In a Variety Exclusive it was announced that IFC has acquired the rights to Jenny’s Wedding, an indie dramedy (which is apparently a word we’re going forward with) starring Katherine Heigl, Alexis Bledel, Linda Emond, and Tom Wilkinson. The film was written, directed, and produced by Mary Agnes Donoghue, who has a number of writing credits to her name (most notably Beaches), but only a single other director’s credit (Paradise, from 1991). This film will tell the story of the Jenny Farrell who, while being openly gay, has kept her sexual orientation from her parents (Wilkinson and Emond). When she reveals that she wants to start a family with her longtime “roommate” Kitty (Alexis Bledel), everyone is forced to come to terms with things. The film is now set for a July 31st release date in the United States.
This film appears to be a departure for Heigl, whose most recent films deal with more rote and allegedly comedic subject matters. Should this film respect the material appropriately, then I think it could be a quiet surprise at the tail-end of the summer movie season. We will get a little bit of a heads-up in that regard, as Jenny’s Wedding will premiere at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival on July 10th. That is certainly an appropriate audience for judging the candor and tone of the film, so I expect its reception at this festival to be quite informative in that regards. Personally, I am hoping for a story which does its best to leave the standard rom-com tropes by the wayside, and instead makes an effort to navigate through a nuanced situation with some real heart. That may be expecting too much, but I am encouraged by writer/director/producer Mary Agnes Donoghue’s complete control of the project. This should end up being almost entirely her vision, and that could bode well.
Also encouraging is the talent in front of the camera. While Heigl has struggled of late to produce memorable performances, she certainly has the ability to make an audience empathize with her character, though generally that has been on the small screen. Ditto with Alexis Bledel, who has never really ascended beyond her role as Rory Gilmore, but could do so with this performance. But, the performances I am most excited to see are definitely from Jenny’s parents: Tom Wilkinson and Linda Emond. Very soon I plan on reviewing the stunning In the Bedroom, in which Wilkinson is absolutely fantastic. He is always welcome and enhances everything I have ever seen him in. Emond is less known to me (I refuse to see the Americanized Oldboy), and seems to be more of a TV and Broadway veteran than a film star, but there’s nothing wrong with that at all. The strength of this film is going to be directly dependent on the writing of Donoghue and the chemistry between these actors, and although I just heard of Jenny’s Wedding this morning, I am interested in seeing what it has to offer.
Image courtesy of Outfest