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Movie Review: “Bridegroom” A Heartbreaking Story Of True Love Lost

For anyone who thinks, “Why would getting married make a difference for gay couples?” This documentary is for you.  Inspired by the viral YouTube video posted by Shane Bitney Crone, director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women) takes a deeper look into the life of an unmarried gay couple and what happens when one of them dies after a tragic accident.

Shane and his partner, Tom Bridegroom, both grew up in small conservative towns.  While a vibrant Tom, from Indiana, was popular among his classmates, a quiet Shane was constantly bullied at his Montana high school. Tom’s parents would choose to ignore the thought of their son being gay, while on the other hand Shane’s parents accepted their son for who he was. Shane planned to head straight to Los Angeles after graduation, where the two would eventually meet.   Once they met, they became inseparable.  Tom and Shane were together for six years.  They were living together and were described by others as “the kind of couple that makes you believe in love.”  Tom had even given Shane a ring, but only wanted to get married when California legalized gay marriage. Sadly, in 2011, while taking pictures of a friend, Tom fell four stories to his death.  He was 29.

At this point, you are already broken hearted and can barely watch as Shane and their friends and family discuss his death.  But you are filled with sympathy and disgust when you hear about the lengths Tom’s family took to prevent Shane from attending the funeral or having anything to do with Tom after his death.  The two were not married, so Shane had no legal standing in the relationship. After his passing, it was as if Shane never existed in Tom’s life.

Tom’s parents never responded to a request from the filmmakers to take part in the documentary.  And with out their comments we are presented with a clearly one-sided story.  However, this film isn’t trying to bad mouth anyone or even trying to promote gay marriage. For the most part it is celebrating Tom’s life, and we are shown how he was loved by everyone he met.  Bloodworth-Thomason is able to send a message and prove a point by simply telling the audience what happened through personal interviews, photographs, and an abundant amount of video diaries Shane had made.

Though I was sobbing through most of the film, I did enjoy the documentary.  I like that I never felt like I was being forced to believe a certain way on the topic.  Not once during the movie does someone say “gay marriage needs to be legalized”.  It is through the struggles that Shane went through that we are able to see the after affect that the death of a partner has on you when you are not married.

Virgil Films will release BRIDEGROOM in theaters in Los Angeles on October 18.

Bridegroom Official Trailer HD

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