on August 5, 2003
I tend to miss the very beginning and the end of this movie, nevertheless it's a good movie. I decided to browse the reviews on it to see if I'm truely missing out on a great ending. I was surprised to see a few reviews that were pointless. Critizing the setting and the background of the story as being unbelievable, threw me way off. Apparently, there's a few things that those reviewers should know in order to better appreciate this movie.
1. In the Midwest (Detroit is considered a part of the midwest)there are cities that are still segragated (for lack of a better word) to an extend based on ethnic background. People are born, live and die without ever living outside the 2 mile radius of their neighborehoods.
2. 5th-7th generation Polish-Americans tend not to have a distinct stereotypical cartoony accent.
3. People still hang their laundry out to dry. Where do you think "Downy" got 'Summer Breeze" from?
4. Ethnic movies like this one and " My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" are usually made by people of that ethnic background. There is a difference regarding poking fun at your own background, your ethnic background, racial stereotypes, and racial truths. Both of these movies seem to be poking fun at life in general from their observation. You have to be very small minded to think that any ethnic movie represents an entire race. If you felt that these movies are stereotypes, I suppose you might say the same thing about "The Joy Luck Club" or "Soul Food".
5. And lastly, why do I feel the need to make these points? I'm from the Midwest and I noticed the reviewers who made those un-supported critisms are from the Soutn and West coast and I'm guessing have never lived in the Midwest. Polish Wedding holds true to a realistic setting that I can compare to the Polish-American neighborhoods of Milwaukee, WI, from which I was born and raised.
on May 27, 2003
... and, in fact, I didn't even know the name until I came here and looked this movie up for reference to see its name. But, I watched it just last week on HBO, and I was absolutely riveted. I was flipping channels, and I ended up watching the entire thing standing up in my living room!
I have read the other reviews here, but I will say this movie captured my imagination and I found the portrayals by Lena Olin and Gabriel Byrne to be particularly stirring. Claire Danes was fine in a supporting role, but it was the tension and love between her parents which really moved me.
Perhaps my imagination was captured so readily because my family immigrated from Poland some 70 years ago, and I wanted to see this portrayal of Polish life and community. But what stayed with me was the breathless tension between Jadzia and her husband, the power this beautiful woman had over him, the confusion and strength in his silence, the seeming clumsiness of her values, their stumbling around their own lives and loves. There is something quite endearing about the wanton way in which they live and love.
It may not change the world, but this movie certainly transported me for an afternoon.
on April 6, 2002
This movie is definitely worth looking into very deeply.l missed the first twenty minutes of the film, but that which I did see kept me from changing the channel. There is a deeper meaning a great many morals to be learned from this movie. Most people condemn what they do not understand; that is why so many people gave this movie only a fair rating.
The movie is not supposed to be beautiful or charming. The characters in the story line were from a working class family with not so good upbringings( the 8 year old son was already addicted to smoking and the daughter was pregnant.)The mother and daughter both made mistakes, and they both knew right from wrong,(I hope.) Getting pregnant was a very horrify experience for the daughter and it was very emotional for the audience. It was hard not to want to go comfort Claire and get her help. (I think it would have been best for her to give the baby up for adoption so that people who really need and want children but can't should have a child, instead of someone who didn't want and really didn't need at this point in life to be pregnant.)This story is to show that life is not perfect. Even the happy ending left you feeling empty, hurt, bitter, and melancholy.
One scene I really liked and thought was very intersesting was the scene at the end where the mother was asking if anyone wanted pickles and the son tried to politely pass, but Gabriel Byrne frankly declared he hated pickles. The pickles represented her selfishness. Her husband had asked her before if she ever thought there was anything more important than herself. She only made pickles because she wanted them. This is symbolicly linked to her adulterous affair and how she realized she had been selfish when she looked around with an empty feeling at all the pickles in the closet. Her husband was very loving and all was reconciled between them.
CLaire Danes looked beautiful in this movie. It was ironic to see her portraying the virgin in the celebration and then when people learned of her pregnancy for the priest to almost strike her. It shows that so many people are hypocrites. This girl needed help, someone to guide her and love her. And then for a priest, a religious figure to reject and condemn her with such disdain as though he were pure and blameless. The scene reminded me very much of Hester Prynne's long walk through the unforgiving crowd in the Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne.It is also like Hawthorne's book because of the hypocrisy of the clergy and you can see Hester's determination and dignity in Claire Danes' eyes as she walks through the silent and dissapproving crowd that parts like the Red Sea, afraid to let her get near them for fear of her dirtying them with her sin.
