I Do and I Don't A History of Marriage in the Movies5stars



“I DO” Love this Book

By Jeanine Basinger
Alfred A. Knopf, $30.00, 399 pages

Unlike any other genre of film, the “marriage movie” connects with almost every adult audience member watching the screen. A personal relationship, or one witnessed between parents or close friends, can result in “happily ever after” or a break up or divorce … or even tragedy, and this is mirrored in film. We can all relate in some way.

In her book I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies, Jeanine Basinger, one of the film industry’s leading historians, examines the “marriage movie” and what these films tell us about movies in general and ourselves specifically. Basinger divides her book into three parts: The Silent Era, Defining the Marriage Movie in the Studio System and The Modern Era. She uses plain language to describe what the average person saw and heard at the movie theater during the above time periods. The author discusses stars, stories and business strategies, and how movies tell the marriage story.

Basinger doesn’t focus on psychoanalytical, sociological or philosophical theory. This is a book for people who like movies and want to join a deeper conversation about a fascinating topic. It quickly becomes clear that Basinger completed a tremendous amount of research to create and complete this book, and it is all the better for it. The only drawback is that, in discussing the movies, Basinger reveals entire plot lines. If you want to explore the meaning of the “marriage movie” genre (the good, the bad and the ugly), Basinger invites you to join the conversation.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin

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