I began making the film that became Five Weddings & A Felony when I was 24 as a courtship strategy to win over a woman I felt unworthy of, with no idea what I was doing, hoping just the fact that I was doing it would impress her. It (the film) was abandoned several times as I fled relationships I was afraid to commit to, but I kept returning to it because the women in my life just seemed so screen-worthy to me, and I hoped the footage might illuminate the mystery of why such beautiful creatures would ever be attracted to me. It didn’t. It shall remain a mystery. But over the 4 years it took to finish it, the film came to represent for me my slow march toward adulthood – as if only a complete document of all my selfish behaviors and irrational fears would allow me to move beyond them.
Though the film is full of my own idiosyncrasies, it also reflects a trend among my generation (you may say I’m messed up, but I’m not the only one). Some researchers and psychologists want to codify a new life stage, between adolescence and adulthood, called “emerging adulthood,” because we twenty somethings are taking our sweet time getting to those milestones – financial independence, marriage, children – that our parents achieved at 23, 24, 25. Emerging adulthood is marked, according to a recent New York Times Magazines article, by “identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between and… a sense of possibilities.” And there are so many possibilities: for those of us whose parents are liberals from the 60′s – they encourage us to explore, find ourselves, try different relationships. Premarital sex and cohabitation are so widely accepted we don’t feel much pressure to get married. Even though the economy collapsed and we fear we’ll never have job stability, we know that the world is changing faster than it ever has before, which means more potential for exciting achievements (or, devastating failures).
At its heart, Five Weddings is a journey into modern courtship, with the unique intimacy afforded by the tiny Flip camera. Any woman who has ever been in the unfortunate situation of being attracted to a man-child like me will relate to it, as will all the guys out there who have ever been afraid of the idea of marriage and children. I know there’s plenty of you out there.