I really like this movie, not because it makes me happy; but because it makes me think about life. Any one who feels they might want to watch something that would stretch their hearts or maybe bring them some maturity should watch this movie. It will make those of us who are sheltered learn about people's lives, about people who create their own misfortunes and deal with unfortunate circumstances.It will open your eyes.
on June 20, 1999
Maybe it is because I read so many bad reviews for this movie before I rented it, or maybe it's because I am engaged to a Polish woman, but I really enjoyed this film. Contrary to what the critics said about this movie, I thought it was a well made film. Claire Danes was fantastic, as were the other actors. The only thing that bothered me was the ending. That was just a little too much of Hollywood's emphasis on dramatic endings. I'm not sure I could agree with the claims that this movie is "hilariously funny" (Variety), but if you're in a good mood, you should chuckle on occasion and feel good after watching it. From my vantage point (an American observer of Polish tradition), I felt the movie did a good job depicting Polish ways and mannerisms. Of course, my fiancée begs to differ. Sometimes, however, it's difficult to recognise yourself on the big screen. At least that is what I would say to my sweet Polish princess.
on January 9, 2004
I love this movie, mainly because the city that it is set in, Hamtramck, is where my mother and grandparents were born. Being 3rd generation Polish-American in Detroit, I can really relate to this movie, Polish mothers tend to be the final word in the family, much like Lena Olin's character in the movie. Over all it's a very good movie, touching and funny, especially when Lena Olin and her four sons go after the boy who impregnated Hala (Claire Danes) with hockey sticks. It was very touching to see the church featured in the movie, St. Florian's, because it has long been an integral part of my family. A fantastic movie, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good movie that is NOT a "chick-flick" but one of those movies that makes you feel better about life in the long run.
on June 23, 1999
An interesting movie and well acted. A refreshingly different story-line. All of the actors did a good job making their characters credible. I wouldn't watch this movie again, but it was worth watching once. Don't expect too much and just sit back and enjoy. No FX. Just a look at an average (?) family, their trials and tribulations. The movie focuses on the young teenage daughter, but offers some insight into the Mother and Father and their personal struggles with everyday life, which is what this movie is about. It probably does not protray the Polish ethinic very well, but I don't think that is the point of this flick. An interesting, light hearted look into the boring, humdrum existence of family life.
on June 18, 2000
Perhaps it is not the greatest movie or story of all time but it is still a good film. I t is not a waste of two hours, on the contrary, it is a good way to spend your time.
There are weddings in this film, it is the whole poitnof the film. Weddings, children and families are always being discussed. The film called Polish Wedding because all the women in this Polish family get married because they are already pregnant.
And the music in this film is very charming. I love to listen to it.
This movie is not a waste of your time or money. Watch it with and open mind and without the conviction that this is a terrible movie and that you are going to hate it.
on February 27, 2002
I just have to laugh at some of you people that bash films like this one. This movie has a terrific heart at its center, and some of you cannot accept that. Lena Olin is, once again, awesome. Ms. Danes is also convincing in her Lolita type role (although she does represent an older version) that their church hilariously selects as the town virgin! Gabriel Byrne has never been funnier and at the same time there are some powerfully poigniant moments too. Relax, world. Movies like this one are not the enemy.
on August 12, 2000
This was really quite interesting and funny movie. Rich in Polish traditions and sometimes dark comedy, this movie was, if nothing else, entertaining.
A Michigan teen (Claire Daines) betrays her parents when she finds that she is pregnant. Her father, a quiet, almost depressed Gabriel Burn, and her mother, a very dramatic Lena Olin struggle in life and everyday problems.
It was good and very funny.
on June 22, 2001
Life is not ALWAYS funny, and neither was this movie, but I have to believe it was not meant to be. The characters and setting are rich and believable (isn't this what movies and books are about-- suspension of disbelief, and being taken to another time and place?).
No, I didn't sit there and laugh the whole time, but I did feel deep emotion throughout the movie. Anger, indignation, pride, empathy, amazement (Lena Olin's character is quite a wildwoman), joy, curiosity, sadness, pity, regret, hope... and the list goes on.
No, darlings, it's not a Jim Carrey brainless comedy, and it's not a Minnie Driver brainy comedy, either. It is a drama that is funny occasionally because life is funny occasionally. (Sometimes you either laugh or you cry, you know. This movie is an excellent example of that.)
And if that weren't enough, well then, what about watching it for Gabriel Byrne? He is compelling as the Polish, chain-smoking, flour-dusted baker-- husband to the dashing and determined Lena Olin and father to the fresh and curious Claire Danes. Byrne's performance is reason enough to watch this film. For one thing, his accent is absolutely perfect. The viewer is not reminded that this is an Irishman, because he plays the Pole through and through.
Though Olin's character seems to be running the show, one look at Byrne sitting on the steps blowing smoke into the sky and flashing his dark-fringed moody blues is enough to make you feel this man knows what's going on. He's no dummy. But he accepts the imperfections in his life because, well, life isn't perfect. Unlike most of us, he is finding contentment in a world that would leave most wanting. There are no cellphones, cable TV, or credit cards, no designer clothing, nothing trendy at all in this movie, yet the world of the characters is complete, and in turn, the story is focused on the people and what is truly important in their lives. SO different from many movies these days.
This is simply the story of a Polish family in Detroit who are trying in their own way to be who they are (some of them still trying to find out who they are). After seeing the story unfold before me, I felt like I had a taken a glimpse behind closed doors. I'd say that makes the movie effective, wouldn't you?
I would happily watch this movie again and again.