Review: “112 Weddings” is a funny and moving Hot Docs entry

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My friend and colleague Chris Gallant, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Communication at Hilbert College in Hamburg, reviewed the Hot Docs entry “112 Weddings,” and I am honored to share his thoughts.

Admittedly, watching a documentary film based on wedding videos wasn’t exactly at the top of my bucket list, but as “112 Weddings” director Doug Block states, “it’s hard to resist getting swept up in it all.” That is true of Block’s film, in which he revisits the lives of former wedding video clients sees where there marriages have gone.

Statistically, 50 percent of marriages won’t last and this is reflected in the various stories in this film, though years later most of the marriages covered in this film are still intact. As any married couple knows, however, there are numerous issues for these couples to deal with. As a married person and a father of one I’m already well acquainted with the realities of married life, but I think the film would be a good primer for any newly engaged couple.

It is no exaggeration to say I literally laughed and cried. One couple tells the story of how they struggled through and survived their child’s cancer diagnosis. Alternately in the film there is a couple that is “delighted” the way their marriage and children have turned out. Such is life, and “112 Weddings” gives us a hefty slice of that experience. Block is always a filmmaker, even while disguising himself as a wedding videographer.

An insightful Rabbi’s commentary is interjected at points in the film. He states, “Happy weddings are a dime a dozen — happy marriages are much more rare and therefore much more precious in the world.” That truth is plainly evident during the film. While a majority of the film’s couples remain married, the audience is often left questioning why, exactly, they remain together. Of course this film isn’t a complete story, instead serving as just a sample of the journey of marriage. Who knows where the marriages will go from here? Even though “112 Weddings” shows all the imperfections of the institution, the film doesn’t reduce marriage. Rather, it and all its mysteries are revealed to be worthy of our consideration.