The 2012 Long Beach QFilm Festival, which takes place Sept. 14 through 16, ends with a bang of a celebration, — well, at least an I Do.
I Do is a multidimensional film that will bring tears to your eyes in the first few minutes and remind you what love is all about.
The film begins and ends with a credo of beliefs that morphs from wishful thinking to reflection and experience.
I do believe in fate. I do believe in family. I do believe in telling the truth and that your actions have consequences.
It’s a story about all of that: fate, family, consequences and, love.
Good news turns into tragedy when (screenwriter, producer and actor David W. Ross) Jack Edwards’ brother dies in an accident, leaving his widow pregnant with their first child. Seven years later, Jack has become the surrogate parent to his niece Tara, played by Jessica Brown, and his sister-in-law, (Alicia Witt) Mya’s rock of strength.
The plot soon takes a turn to the worse when Jack, an Englishman, has his visa extension denied, forcing him to marry his best friend, Ali, played by Jamie Lyn Sigler. Further complicating things is a new relationship that Jack forms with Spain-reared U.S. citizen Mano Alfaro, played by Maurice Compte.
Unlike many romantic dramas with similar themes, I Do is not predictable. Just when you assume that the storyline will take one avenue, Ross takes the audience on another path. I Do is certainly not another remake of The Object of My Affection, where the heterosexual woman falls for the gay character with which she is rearing a child.
In fact Jack, the protagonist, is not a sole journeyer in this story. Each character must undergo a growth process from carefree to delicate to resilient. Mya shows perhaps most apparent evolution in character. Her role starts out as cheerful, but after her husband the dies it becomes visually apparent that part of her soul has been stripped from her.
“I wish it was you!” she tells Jack at one point in the movie, referring to her husband’s death.
By the end Mya has garnered the source of independence and embraces a newfound spirit, which may be more complex than the one she possessed at the beginning of the story.
Perhaps the only weak point is in believing that Tara was as intuitive as Ross gave her lines to be. But then again, that observation may come from the same point of view as that of many adults who do not give enough credit to children.
I Do takes a humanistic look at the unfairness of marriage inequality in the United States, and the toll it takes on not just one relationship, but families, friends and society. Set in New York, where marriage for same-sex couples is legal, the film tackles the need for a federal law to do away with the Defense of Marriage Act.
As Patricia Belcher, who plays Immigration and Naturalization Service worker Gloria, put it:
Your relationship is not the problem here. The problem is you don’t have the same rights as a straight couple. Your marriage may look and feel the same, but it’s not.
Ross, best known for his work in the 2006 film Quinceañera, recently took some time to speak about the film and his journey as both a screenwriter and an actor.
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