Father of the Bride.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Movie Monday.

I couldn’t be more excited for this week because I am finally moving onwards and upwards after two very long, stressful weeks.

The past two weeks were extremely stressful and every evening, I was watching comfort movies – movies that always make me feel better no matter what.

I also asked on my stories (@katelovesliterature), for people to let me know what movies they consider to be classic movies.

A movie that I consider to be a classic is Father of the Bride.

The movie was released in 1991 and directed by Charles Shyer.

I watched this movie when I was feeling very low and it made me laugh and it actually made me cry – in a good way.

So let’s dive into #moviemonday.

Plot.

The plot of this movie is very simple. An overprotective father, George Banks, played by the incredible Steve Martin, must learn to adjust to the fact that his daughter Annie is no longer a little girl. She is a woman, a woman who is about to get married.

The movie follows the Banks family as they prepare for Annie’s wedding to Bryan. They meet the in-laws, they hire a wedding planner, and everyone is very excited – except George.

It is a very straightforward plot but that does make the movie any less funny or any less touching.

Characters.

Our main character is George Banks.

The movie is narrated by George Banks and in his opening statement, he sums up his character perfectly. George Banks is a concerned parent. He likes seatbelts, curfews, bedtimes, he likes his children to call him when they get somewhere so that he knows they got to their destination safely. He is very loving, but very overprotective.

I am going to talk about this loving, overprotective father character in more detail when I am discussing the movie’s main theme because when it comes to overprotective fathers in movies, I feel that there is a fine line between endearing and controlling and this is a line that George Banks never crosses – this is something that I appreciate, and as I said, I will expand on this in themes.

Nina Banks is George’s wife. She is the mother of the bride and she could not be more excited for her daughter, and she also could not be more exasperated by her husband’s antics. Nina is a lovely character. She is warm, and kind. She is rational. She is the perfect counter-point to George because her calm, collected attitude works perfectly to balance out the uptight, and prone to overreact George. Nina is aware that Annie is no longer a little girl, she is proud of her daughter and excited for her as she enters this new chapter in her life. Diane Keaton plays Nina, and in my humble opinion, I think she plays her wonderfully as Nina Banks has always been one of my favourite movie characters.

Annie Banks is the daughter of George and Nina, and while George is our main character and it is his story we are following, the plot and the plot’s themes could not happen without Annie. Annie returning from studying abroad and announcing that she is engaged is what sets our plot in motion. Annie is by all accounts the perfect daughter. She is kind, she is caring, she is a warm big sister. She dreams of being an architect which tells us that she is artistic and she loves basketball. Annie is not an obnoxiously perfect character and she is not a boring one either but as I said, the story we are watching is George’s, he is the father of the bride so therefore Annie is set up as a girl who has grown up into a lovely adult, and she is not making some rash decision. Is it quick? Yes, but Annie has been set up as an intelligent character with a good head on her shoulders and she is not someone who does reckless things. She is in love and she is getting married and now she must navigate this new chapter of her life with her father, who is desperate to cling on to the last chapter. Annie is also very career driven, and she ensures that Bryan is supportive of her career before she agrees to marry him.

Bryan MacKenzie is Annie’s husband-to-be. He is kind, caring, intelligent, and honest. He loves Annie more than anything. He admires and supports Annie’s passion and talent for architecture. He seems like the perfect son-in-law however unfortunately for him, no one is good enough for George Banks’ little girl.

Frank the wedding coordinator is fabulous. Martin Short provides even more wonderful comic relief to this already funny story. His outlandish (and expensive) wedding design ideas clashing against George’s reluctance to wedding plan at every turn makes for some very entertaining scenes.

So with our main characters set up, let’s dive into themes.

Themes.

I think it goes without saying that the movie’s prominent theme is the father/daughter relationship and that is the theme that I am going to be discussing. This entire movie revolves around the fact that George must accept that Annie has grown up. He has to let go even though he does not want to.

George loves his children more than anything. He is a wholesome, hands on father. Nothing makes him happier than when he is with his family, his wife, his daughter, and his son. He only wants the best for his children, he wants them to be safe and happy.

George believes in spending quality time with his children – we see this as we can see how he has played basketball in the backyard with Annie since she was a toddler.

I mentioned earlier that something that I really appreciate about Father of the Bride is that the movie does not cross the line from endearing to controlling and this is very important.

I sometimes think that movies that depict the father/daughter relationship struggle with this line. Many movies depict controlling fathers that stifle their daughters and disrespect their right to privacy and trust, all in the name of being an ‘overprotective father who simply loves his daughter so much.’

