out of Five
Running time: 75
Made-for-television documentary that remains watchable thanks to its two subjects, although perhaps not always for the right reasons.
Andrew and Jeremy Get Married came about after director Don Boyd (who made the little-seen My Kingdom) was introduced to the film’s subjects at a party thrown by novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureshi. The film was originally intended for the BBC’s Storyville slot, which probably means it’ll be on TV within 3 months or so.
At any rate, the current appetite for big-screen documentaries has resulted in the film being granted a theatrical release, although to be fair, the project has much more of a small-screen feel to it.
Examines Relationship Between Very Different Men
The film examines the relationship between 49 year old Andrew Thomas and 69 year old Jeremy Trafford. The two met in Brompton’s Club, a legendary gay bar in Earl’s Court, five years ago. Despite the twenty year age gap between them and their hugely different social backgrounds, the pair fell in love and the film tells their story as they prepare for their wedding in an intimate Town Hall ceremony.
The first half of the film is compelling precisely because the two men are so wildly different. Andrew is a retired bus driver who spent time in prison after becoming a junkie and a drug dealer. With his rugged blonde looks and his studied attitude, he’s vaguely reminiscent of John Lydon and he makes no secret of his heavily promiscuous background.
Meanwhile, Jeremy is an English professor (he apparently encouraged Kureshi’s early writing career) - he moves in literary circles and is from a wealthy background. His background includes a failed marriage and a misguided attempt to “cure” himself.
At this point in the film, as the wedding draws closer, you’re expecting to be provided with evidence of the strong bond of love between the two men. However, that never really happens - the two men take a trip to L.A. to visit another gay couple and the cracks in their own relationship begin to show: one of them, for example, is obviously less keen to be there than the other one.
Once back in England they bicker a lot and you’re left wondering whether they’re always like that or whether the pressures of the filming are getting to them. This, of course, is equally compelling.
Wedding Something Of A Non-Event
Ultimately, however, the result is that the wedding itself is something of an anti-climax - no-one really seems all that bothered about it. (Perhaps this isn’t so surprising in light of the fact that they only decided to get married five months into filming).
The film was shot on handheld video cameras, using natural light, so it frequently feels as if you’re watching an extended home movie. It does, however, have a good soundtrack, which employs different types of music to subtly distinguish each character and finds a brilliantly moving use for Aretha Franklin’s “Never Loved A Man”.
Andrew and Jeremy Get Married is much more about a specific relationship than it is about gay marriage per se, which feels like something of a wasted opportunity. That said, there is a fair amount of humour in the film and it’s worth seeing for the stories its two fascinating subjects have to tell.