In Yasmina’s Necklace, Sam (Abdul Samee Marcario Lopez Hassan) defies his parents’ wishes not only by changing his name to the much more American-sounding Sam but also by denying their attempts to arrange a marriage for him. Freshly off a divorce from an American woman, Sam is doubtful, not just of his parents’ matchmaking abilities, but also of his own to open up to love again. Of course, this is what leads us to the fateful meeting between Sam and Yasmina, envisioned by all but the intended couple as a meet-cute to warm them up to the idea of an arranged match.
Yasmina’s Necklace is not alone in depicting meddlesome yet endearing parents trying to match their kids up with the perfect partner. We look back on some of our favorite marriage stories involving intrusive, but ultimately well-meaning, parents.
Pride & Prejudice
How could you not include Jane Austen’s 1813 novel in a list about marriage? Of course, all of Austen’s novels had something to say about Edwardian England’s marital milieu, but Pride & Prejudice has especially found its way into our hearts (Colin Firth’s turn as Mr. Darcy in a 1995 adaptation didn’t hurt either).
The central concern of the Bennet family, made up of 6 daughters and their parents, is to find economically fortuitous marriage matches, hopefully one which includes at least a bit of emotional attachment. Elizabeth Bennet’s mother tries to fix her up with the outrageous Mr. Collins while Mr. Darcy’s aunt attempts to cement a match between him and her daughter. By denying these financially advantageous matches, Elizabeth and Darcy reject the partners their parents prefer to pursue their romantic feelings for each other. The novel ends with their decision to marry, something which would have delighted Elizabeth’s financially fledgling family but perhaps ostracized Darcy from his.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
This Chicago-set film was a sleeper hit upon its 2002 release. Combining clashing cultures with an endearing set of kooky characters, this romantic comedy touched the hearts of millions with its love-conquers-all message.
The story follows the trials and tribulations of Toula (Nia Vardalos) as she attempts to weave around her family’s traditions and concerns to marry the man of her dreams. Her mother and father are slow to accept her boyfriend-turned-fiancé Ian (John Corbett) because he is not the Greek man they had always intended for her. Eventually both sides of this scuffle soften; Toula gains an appreciation for her concerned, perhaps overprotective, but ultimately well-meaning family while they begin to accept Ian as one of their own.
The Big Sick
A surprise hit at 2017 summer cinemas, this other Chicago-based romantic comedy told the true-life story of how co-writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani met and fell in love. Emphasizing the ability to find brightness and love, even in the seemingly darkest of times, The Big Sick was a small movie that made a big impact this summer.
Caught between his own desires and those of his traditional Pakistani parents, Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) meets and romances grad student Emily. Clashing over differing imagined futures, Emily gets sick and is put into an induced coma. Kumail comes to acknowledge the depth of his feelings for Emily as he bonds with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) in the hospital waiting room. In the end, Kumail must confront his well-intentioned parents who are constantly inviting over potential brides, hoping for an arranged marriage; he wants to honor his family but he cannot deny his feelings towards Emily. The film equally weighs the importance of family and acceptance, and the true-to-life nature of the story gives the conclusion a special significance.