Going to a wedding in London sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Not when the bride-to-be is your much wealthier half-sister Eloise who’s always trying to fix things with her money but inevitably makes things worse. That’s Alice’s perspective. Of course, Alice isn’t an expert on relationships – familial or romantic. She’s having an affair with her (married) boss. Romance-wise, her brother Paul isn’t much better off. His longtime boyfriend is hinting at/begging for a threesome, and Paul feels pressured to give in. And Donna, the mother of the three siblings, is a widow but is still halfway in love with Eloise’s father, who cheated on her.
Grant Ginder’s novel The People We Hate at the Wedding, and its movie adaptation share the challenge of creating a story replete with primarily unsympathetic characters. The hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and judgments of one another are understandable, given their pasts, but understanding the why of things doesn’t make those things enjoyable to watch.
Admittedly, the book has an easier time because we’re able to get inside their minds and learn why they act the way they do. But, in the end, Eloise is out of touch, Alice is mean, and Donna plays the victim. Paul is the most likable in the book, but the movie doesn’t allow us to get to know him.
Overall, the book and the movie were accurate essays on the difficulties and sometimes pettiness that arise when people come together to celebrate a wedding. Old and new jealousies often rear their ugly heads. And being noble is more challenging in reality than in one’s mind, especially when drinking is involved!