited these newlyweds leave his life. But how have they fared over the years? Is marriage everything they dreamed it would be? Having spent two decades documenting what it’s like to get married, Block now embarks on finding out what it’s like to stay married.

The film introduces us to nine couples that Block had worked with in the past and -as you may expect- their experiences vary drastically. The film is a wonderful wave of emotion that makes you smile and cry- for all the right (and wrong) reasons. The simple questions he asks elicit profound answers from the husbands and wives who took part in his retrospective study.

But Block goes beyond revisiting old clients. Perfectly structured, the doc never gets repetitive as we are introduced to a lesbian couple who have their own wedding photography business as well. While working at a same-sex marriage ceremony, Block stops to ask them why the institution of marriage is so important to them. Then we meet a heterosexual couple who, years after celebrating their partnership ceremony, finally tie the knot due to the potential legal ramifications for their child. Of course with all this 20/20 hindsight , Block balances the film out by also following the bride and groom-to-be of his 112th wedding.

Exploring romance and commitment through so many angles, 112 Weddings is a beautifully woven story of how love matures past marriage. While it sometimes ends in pain and heartache , it also endures and is a source of strength few knew they had.

Block asks just what he needs to and never says too much as the couples on camera share intimate feelings and fears with the audience. Complimented with wonderful original music by Jon Foy, this post-cana documentary shows an honest view of one of mankind’s most sacred institutions.

Whether single, engaged, married or divorced, 112 Weddings will leave a lasting impression on what we think, hope and pray love is. Grade A

EDITOR’S NOTE: 112 Weddings will premiere on HBO on Monday, June 30 at 9pm, so set your DVRs!

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