A New York Christmas Wedding
Holiday/Drama/Romance, 1 hr 28 min
Synopsis: As her Christmas Eve wedding draws near, Jennifer is visited by an angel and shown what could have been if she hadn’t denied her true feelings for her childhood best friend.
encourages love to be embraced, no matter how it comes, and to ‘love deeply, trust your heart, and be brave’
A New York Christmas Wedding. Where to start with this film? Much like the context of the film itself, one could view it from a different standpoint or timeline, or through various characters’ eyes, and find differing conclusions. I found the story to be engaging and multi-faceted, yet simultaneously a little confusing for both heart and mind.
Written and directed by Otoja Abit, A New York Christmas Wedding is certainly a valiant effort for his first feature film as a director. The story follows Jennifer’s journey through love and loss, in which a rift between her and her first love dramatically changed the path she found herself on. With her wedding to her present-day fiancé, David, drawing ever closer, Jennifer unknowingly meets her guardian angel, Azrael. He soon sends her to an alternate world in which she is about to wed her childhood love and former best friend, Gabby. Thus, we are sent down a rabbit-hole of “what could have been”, had certain decisions made in earlier years been different.
On the surface of it all, you could say that this is a pleasant Holiday-themed love story with black and Latino leads, in which a “true” first love is given a second chance, and where pivotal family members, a priest, and a church congregation recognize and celebrate same-sex marriage. For those reasons alone, the film is humbling, worth shouting about, and worth watching. However, I felt a conflict in emotions and a satisfaction by the end of it all. I felt that the story was a little too ambitious, wayward, or possibly controversial at times. Having the main character being torn between a seemingly loving heterosexual relationship and a similarly loving lesbian one, whilst not unheard of, can be a slippery slope. When you hear someone declare love for one fiancé and then turn around and wed another fiancé—even while in an alternate reality—you may inevitably feel uneasy and conflicted.
The film also touches upon the issues of controlling in-laws, systemic prejudices against homosexuality in the Church, teenage pregnancy, and being true to yourself. With so many important but hefty topics raised, I applaud Abit’s ambition, but can’t help but feel that it was perhaps too much to address in an hour and a half.
Ultimately, A New York Christmas Wedding does not quite land firmly on being a comedy, romance, drama, or even a Holiday-film. In the end, it poses more questions than answers. However, it does pose some very good questions, and the fine line it does tread is entertaining and unpredictable. Most importantly, any film that has such positive POC and LGBTQ+ representation whilst encouraging love to be embraced, no matter how it comes, and to ‘love deeply, trust your heart, and be brave’ has got to be appreciated for all its worth. May this lead to yet more great content, and ‘endless possibilities’.
A New York Christmas Wedding is now available on Netflix.
Watch the trailer
This article was written by:
Reviewer & Writer
Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.