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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Destination Wedding (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Cupid's dartFrank (Keanu Reeves) watches TV in his apartment while forcibly hocking phlegm. Lindsay (Winona Ryder) visibly breathes CO2 onto a house plant in hers telling it, “Don't die.” They encounter each other in line for a puddle jumper to San Luis Obispo, California, where—unknown to each—they've been invited to the same destination wedding. Frank is the estranged half-brother of Keith (Ted Dubost) the groom. Lindsay is the ex-fiancée of the same groom—he's being “big” to invite her and she to come. They're each carrying beaucoup baggage, but during the course of the festivities he will manage to clear her head of Keith and she will breathe romantic hope into Frank who'd been jaded by his mother's divorces.


loversWe've seen weddings in pictures from before they had sound. This one barely has sound, just from these two guests, but their running commentary as the week­end progresses speaks volumes about our modern institution of marriage that hetero­sexuals choose to ignore in favor of just living together, but the homo­sexuals fought to be included in it. To better under­stand the situation, it helps to know a smidgeon of American history. I'll quote Dr. Ide concerning marriage: “The Con­tem­por­ary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modest­inus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). It's not just the state, the civil authority, that determines issues, but religious authority has some say, too.

According to cultural historian David Hackett Fischer, the Puritans had “a cultural idea of marriage that was unique to the Puritan colonies. … The Puritans of New England rejected all the Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious but a civil contract” (77.) In the New England states where they settled—& NY & DC—the civil contract was the whole kit and caboodle, so once laws against sodomy were repealed it was a simple matter of equal rights to open (civil) marriage to homo­sexuals. The rest of the states by legislature or popular vote did not abide such a redefinition, but the courts stepped in to force their acceptance of same-sex marriage.

In 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the states' bans against same-sex marriage to be pseudo- unconsti­tutional—marriage isn't actually mentioned in the Constitution. I shall quote the “Catholic Sentinel”: (15)

The main opinion recognized in several places the role of religious beliefs in the questions surrounding same-sex marriage. Kennedy said toward the conclusion of his 28-page opinion that “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

The First Amendment ensures protection for religious organizations and individuals as they seek to teach the principles “that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths,” he continued, and to “their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”

The Christian churches will by and large not accept same-sex marriage, especially on biblical grounds, (Matt. 19:4-5) “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Jesus defines marriage as hetero­sexual and monogamous. It would not apply to a man “marrying” another man.

The “Destination Wedding” ceremony was officiated by one Levy Kaplan (Michael Mogull) who was neither a judge nor a minister, but Keith's friend from college. It's okay to have just some respected person do the honors. Lindsay did the research and found all that was needed was a credit card and an Inter­net connection. Levy him­self was a “pansexual,” being “attracted to all genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations.” That would include: “a man who believes he's a woman, and a straight woman who believes she's actually a gay man.” As far as Levy is concerned he would officiate at a wedding between those two and others, but the law has not (yet) gone beyond two homos and the church not even that.

Frank and Lindsay ended up maybe considering an ongoing love interest. That terminology could apply to any sexual orientation(s). Marriage in the traditional sense is just hetero­sexual, but in a legal sense also homo­sexual. Once one goes beyond the standard, traditional definition, things get really confusing, which defeats the purpose of having an instantly recognizable label.

Living together (i.e. shacking up) was not accepted by Jesus as being the same as marriage. (John 4:17-18) “The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” The state, however, is generally tolerant of cohabitation, some states—not my state—even recognizing common law marriage under certain conditions.

What makes a marriage legitimate in its religious sense is the witness of the community as it is formalized. That is intimated here by the setting named after a saint: San Luis Obispo, which was discussed by Frank and Lindsay. In ancient time the whole village was witness in a week-long ceremony. Now we have a smaller group representing the whole, here for the week­end focused on Frank who represents the family the bride is marrying into, and Lindsay another woman Keith is forsaking to marry his bride Anne (Dj Dallenbach.) In an ultimate sense the nuptial couple needs at minimum two formal witnesses both in the legal and religious realms—usually the same two—to represent the whole community, the whole church.

An added point comes over the TV at the beginning when we hear a man declaiming, “Why wouldn't we bring up the First Amendment? We have to stick to the Constitution. That is what made this country.” The First Amendment contains the establishment clause forbidding the federal government from establishing a religion, also now applied to the individual states. Since it is the minimum two witnesses who establish the religious grounds of the marriage, a couple cannot, say, get wed by a JP and use an official wallah or two at the courthouse as their witnesses. They are officers of the court, and the government cannot establish religion, though they could be used for the ordinary legalities in a civil union or a domestic partnership. (They know enough not to do this for marriages at the court­house; I'm just being thorough with what's in the movie.)

The two realms come together nicely when we hear of Lindsay suing Keith to recover her mother's $32,000 in deposits, for his having called off the wedding five weeks before the wedding date. They “reached a settlement.”

Production Values

The screenwriter and director of “” (2018) was Victor Levin. It stars Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. They were quite good at acting their parts as the movie unfolded. Nobody else had a speaking part, though we did catch voices off camera a few times.

MPAA rated it R for language throughout and sexual content. The settings were stationary and updated periodically. It was filmed on location at San Luis Obispo, California, USA. Beautiful scenery but not a lot of action except for one encounter. FYI the recommended response to a cougar (mountain lion) encounter is to back slowly away. Running can trigger its pursuit reflex.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

As a Christian I can see the disillusionment with life of the lead couple as a prelude to reaching out for Some­thing higher. The Good Lord provided them some human love, however imperfect, along the way. The picture is what it is: not necessarily every movie­goer's cup of tea but a good experimental venture.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scene. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A single suspenseful moment. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Catholic Sentinel.” July 3, 2015. Print.

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print, WEB.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homophobia and Heterosexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.