A New York Christmas Wedding Parent Guide
This film tries to recreate the warm "what if" feel of "It's a Wonderful Life" but it fails due to flat acting.
Parent Movie Review
Old fights cast long shadows. Over the Christmas holidays, teenaged Jennifer Ortiz (Camilla Harden) had a blazing fight with her best friend, Gabrielle Vernaci (Natasha Goodman). Hurt and bitter, Jennifer determines to never be vulnerable again.
Twenty years later, Jennifer (now played by Nia Fairweather) is engaged to David Wilks (Otoja Abit), heir to a Fortune 500 company. When his controlling mother (Tyra Ferrell) insists on a high society Christmas Eve wedding, Jennifer bolts. With Gabby and her father both dead, she can’t bear the thought of another holiday, let alone this one, without them. As she goes for a run to clear her head, she comes across an unusual young man named Azrael who tells her she’ll wake up the next morning with endless possibilities and answers to her questions.
The next morning Jennifer wakes up in Gabby’s bed.
A New York Christmas Wedding is basically an LGBTQ variation on the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Azrael is Jennifer’s guardian angel and he has sent her to an alternate reality where her father (David Anzuelo) and Gabby (Adriana DeMeo) are both alive and she and Gabby are planning their wedding. Jennifer has the chance to re-evaluate her life and decide who she wants to be.
This film feels like a weapon that’s been fired after the war was won. With the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v Hodges decision in 2015, same sex marriage became legal across the United States. The only issue still on the table is the choice of churches to agree or refuse to perform weddings and that’s part of the plot. As Gabby insists their lifelong parish priest performs the ceremony, Father Kelly (Chris Noth) grapples with his church’s teachings, comments from Pope Francis, and his own evolving beliefs.
Whether or not you will enjoy this movie will depend to a significant extent on your beliefs about homosexuality and same sex marriage. Parents with traditional attitudes towards sex may be offended by the movie’s storyline and the inclusion of an angel who acts like the stereotypical “gay best friend”. Parents who hold contemporary attitudes towards these issues will likely see the movie as a plus for gay representation in cinema. That said, anyone thinking of showing the movie to teens should be aware that there is plenty of discussion around sexual topics, including some extreme vulgarity from an ex-boyfriend. There is also a bedroom scene which involves passionate kissing and making out between two women clad in underwear.
Whatever your opinions on same sex marriages might be, that doesn’t alter the fact that this movie isn’t fun to watch. Both lead actresses are uninspiring. Nia Fairweather seems more stunned than conflicted and Adriana DeMeo barks most of her lines like a tense drill sergeant. Their relationship also has issues that make me question the “happily ever after” vibe. Gabby is bossy and makes decisions without consulting Jennifer, who prefers to retreat rather than engage. Perhaps she should take Azrael’s advice to heart, with emphasis on the final part: Love deeply, trust your heart, and be brave.Directed by Otoja Abit. Starring Chris Noth, Nia Fairweather, Ariana DeMeo. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release November 5, 2020. Updated November 11, 2020
Watch the trailer for A New York Christmas Wedding
A New York Christmas Wedding
Rating & Content Info
Why is A New York Christmas Wedding rated Not Rated? A New York Christmas Wedding is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A dog dies. A bicyclist is hit by a car (offscreen). A woman is hit by a car (offscreen); suicide is suggested. A teenager mentions punching a guy who tries to have sex with her.
Sexual Content: We see a teenager in her bra as she tries on clothes. A teenage boy and girl have a discussion about consenting to touching and kissing; they also talk about “doing it”. Two young women caress each other. A man and woman kiss passionately. A man is seen shirtless. A woman is shown from the back wearing her underwear and putting on her bra. A man discusses a woman’s “bottom half”. A man makes a coded reference to a threesome and sexual climax. A man suggests a woman watch sexual activity. A woman mentions having a teen pregnancy. A woman says that having sex with a man made her realize she was gay. Two women kiss and caress each other in bed; one climbs on top of the other. Women kiss frequently. There is mention of a stillborn child. Two teenage girls kiss after consent is given.
Profanity: There are approximately 18 uses of profanity in the movie, including three sexual expletives as well as terms of deity, scatological curses, anatomical expressions, and minor curse words. A racialized slur for lesbians is also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A woman pours alcohol into what is presumably eggnog. Main characters drink alcohol with dinner on a few occasions. People drink alcohol at a wedding. A main character brings a bottle of alcohol to bed: she appears to be intoxicated.
Page last updated November 11, 2020
A New York Christmas Wedding Parents' Guide
There is a significant debate in Christianity about same sex marriage. What do you believe about homosexuality and same sex marriage? Where do your opinions come from? Have you ever had a discussion with someone whose opinions differ from yours? What did you learn from them? Are there areas on which you agree?
Gabby tells Father Kelly, “We feel welcome. Not equal.” What do you think she means?
If you could go back in time and change your life would you do it? What would be the benefit? What experiences would you miss?
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Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic “what if” film. When George Bailey tries to kill himself, his guardian angel sends him into a world in which he had never been born. As George sees how much worse the world would be without him, he regains hope.
In The Family Man, Nicolas Cage plays a Wall Street executive who wakes up one morning in a suburban home with a wife and kids. He realizes that this is a chance to see the life he would have had had he not abandoned his girlfriend.