Review: ‘My Brother Is Getting Married’

An elusive comedy about the long-term consequences of adoption and the emotional vicissitudes of family, "My Brother Is Getting Married" doesn't achieve the union of social satire and reconciliatory drama to which it aspires. Fests may shack up, but more convenient relationships will be forged from tube sales.

An elusive comedy about the long-term consequences of adoption and the emotional vicissitudes of family, “My Brother Is Getting Married” doesn’t achieve the union of social satire and reconciliatory drama to which it aspires. Fests may shack up, but more convenient relationships will be forged from tube sales.

For reasons never made clear, Vietnamese adoptee Vinh (Quoc Dung Nguyen) announces to his Swiss family that he’s getting married to local girl Sarah (Michele Rohrbach). Unfortunately, he’s never gotten around to telling his biological mother, with whom he’s remained in contact, that foster dad Michel (Jean-Luc Bideau) and mum Claire (Aurore Clement) are long since divorced, or that siblings Jacques (Cyril Troley) and Catherine (Delphine Chuillot) are cool at best to one another. “This isn’t much of a family,” Catherine admits, with little apparent regret.

Nevertheless, they make an effort to pull together, welcoming Vinh’s mother (Man Thu) and gregarious uncle (Thanh An) with a combination of apprehension and bewilderment. “Vinh, are we Catholic?” asks Michel.

Their ineptitude as a nuclear unit extends to the gaudy reception and a family brawl in the kitchen, though they seem to patch things up during a last-reel, off-season excursion to the Zermatt ski resort.

Former documaker Jean-Stephane Bron frames the action through Jacques’ video interviews with the family, though the conceit gives no special dimension to proceedings. Comedy inherent in the family’s charade never reaches the level of inspiration, though a dinner sequence around a table with one faulty leg is crisply assembled. Overriding impression is that of a pretext without follow-through.

Cast seems oddly muted, and tech package is straightforward.

My Brother Is Getting Married

Switzerland-France

Production

A Box (Switzerland), Les Films Pelleas (France) presentation and production. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Philippe Martin, Thierry Spicher, Elena Tatti. Directed by Jean-Stephane Bron. Screenplay, Bron, Karine Sudan.

Crew

Camera (color), Matthieu Poirot-Delpech; editor, Sudan; music, Christian Garcia; art director, Rekha Musale; costume designer, Geraldine Orinovski; sound (Dolby SRD/Digital), Laurent Dreyer. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Another View), July 1, 2007. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Jean-Luc Bideau, Aurore Clement, Cyril Troley, Quoc Dung Nguyen, Delphine Chuillot, Man Thu, Thanh An. (French, English, German, Vietnamese dialogue.)
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