By: Addison WylieBridegroom Poster

Bridegroom is an expansion of a YouTube video titled It Could Happen To You.  The story documented in It Could Happen To You is powerful with how uplifting it is as well as to how unfair it all becomes.

Anyone who saw Shane Bitney Crone and Thomas Lee Bridegroom laughing together, holding hands, or embracing each other had proof that true love existed.  It gave people confidence that two levelheaded people could meet at random and hit things off phenomenally.  With pieces falling into place, Crone and Bridegroom soon became very serious during their six-year relationship.  They were absolutely perfect for each other.

Suddenly and shockingly, Bridegroom unintentionally had a fatal accident that sent Shane into shambles.  Tom’s family – who were never true supporters of their same sex partnership – reacted in a way emotionless androids would.  While abiding to their personal beliefs, the family’s actions against Shane were unspeakably disappointing and preposterous.

Just as Shane does in his highly popular YouTube video, his remarks and opinions towards Tom’s family and their decisions are never portrayed in a mean-spirited way.  Bridegroom isn’t a vehicle to unleash a ball of hate onto this unyielding family.  Shane instead takes the high road and uses both the video and this tender documentary to show how homophobia still lingers.  He has nothing else to do but displeasingly shake his head in shame and wish for a hopeful future.

Bridegroom offers a bit more information about Shane and Tom’s backstory that didn’t make it in It Could Happen To You.  A particular upsetting detail about Shane’s youthhood is his self-realization after watching scenes from Philadelphia.  Because he was different, he was convinced he was dying of AIDS.

Once It Could Happen To You found its stride through social networking and was gathering attention amongst media outlets, television writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason took to Kickstarter to raise money in order to develop this real life story of romance and heartbreak into a feature length doc.  By July 19, 2012, the production had reached its goal plus an additional $84, 000.

While watching this worthwhile documentary, I often found myself wondering where the Kickstarter money had been put towards to.  They may have had to rent equipment and cover the costs to clear some of the song selections.  Otherwise, it’s a fairly straightforward documentary with a bland presentation.  It doesn’t break outside the mould of an average slideshow presentation and the interviews – moderately lit and shot against a draping black sheet – look like a film student’s project who hasn’t yet perfected backlighting.  The YouTube video packs more of a visual punch than Bridegroom does.

What matters most, however, is how the story and the emotion translate to a longer duration.  Filmmaker Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has done a good job keeping the resonation in this retelling.  The new interviews from friends and family give movie goers a concise viewpoint from everyone who ever knew these two lovebirds.  And, Crone’s recounting still feels fresh and vulnerable.

If you haven’t seen It Could Happen To You, I highly suggest you do so.  It does everything this documentary does in an eighth of its time in more of an engaging way.

But, if you wish to hear Crone and Bridegroom’s history in one clean go with every detail provided, watching Bloodworth-Thomason’s Bridegroom would still be a wise move.  It’s commendably controlled in new hands and the filmmaker is courteous towards its subjects as well as its emotional story.

With this chronicling being available through VOD outlets and an upcoming DVD release, it’ll be sure to open eyes even wider.  Especially to those who were previously unaware of Crone and Bridegroom’s wonders and woes.

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