Marriage – considered a sacred bond between two people, committing to each other for the rest of their lives. Or in Rosa’s case, to herself. From writer-director Icaír Bollaín comes a bland comedy about self-love and self-fulfilment screened as part of the 2021 Moro Spanish Film Festival.
As the name of the film would suggest, Rosa’s Wedding centres on Rosa (played by Candela Peña), a middle-aged woman who, on the brink of turning 45, is fed up with her life. Rosa works tirelessly as a movie seamstress for little to no credit, in addition to being the default matriarch of her family due to the passing of her mother. Sent to fetch her brother’s children, take her father to his appointments, and attend meetings on behalf of her boyfriend, Rosa is constantly taken advantage of.
One night, after a particularly long and stressful day, Rosa comes home to find her father has decided to move in. Faced with the prospect of losing her last remaining bit of privacy to her father’s loud and incessant snoring, Rosa declares that enough is enough. Returning to her hometown by the coast for a fresh start, Rosa announces that she’s getting married, much to the shock of everyone who knows her. What they don’t know is that Rosa plans to marry herself. It’s a sweet, grandiose gesture designed for her to reconnect with herself and also to commit to finally putting herself first. And of course, it doesn’t go even remotely close to plan.
Much of the comedy in Rosa’s Wedding comes from misunderstandings and miscommunication. The family constantly talk over the top of each other, make plans without the knowledge of others, all the while assuming that Rosa will pick up the pieces. Rosa, being a more passive personality (read as: a total doormat), finds it difficult to voice her wants and needs to the people around her. Her family just accepts that this is her default, and expect her to always be available for them regardless of her schedule. She does herself no favours by always taking on the needs of others, so it’s a great feeling to see her so energised and liberated by her sea change. Peña is lovely to watch, and she really embodies the internal struggles of someone who has come to realise that they’ve let themselves be taken advantage of.
Rosa’s Wedding is not overly ambitious and is not trying to sell you on some grand agenda. It’s simply using the metaphor of marrying oneself to reiterate that at all stages of your life, your needs should always come first. But beyond this message, Peña’s acting and the beautiful Spanish scenery are the only worthy takeaways. There’s really not much else to this film.
The family dynamic, though realistic, is incredibly frustrating. And yes, one could argue that this is the point, but it makes it difficult to enjoy seeing them all come together when it counts after they’ve spent the better part of the film practically ignoring each other. Watching Rosa’s siblings and adult daughter criticise her choice to have a wedding for herself is so disappointing. I spent much of those scenes wishing I could scream “Shut up and get on board!!” without risking being escorted from the cinema.
This is not to say that Rosa’s Wedding is a bad film, because truthfully there’s nothing objectively bad about it. It’s one of those films that’s nice to watch once in a while, but likely won’t stand out in your memory as a piece of cinema you loved.
Rosa’s Wedding is part of the 2021 Moro Spanish Film Festival which will be in Melbourne until May 9.
For more information or for the dates of the movie schedule in your city, visit: https://www.spanishfilmfestival.com