The Last Bridesmaid (2019)

I’m not a fan of movies about a perpetual bridesmaid, which usually revolve around a fusty singleton with a collection of ugly dresses in her closet. Thankfully, The Last Bridesmaid treats its main character with a little more respect even if it starts with Becca (Rachel Boston) making a self-pitying dig at her ninth go-around as a bridesmaid. The movie redeems itself though with a nuanced performance by Boston, who doesn’t often deliver such complexity. For once, she shows more than two emotions. Instead of vacillating between chipper and chipper but thoughtful, she embraces all of Becca’s feelings. I also like that the movie eventually shifts its focus from her status as a bridesmaid, i.e. pathetic singleton, to her career aspirations.

Everything looks to be the same when Becca’s cousin, Lucie, gets engaged and Becca has to serve as the maid of honor once again. The bride-to-be has even hired Kyle (Paul Campbell), the videographer who captured the last nuptials. This ceremony will be a little different though, and not just because it’s family. While Becca attends to all the pre-wedding preparations, she is also arranging to take over her parents’ insurance business. The transition has been long in the planning, but now that it’s about to happen, she finds herself second guessing the decision. Selling insurance, after all, doesn’t hold quite the allure as jewelry-making, the hobby she’s really passionate about.

The movie takes awhile to get deep into that dilemma, and for much of the time, it’s a story about Becca the bridesmaid. In between menu tastings, directing rehearsals, and dodging suggestions that she date the best man, she wrestles with this image of herself as a single yet hopeless romantic. Several friends and relatives take it upon themselves to comfort her by gently remarking that her time will come or that she should be up on the altar too. I find their pity, with its sad and pathetic undertones about the state of unmarriage, to be nauseating. Even Becca seems over it and ready to get back to helping Lucie.

That’s why the character and story shine when this bridesmaid business gets pushed to the side. Becca’s full personality comes out when she talks to Kyle. He pushes her to own up to her beliefs about love and marriage, since he takes a dim view of both, and encourages her to take a chance on her talent and give her jewelry business a shot. Their friendship challenges her in ways she’s not used to, helping her to find her own path that has nothing to do with whether she’s a bride or a bridesmaid. We’ll give Kyle, and Campbell’s sympathetic portrayal, some credit. I’m not sure how the superman documentarian/wedding photographer can handle the job on his own, but he knows how to rein in his ego and provide the gentle counsel Becca really needs. The movie turns on Boston though, and I’ve never been so impressed by her. She latches on to Becca’s steeliness and vulnerability and frustration and just never lets go. Becca’s progression from slightly sad single to woman who doesn’t have time for your judgment is a thing of beauty, and I wish we could see more of the same from Hallmark and Boston.

Released: 2019
Dir: Mark Jean
Writer: Nina Weinman
Cast: Rachel Boston, Paul Campbell, Jeremy Guilbaut, Stephanie Bennett, Brandi Alexander, Clayton James, Desiree Zurowski, Fred Henderson, Barry W. Levy, Christine Willes
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2020