Andrew And Jeremy Get Married

Andrew And Jeremy Get Married


Reviewed by: Steven Yates

This original and thought-provoking documentary falls somewhere between made-for-TV and a low-budget feature. The edited cut is a bit rough in places but do not assume this makes for poor quality, as the content is very compelling.

A roguish retired bus driver met a posh English professor in a gay bar in London's Earl's Court and five years later, director Don Boyd bookends their journey. Andrew and Jeremy appear to be the most unlikely couple but this is precisely what makes their story so engaging.

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Andrew Thomas is the retired bus driver from South London, a ruggedly handsome and charming character. He has, often with promiscuous complicity, taken a rough ride through life - cruising public washrooms, frequenting gay bars, drug addiction, crime, prison and rehabilitation - yet it shows clearly in this film that he is both tough and resolute.

By contrast, Jeremy Trafford is an older English professor who has all the cliched traits of a stereotypical gay man - cute, fussy, animated and full of spirit. He is clearly a person of refined upbringing, manners and tastes, including literary connections, dinner parties, poetry readings and picnics. Jeremy, therefore, struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, including a failed marriage (to a woman) and a misguided attempt to "free" himself of his tendencies.

Boyd is a director of some repute and is responsible for many controversial films and TV programmes. His career has included collaborations with the likes of Derek Jarman and is almost exclusively attracted to controversial subject matter. One of his executive producers Nick Fraser also concerns himself with taboo subjects for films and TV. By contrast, the other executive producer Charles Sturridge is known for more commercial fare - he wrote, directed and produced the 2005 remake of Lassie.

Moving the story back and forth from their homes in London and Brighton to more exotic locations like Palm Springs and Hollywood, Boyd takes us into the world of these endearing, often complex and sensitive men, so much that by the end of the film we feel we know them and care for their relationship. The documentary is also looking at love and relationships across the class divide, not to mention same sex romance and a 20-year age gap.

The most memorable scene in the film is when Andrew and Jeremy get married in London City Hall as a culmination of their five-year relationship. It is emotionally charged because gay marriages were an impossible phenomenon only a few years ago and because, through the film, we have travelled part of the journey with them.

One of the problems of shooting on digital is hours of footage that need to be pared back to a sensible length. In this case, Boyd had to condense 105 hours into less than two. Needing a structure, he used the story of their lives and finally decided on their wedding day as the film's natural core.

The commitment of the director is never in doubt. Assisted by his daughter, Boyd even filmed on Christmas Day so he could experience first-hand how Andrew and Jeremy celebrated with close friends and family.

There is a cameo appearance by the novelist Hanif Kureishi at a party, during which it emerges that Jeremy had been friends with Kureishi's father and was mainly responsible for stimulating the teenage Kureishi into starting to write.

Andrew And Jeremy Get Married is one of those films that plays at film festivals, has a very limited release in major cities and is premiered on TV before its DVD release. It is also a very enjoyable film depicting a way of life that will engage viewers from all backgrounds because of its warmth, charm and honesty. The controversial subject matter doesn't alter the fact that it oozes quaint Englishness. It is not a call for tolerance, or acceptance, more a celebration of natural self-expression.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2006
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Andrew And Jeremy Get Married packshot
Documentary of the life, loves and marriage of two oddly different gay men.

Director: Don Boyd

Writer: Don Boyd

Starring: Andrew Thomas, Jeremy Trafford, Hanif Kureishi

Year: 2004

Runtime: 75 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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