Today I saw Newlyweds, starring Edward Burns and Caitlin Fitzgerald.
Full disclosure: I follow Edward Burns on Twitter and was actively watching/participating in the collaborative Tweets he sent out while scripting and shooting this film.
That said, even if I new nothing of his process, I'd still have walked away from this movie with a smile on my face.
Buzzy (Burns) and Katie (Fitzgerald) are newlyweds. They've both been married before and are determined to get it right this time.
They are close to Katie's sister Marsha (Marsha Dietlein) and her husband Max (Max Baker). Marsha is annoying in an older-sister kind of way; Max is clearly tired of being married to Marsha. It happens, you know.
When Buzzy's younger sister Linda (Kerry Bishé) arrives unexpectedly to stay with the couple until she finds permanent housing, their wedded bliss comes to a screeching halt.
Linda, to put it simply, is a handful. An immature, irresponsible, ungrateful handful. But Buzzy defends her to Katie and vice versa, and soon finds himself embroiled in drama (something he thought he was leaving behind when he married Katie).
As they navigate this storm of external influences, some of the ideals they had about their marriage (as told to us in earlier scenes) begin to dissolve.
We see first-hand how fragile relationships really are (not that we didn't know, but...) and how important it may be to define certain "agreements" when making a commitment as serious as marriage.
When you say that you'll tell each other everything, does that include things that you know will hurt your partner?
This is one of the questions the film asks of its characters and it seems like a good one to ask whomever you choose to spend your life with as well.
No union can be perfect, but serious damage can be done by family and friends—even those with good intentions. At the same time, no couple should have to isolate themselves from everyone to enjoy a healthy relationship.
Newlyweds is anchored by sharp dialog and well-developed characters who illustrate this point. Like Burns' other films, there isn't a lot of clutter to get in the way of telling a good old-fashioned story.
There's also an organic method in which the scenes are shot that allows us to feel as if we've just knocked on a friend's door after they've had a fight with their lover. We're there to observe and listen and react as they do in their most raw moments.
Isn't that what great filmmaking should make us feel?