In September 2013 Kim-Jho Gwang-soo married his long-term partner, also a man. And so, they had a gay wedding. Normally I'd just call it a wedding but "My Fair Wedding" makes an extended point, not so much of the actual romantic relationship at the center of all this as it does the political implications. And also the wedding plan. The nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana are cited as a specific inspiration. This event happened several years before I was born so it was kind of difficult to relate.
Kim-Jho Gwang-soo was born in 1965 though, so I can see why as an impressionable young gay man he would find much to admire there. I can appreciate this but...well, to be entirely honest I can't. I'm never all that sure what to make of the gay marriage issue and "My Fair Wedding" doesn't do a whole lot to place the politics in relatable terms. At best it kind of makes me question the concept of weddings in general. The one at the centerpiece here just seems so public.
This is, again, by design. Kim-Jho Gwang-soo wants a public wedding because he wants to raise awareness of gay issues on the Korean peninsula. That's all well and good. It's just, I feel kind of ambivalent about a movie trying to make me feel angry that anti-gay people exist in the world when to some extent Kim-Jho Gwang-soo invited this abuse by deliberately being so public about the wedding, with demonstrations and everything. Without the gay element he's not really a high enough profile celebrity to justify the attention.
Well, maybe that particular point could be debated, actually. One of the odder parts of "My Fair Wedding" is the sheer scale of celebrity cameos. They aren't really cameos, exactly. It's clear that Kim-Jho Gwang-soo counts all of these various film personnel as his friends, and it's also equally clear that they're being honest. Everyone is, really. I don't want to paint a picture of queer people provoking poor innocent straights, because Kim-Jho Gwang-soo is certainly entitled to whatever wedding he wants.
For me personally "My Fair Wedding" just smacks of bad timing. I've been feeling ambivalent about LGBT movements since the big rallying cry became forcing people to bake gay wedding cakes. And "My Fair Wedding" itself accidentally underscores how irrelevant this is because we never actually even get to see a cake. For all the pomp and circumstance the wedding we finally get to by the end really is just a normal wedding- which means that it's specific to the desires of Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and his partner rather than matching some abstract wedding ideal.
Perhaps that was all director Jang Hee-seon wanted to document. If so, good for her- the project was a success. Even so, I can't say I'm terribly impressed or excited by a film that for all practical intents and purposes is just a retrospective of the wedding plan for two people I don't actually know. If for whatever reason you have an interest in the personal life of Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and want to see the way he mixes that with his political activism, you might like "My Fair Wedding". Beyond that there's not really much to recommend here.
Review by William Schwartz
"Two Weddings and a Funeral" DVD giveaway
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "My Fair Wedding" + "Two Weddings and a Funeral" DVD Giveaway"
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