Marriage Material: A cheerful and dark short movie about finding love

For some of us, it’s something we have to think about for a while, for others, it’s been a childhood dream: Getting married to the love of your life. Having the most amazing wedding dress, a gorgeous ceremony and friends and family who are by your side during this big day. For Leah, getting married is something she wants but finding the right man is harder than it looks. Her journey to the perfect match is brought to the big screen in a humoristic, joyful but also dark short film by writer/director Oran Zegman (“The Last Parade”, “Rebel”)

After falling to impress a potential husband, Leah (Gwen Hollander) decides (there might be more pressure from her parents than she dares to admit) to go to a ‘late blooming bride retreat’ to find her ideal husband. She’s being welcomed by the most determined headmistress Yenta (Laura Gardner) who will turn Leah into the most perfect bride possible. After filling out a questionnaire about her life and preferences, Leah is being taught how to dance, how to dress like a woman and how to greet her future husband. However, the more time she spends there, the more it seems that she’s been stripped of her own identity and voice. Will she find the perfect lover for her (forced) marriage or isn’t she the marriage material everyone hopes she’s?

While watching this film, you might recognize some of the stereotype expectations women have to face when reaching a certain age. It might seem a very serious matter but Oran doesn’t present it in a somber and boring way. On the contrary. Leah her story is brought in a fun, humoristic and clever one.

First of all, it’s by using uplifting and rhythmic songs. While they’re brought cheerfully and happily, there’s also a darker tone them. Especially when you listen carefully to the lyrics. You will hear things like “Legs need to be waxed, looks matter and maybe you’re just too picky or too alpha”. These are words and sentences some of us are familiar with. The lyrics are so much more important and truthful then you might think.

The second reason why this film is such a joy to watch is the stunning performance of Hollander (“A Song for Jenny”, “Yelpers”). Right from the start, you see the funny and witty side of her, mostly when she sings that “marriage proposal” song. Throughout the movie, she will show you a whole range of emotions. From being happy to be confused and from being sad to being in love. We all get to feel the emotions of Leah thanks to the wonderful acting of Hollander. Opposite her, we see Gardner (“Abduction of Angie”, “Luber”) as the draconian and traditional headmistress. Gardner puts on a pleasing and fine performance,

What makes this movie so captivating is the real-life vibe created by the talented crew. They make it feel like this story could happen to anyone by using everyday colours, ordinary settings and no too harsh or abrupt transition in between scenes or special effects. Just fingers crossed none of us has to go through the same experience Leah has to go through.

Marriage material was already screened at AFI FEST and it would be not undeserved at all if that amount of festivals would increase. Oran made an eye-catching, vibrant and well-performed film that has a certain truth to it.

Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter


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