Bridegroom is an important documentary heaped in simplicity and tragedy. It’s a story of a young gay couple, Shane and Tom, who lived happily and found their lives thriving in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry. Shane’s parents are accepting of his sexual orientation, while Tom’s family lies within deep-seeded homophobia that dictates their way of living; after a horrific accident while photographing atop a building leads to Tom’s death, his parents refuse Shane’s attendance at Tom’s funeral. Where the film works is in its ability to portray this as a love story above all else; it is not so much a fight for gay rights (even if it potentially should be) as it is a story of people wanting to signify their love by law. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s direction is occasionally too journalistic in terms of its interviews and lack of commentary on her part; I wish she could’ve provided her own insight into the family members and taken away much of the musical score that dominates the film’s emotional cues. Nonetheless, the film remains vital viewing because of its subject matter; it’s not a particularly strong piece of filmmaking, but it’s a remarkably effective story.

Grade: ★★★ (out of 5)

Written by Eric Forthun