Doug Block started shooting wedding videos because it was a good opportunity to earn some extra dough. But as his filmography grew, so did his fascination with different couples and the dynamics he caught on camera.
The question that’s been rattling around in his head is: what happens years after the wedding and the honeymoon? Can these giddy newlyweds keep up their love once reality settles in and kids enter the picture?
The fact that Block has been able to get in touch with plenty of past couples he’s videotaped is admirable. What’s even greater is that his surprising doc is more than a one-trick pony its premise hints at.
Unlike a wedding, 112 Weddings lacks a glamorous presentation. The equipment Block uses isn’t as sharp as it could look, and the documentarian usually shoots the interviews indoors with clutter filling in the negative space around his slightly aged subjects. What he has done – perhaps unintentionally – is symbolize how his film takes viewers beyond the surface. The standard definition of the wedding videos mixed with the filmmaker’s modern widescreen footage suggest Block is showing us “the big picture” – metaphorically and literally.
Moviegoers can tell, however, that 112 Weddings has effort behind it. Block lets his camera roll and asks questions from behind it (ala Alan Zweig), but he’s able to always edit suitable cutaways and reactions that add more feeling to the testimonials.
Although an interview with Block’s first couple slows the pacing down a lot, you’re consistently riveted by 112 Weddings. The people who are still in relationships have very honest discussions about stress while maintaining happiness. These are people who aren’t afraid to tell their significant other that they’re frustrating and tiring. The other usually nods because they could say the same right back.
The doc isn’t a downer despite us usually waiting for the other shoe to drop when a story seems too good to be true. Being in the film acts as a cathartic experience for those involved, but 112 Weddings doesn’t present itself as a mishmash of therapy sessions. Block’s doc is funny, irresistible, and romantic with each explanation describing why the love still remains within selected couples. The talks with divorcees or confused lovers may not have the same advice other couples have, but their contributions are fervidly bittersweet in their own effective ways.
The filmmaker properly bookends his documentary with excited engaged couples ready to take the next step in their commitments to each other. The contrast between happy-go-lucky newlyweds and matured marriages doesn’t come off as cruel foreshadowing. Each interview finds a way to compliment the others. It all works marvellously for the most part.
Block also chimes in as a guiding voice; wording his opinion in a respectful way that doesn’t condescend his subjects or the truths he’s uncovered. If this wedding videographer ever decides to part ways from garter belts and reception parties and head into making other documentaries, he has the conceivable talent to do so.