My Love Affair With Marriage entered the International Narrative Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival.
‘My Love Affair with Marriage’ is as much an animated feature film as it is a lesson in biology and neurosciences. It is a film that educates and still manages to entertain. The film, written, directed, and animated by Signe Baumane, recently premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.
From an early age, songs and fairytales convinced Zelma that love would solve all her problems as long as she abided by societal expectations of how a girl should act. But as she grew older, something didn’t seem right with the concept of love. The more she tried to conform, the more her body resisted. It is a story about the acceptance of the inner female rebellion.
‘My Love Affair with Marriage’ is not your traditional animated coming-of-age feature.
While Zelma’s story takes center stage, the beats are broken up with scientific animations. They range from displaying how the brain fires off signals to how the human reproductive system functions. While this may not sound appealing to those who want to be entertained and not taught, I found these lessons provide some interesting clarities and lessons about the opposite sex.
The film also throws in some musical numbers that help keep the film upbeat throughout Zelma’s life lessons. While none of the songs are particularly memorable, they still assist in pushing the story through what otherwise could have been some heavily loaded territory: abuse, depression, gender identity, and more. In addition, Baumane sprinkles in plenty of humor and sarcasm that shows that extremely she’s self-aware about the semi-autobiographical material she is sharing. For example, we often see Zelma transform into a raging feline, swiping at the air with long claws to demonstrate the inner turmoil she is experiencing.
The characters are all displayed in hand-drawn animation. The backgrounds and props have sprinkled stop-motion elements that give the film a distinctive aesthetic. My Love Affair with Marriage’ isn’t a Pixar-caliber project with a team of hundreds of animators. Instead, Baumane animated the film herself along with Yajun Shi, who did the biological animations. This gives the character animations a crude look that I felt positively accentuated the personal story being told.
While I found many elements to be charming and informative, the film becomes a bit crowded and overlong. It runs around 107 minutes, and while there are much longer films, the sheer amount of content this film throws out between songs, brain animations, and biological demonstrations left me ready for the film to conclude before the credits rolled.
I give ‘My Love Affair with Marriage’ 3 out of 5 stars. The animation and life lessons do manage to charm and educate, but this comes with the caveat of a weighty experience.