Widowed after more than 40 years, Rose Randall meets a new man, Seymour, and they fall in love. Reaction of Rose’s children, including filmmaker Terri, is subject of “Daughter of the Bride,” latest in HBO’s occasional Family Video Diaries series.
Entire concept hinges on public’s anxiety to watch someone they’ve never heard of deal with personal problems, and of filmmakers being self-centered enough to believe that their lives are worthy of public scrutiny. “Daughter of the Bride” couldn’t be more self-centered; virtually entire emphasis is on Randall family (most of whom have trouble coming to terms with new circumstances, though all are adults and presumably long-removed from the nest).
Randall family members seem more concerned with what this means to them and their father’s memory than what it is bringing to their mother, though subject is eventually broached. While some solid facts might be useful — are more families having to face this situation than before? How many? and so on — Randall seems to think that her story is quite enough; let Rose’s new husband’s family make their own documentary.
That said, film is nicely made; colorful characters, middle-aged and older, might remind viewers of Paul Buchman’s family documentary-making on “Mad About You.”
Telling sequence shows Rose agonizing over whether to wear pearls her late husband gave her, which go with her wedding dress, or a gold necklace given her by Seymour.
Bridegroom-to-be suggests pearls even before he’s asked, though it’s not made clear if he’d feel so generous if future stepdaughter’s camera wasn’t in tight focus on his face at the time. Use of Sarah Vaughan’s recording of “Someone to Watch Over Me” is effective as Randalls come to realize that their mother’s happiness might be at least as important, in this case, as their own.
“I’m proud of my mother, for having the courage to start a new life,” Terri Randall finally states. “Seymour is not replacing my father; he’s my mother’s husband.”