Bridegroom (Capsule Review)


by Ken B.

Bridegroom manages to escape the one pitfall that affects many social documentaries (a large amount of political soapboxes to stand on, tiring regardless of whether or not one agrees with it). No, Bridegroom is only here to present the facts. The sad facts. This 79 minute movie traces the lives of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, from their childhoods in two equally small, conservative Midwestern towns to their meeting and falling in love when they both move to California in the mid-2000s. While Crone’s family was happy and accepting, Bridegroom’s parents were mortified by the whole idea throughout the six year relationship.

Following a sudden accident, Bridegroom died in May 2011, aged 29. Because gay marriage was illegal during that time in the state, Crone had no legal rights to anything regarding his partner’s death and the events directly afterwards. To add insult to injury, he later caught word that he was not invited to the funeral, and Bridegroom’s relatives were planning an “attack” of some kind should he arrive. According to those who did attend the funeral, Crone, the most important person in the deceased’s life, was never mentioned or alluded to at any point during the event.

Bridegroom does well in conveying its events and message. While it is a little short, this can be partially attributed to the unsurprising revelation that the Bridegroom family refused to participate in the filmmaking process. (This can create a one-sided attitude as well, but at least it is the side that most people would be on, anyway.) All in all, this is a poignant, albeit imperfect documentary, displaying a personal story regarding the extension of equal rights to same-sex couples in America, something that I opine should have occurred a long time ago.

P.S. I was appalled to see that the MPAA ratings board has classified this title “R” for “some language”. The “language” referred to exceeds their PG-13 profanity limit by one count only, and there is little other material I, and apparently they, would consider offensive. This, indeed, is ridiculous. 

P.P.S. This movie was sparked from a 2012 YouTube video Shane Bitney Crone made on the first anniversary of Tom Bridegroom’s death. You can view it here:

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