Review: Simple Wedding (LA Film Festival)

Title: Simple Wedding
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Sara Zandieh
Starring: Tara Grammy, Christopher O’Shea, Shohreh Aghdashloo,
Runtime: 1 hr 28 mins
What It Is: Nousha can’t seem to find a relationship she wants to keep, so she keeps ruining them. Her parents hold out hope she will marry a nice Muslim boy while Nousha just wants to become an independent Muslim woman until she meets Alex Talbout. Alex seems everything counter to what Nousha’s been told to want; bisexual, artist, non-toxic masculinity, yet they seem to fit so well they find themselves bound for marriage mere months after meeting.

What We Think: An alternate love story for an evolving world. Alex (Christopher O’Shea) is refreshing as a non-toxic male, openly bisexual, and challenging to the sheltered life Nousha (Tara Grammy) has lived in. A rom-con that focuses on the female’s hesitation of giving up her lifestyle, and her questioning the changes commitment will make to her identity is refreshing and wholly unexpected. We are so engrained to accept the prince on a white horse that it seems almost jarring to experience it as a princess not looking to be saved, yet Sara Zandieh did it well. The film allows us to experience Nousha’s strong Muslim heritage as one would any traditional family, much in the way Rita Wilson’s formerly funded film My Big Fat Greek Wedding did. The movies do have similarities but the most glaring difference may be in lead male Alex’s relationship with Nousha being more on her terms, versus saving her.

Our Grade: B-, I can not commend Director Sara Zandieh enough for pushing the expectations of romantic comedies. Her characters encompass different aspects of acceptance effortlessly, making the romance front and center. I just felt the film had more to say, it seemed short and may be forced at the end when I was holding out for a bigger finale. I wanted more of Alex and Nousha’s burgeoning romance and more interaction with her family. Like the simplicity of the title that seems to beg for an A to preface it, I guess I just wanted more. Here’s hoping Zandieh has more original ideas to share with a film industry that would benefit from it.

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