Snap Judgments (exist) - 8

Tay Wiles | November 1, 2011 | Lifestyle Story Reviews Culture


(Luna Park Productions)
Why are half of all Americans who tie the knot doomed to divorce? And why, given that horror statistic, do 9 in 10 of us get married anyway? Employing both talking heads and a play-by-play of her own rocky marriage, Kate Schermerhorn takes a crack at these tough questions in her documentary After Happily Ever After, available on iTunes starting November 1. Because monogamy is extremely rare in the natural world, argues an evolutionary biologist, we may be trying to force “unnatural” relationships. A psychiatrist suggests that ten-year marriage contracts might be more realistic. As a listen-in on how Americans deal—or don’t deal—with their spouses, this documentary is an entertaining escapade. To plumb why Americans idealize marriage at all, Schermerhorn interviews a pair of nudists and a hilarious older couple in matching paisley outfits who can’t stop fawning over one another. The filmmaker’s personal story provides nice relief, but somehow it feels too staged and too honest at the same time. And, charms aside, After Happily’s camerawork seems unprofessional, even wobbly, and Schermerhorn doesn’t delve deeply enough to make the film work as breakthrough social commentary. C+


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