Getting Hitched: Lesbian Weddings in Film and TV

A Family Affair (2003)

It’s a shame A Family
isn’t better known — or a better film — because it’s nothing more or less than
a happily ever after, two women in love, lesbian wedding flick.

It’s the story of Rachel
Rosen (Helen Resnick, who also directed and wrote the film), a Jewish freelance
writer living in New York City.
After being dumped by her longtime lover Reggie (Michele Greene, who as L.A. Law‘s bi-curious Abby Perkins was
part of network television’s first on-screen lesbian kiss), she flees to her
parents’ home in San Diego, where the California lifestyle first repels and
then fascinates her.

After a lot of very bad
first dates and fix-ups by well-meaning gay male friends, Rachel agrees to meet
Christine (Erica Shaffer), a friend of her PFLAG-member mother. Surprised at falling
in love with the blond native Californian, Rachel is even more shocked when the
two decide to get married. "When I first told my mom I was gay," she
laments to a friend, "I told her one of the advantages was that at least
she wouldn’t have to pay for an expensive wedding."

Old flame Reggie arrives
to throw a wrench in the wedding plans, even showing up all in black at the
ceremony and hitting on the rabbi. But true love triumphs in the end, and Rachel
and Christine (who has converted to Judaism) smash the wine glass and tie the
knot in the finest romantic tradition.

"I know no one takes
gay marriage seriously," Rachel says when a friend asks why she is
hesitating to marry Christine, "but gay marriage is still like a real

And that’s probably what
makes A Family Affair work more than
it fails, despite the less-than-stellar acting and frequently awkward writing.
It has everything, framed throughout the film with that most heterosexual of
traditions, the wedding, presented without apology or qualification as
belonging to everyone equally, with joy.


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