George is not one of those fathers. He is not controlling. He does not disrespect Annie. He does not belittle her. He is proud of her, he is proud of the person she is, he is proud of her academic achievements, he is proud of her dreams, and he roots for her to reach them. He does not disrespect her privacy. At no point is George Banks a controlling father – he is a worried father. He is a father who struggles to accept the fact that his little girl is getting married and moving out. He does not want it to happen – not because he does not want her to live her life, but because he is going to miss her. Annie embarking on this new chapter means that there will be many changes in the Banks house.

George will no longer see her every single day, she will not be at the dinner table for breakfast and dinner every single day. Her room will be emptier as she has taken some of her things to her new place. She will not live there anymore, she will be living somewhere else, with her husband. George knows Bryan is a good man, he knows Annie will be very happy, he wants that for her. He is just simply not ready to lose her. The time went too fast.

Does he overreact at the news? Yes. Does he argue with Frank’s outlandish wedding ideas? Yes. Does he glare at his perfectly nice son-in-law? Yes. He does all of these things, but they are funny, and they are endearing, and as an only child, I can confirm that they are accurate. George Banks is an endearing, doting father and there is no point in the movie where he crosses into controlling territory and this is something that I really appreciate because in my opinion, it allows audiences to relate to, sympathise with, and laugh at George Banks and his antics and at no point are we having to excuse controlling behaviour in order to enjoy the plot.

The key scene in this movie, in my opinion, is the scene where Annie declares that the wedding is off after an argument with Bryan. George should be delighted. We think he should be happy after all he has been hoping that Annie saying she is engaged was just a dream. There will be no spoilers here – go and watch the movie, but I will say that George’s reaction to this fight, and his following scenes with Annie, and Bryan, are perhaps the three most touching scenes in the movie.

Despite all his tie-opening, and eye-rolling at Frank, despite him wishing that his little girl was still ten, in this scene, he does not rejoice, he does not make sarcastic quips, he does not declare that he never liked Bryan anyways. In this scene, he is a caring, comforting father and despite all of his comedic overreactions up until this point – here he is a calm, reassuring, voice of reason and I really love this scene. No matter how old we get, our fathers will always be our fathers. It does not matter that Annie is getting married, she will always adore her father, she will always need him, and I think that it is in this scene that George realises that while yes things will change and he will have to adjust, he will never truly lose Annie.

I have loved Father of the Bride since I was young. My Mam showed it to me for the first time when I was maybe ten. It was always just a funny movie that we watched together because we both love Steve Martin. I watched this movie for the first time in a while recently, and while I still laughed, for the first time I cried. I feel as though I now understand this movie on a much deeper level, and I found the touching moments so much more touching. I said it before and I will say it again, the father/daughter relationship can be a very complex one, which is why I think it is a theme in so many movies and I feel that Father of the Bride presents this relationship and this theme of struggling with letting your child grow up and accepting their new chapters in life very realistically. I feel that this movie presents this theme in a healthy, funny, and very touching way and it was very enjoyable to watch.

Structure.

Father of the Bride is a fast paced movie. It is not a long movie, perfect for when you want something lighthearted and fun, but it still has its touching moments.

As I said, George narrates this movie so there are a few montages that are narrated by George’s voiceover – we watch the events while George complains about them which makes for a very funny contrast.

I have spoken a lot about how I think that a movie’s structure can often match the movie’s plot and I think that this can be said for Father of the Bride. The movie is fast paced because the characters are planning for a wedding that is only a few months away. The characters are busy and excited, so therefore the pacing is busy and excited but it never feels rushed and George’s exasperated, steady narration keeps audiences in the loop. In my opinion, it is very straightforward, but very effective storytelling.

There are a few montages as I said, and they show the passage of time but also George’s thoughts. There is one particularly moving instance where George is reflecting on Annie’s childhood and we see her playing basketball with him through the years – another touch that I enjoyed is the fact that Annie is nearly always in red. As a toddler she has a red bow, as a young child a red hoodie, as a teen in braces a red bobbin, and now as an adult she is wearing a beautiful red jacket. I love little details like that and if you are a movie fan like me then it is things like this that you will appreciate.

Final Thoughts.

My final thoughts are that I am so happy that I watched this movie again. I enjoyed it so much, I laughed, I cried and I feel that now I relate to, and appreciate this movie in a new, and deeper way.

I would highly recommend it.

Have you seen Father of the Bride? What do you think? Let me know.

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you all enjoyed it. Here’s to a new week.

Kate xo.

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