film note: Bridegroom

The ethical limits of selfies

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make distinctions between tragedies, and between works of art, when the the most valued ethical characteristic of our YouTube-era selves is boundless narcissism. In other words, getting yours and anyone else’s suffering noticed and attended to depends on how good one is at marketing. Young Shane Bitney Crone’s YouTube video, It Could Happen To You, had already proved his and the issue’s staying power. They had the eyeballs.

So it was with a mixture of distaste and yes, the requisite outrage that I watched this documentary about a young gay man who is denied access to his lover’s funeral by the parents. The film is divided up between talking heads testifying as to the closeness and adorableness of the couple and an endless sea of selfies and candids, the repetition and sameness of which constitutes a large part of how this film gets its job done.

Of course it’s an injustice. Of course if the couple had been able to get married then that final cruelty would have been impossible. Of course the homophobic parents are assholes and probably deserve whatever public shaming they’re getting because of this film.

Or do they? They lost a loved, too, and ignoring that is one of the moral choices we must refuse to face in order to make this film work. The film doesn’t allow that to be contemplated even for a second.

I also wonder if anyone would have given a shit if the young men had been fat, ugly nerds with cheap phones.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Bridegroom
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