Always a Bridesmaid

Director: Nina Davenport

Award-winning documentary filmmaker and Harvard graduate, Nina Davenport analyzes her relationship with a younger, noncommittal boyfriend and her obsession with matrimony during the year she turns thirty. While working as a wedding videographer, Davenport decides to investigate the source of her income and allay her fears of spinsterhood by interviewing brides, elderly spinsters, ex-lovers, friends and family regarding their views on marriage, life and love. The viewer is intrigued by the premise and stays tuned but the charm and wit of the first part of the film, grows old quickly as one realizes that instead of taking an earnest look at matrimony to educate viewers, Davenport makes herself the star of the documentary and reminds one why women get bad names. She complains and complains-- narcissistically nagging friends and her immature but well-meaning boyfriend Nick and soon enough her tirades, along with the tedious and pretentious opinions of her circle of offbeat, intellectual and artistic friends make you roll your eyes. The potential for the film was enormous and she could have taken a look at the history of marriage, decisions of women and issues of feminism but instead becomes as annoying as a child whining at Baskin Robbins for being denied all thirty-one flavors of ice cream of wedded bliss before she turns thirty-one. Davenport is an intelligent woman—instead of falling into the marriage trap and constantly asking where her otherwise healthy relationship was going, perhaps she should have taken the time to just enjoy the relationship for what it was. Reminds me of the people you see on expensive vacations filming everything in sight to remember it later without actually experiencing something by keeping it at arm’s length—for once, I’d like to scream, “unless you have something to really say, put down the camera, open your eyes, breathe, live and enjoy!” If Davenport’s journey to marriage is typical of bright women, then the 21st century is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century, with women secondary to men, only wanting flowers, vows and dresses because it is tradition. Women who don’t participate shouldn’t fall prey to feeling inferior. Marriage, after all is a commitment, not a club with signs attached to it reading, “No Singles Allowed”—women shouldn’t exclude others for not belonging just because their ring finger is vacant. We’re all in it together… like Pat Benatar once sang, “love is a battlefield” and for some, maybe it’s a bit unoriginal and tedious to go through it wearing the same ring everyday… or not being able to decide for yourself which flavor of ice cream society will let you enjoy in peace.