Hollywood and Marriage

During a church wedding service, pastor/priest would usually ask the congregation to speak out if anyone has any reason why the couple cannot be lawfully married. As expected from usual weddings, or at least in the weddings that I have so far attended, there would be no response so that the pastor can quickly move onto vows and exchange of rings. So I wonder why the pastor need to ask that obvious question. Probably because in a typical Hollywood movie, someone ought to speak out when the pastor asks for objection.

They usually go like this. The heroine and our hero are deep in love, but somehow for some wacko reason they cannot get married. So our heroine decided that she might as well marry some other unworthy soul. They set out a date to get married inside a grand church building, and they usually get a marriage celebrant who would make the proceeding going very slowly (to buy some time for our hero). So when the celebrant called out to the congregation, asking for any objection to this marriage (with the bribe looking desperately towards the entrance), our hero will burst into the church, say that he really loves her, and how she should forsake that unfortunate groom to marry him instead. Then we see how our hero and heroine joyfully married, and live happily ever after. Well, sometimes it also involves having that unfortunate groom killed, if he happened to be the villain. But here we have this Hollywood movie script that is well tested.

However, what struck me today is the actual assumption behind this theme, and how it conflicts with other Hollywood movie themes. Regarding to marriage, we all think that Hollywood promotes faithlessness, affair and extramartial relationships. Surprisingly, the well tried Hollywood wedding script actually promotes the opposite - it promotes the idea of commitment in marriage.

How is that the case? The timing element of this Hollywood wedding script is important. If our hero did not arrive at the wedding on time, i.e. after the vows and exchange of rings, then he is considered too late. Yes. You are too late to change what has already taken place. The heroine is now legally married, but too bad the groom is not you, and you are not allowed to lure the bribe away from her new husband - because the essence of marriage is faithfulness and commitment. You will not be considered a good hero, if after the groom has kissed the bribe, you still shoot dead the groom and take her as your own wife. You don't see our hero taking his time thinking, "hey there is no need to be hurry. I'll just ask her to divorce if I cannot make to the church on time!" Once the vow is said and the deed is done - this marriage is for life, and no one can separate the husband and wife - even if you are the hero who had previously saved the world...

Hollywood is definitely preaching two different ideologies. On one hand, we see broken families all the time in movies. On another hand, we don't allow our heroes to break apart someone else's marriage. But that's Hollywood...