My Brother's Wedding

“Was lost, but now, I'm found”: Opening with a man singing “Amazing Grace” at a church service in Watts, My Brother's Wedding sets up an array of ironies. Thirty-year-old Pierce Mundy is emphatically not found, resentful of familiar roles but unable to create new ones, stuck in a love-hate relationship with his family and his community. Pierce rejects the upward mobility represented by his buppie brother Wendell and Wendell's fiancée Sonia-Sonia asks, “Is Pierce retarded?” “No, just ghettoized”-but the alternate path laid out by his best friend only leads to prison or worse. So here Pierce is, working at the family dry-cleaning business, which Burnett uses as a setting for revealing encounters with a range of wonderful supporting characters. Made on a tiny budget and never given a proper theatrical release, the film was reedited by Burnett in 2007 to bring it closer to his original intentions. This is a moving comedy about getting nowhere, an eloquently ambivalent portrayal of the ties that bind.

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