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Movie Review: “Coco and James”

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Gilbert Le’s short film “Coco and James” takes every girl’s dream of finding a good man who loves you and marrying him in a fairytale wedding at a French castle and condenses it into 18 minutes of film. The documentary, which was filmed early this summer, chronicles the wedding of 21-year-old supermodel Coco Rocha to British muralist and interior designer James Conran. Those who don’t have much interest in weddings may dismiss the documentary as trivial or insignificant, but in reality, the work is a little piece of heaven for anyone who enjoys a good love story or has an appreciation for cinematography.

A growing trend in weddings today is for brides to hire a director or videographer to film their big day, after which he or she makes a mini-movie from the footage. Coco Rocha is no exception. Rocha hired Le, who works for the Los Angeles based company Americana Cinema, to film her wedding. Le and his team have filmed countless weddings all over the world, but their coverage of the Conran wedding this summer really put them on the map. The film and respective teaser trailer weren’t intended for the masses, but that’s exactly what happened after Rocha praised the videos on her blog. Rocha said, “Once I saw these films I realized that though personal, they were too beautiful to keep to myself.” Now they’ve gone global.

Unlike the typical chick flick where viewers must endure cheesy lines and predictable plots before they get to the good stuff, “Coco and James” lasts only 18 minutes, so it gets right to the point. While chick flicks often have viewers (even hopeless romantics like me) rolling their eyes and doubting the believability of the story line, this film gets none of that because it’s a true story. And it’s perfect.

I didn’t know it was possible to combine so many elements that make me happy into such a short film. Not only is it a romance (and a short, to the point romance at that), the movie gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at a celebrity wedding. Sure, most people have never heard of Coco Rocha and might be more interested in watching a documentary about Heidi Klum’s wedding, but that’s what makes this film special. There aren’t any expectations for it. The film is shot so beautifully it’s like a piece of art. It just doesn’t fit categorized with all the other celebrity wedding specials or wedding shows out there.

I like it because it focuses on all the right details. It doesn’t dwell on the drama like an episode of Bridezillas. It’s classier than that. Nor does it boast its extravagance, mocking viewers with “Look how much they spent on their wedding” and “Look what you won’t ever be able to do,” like some wedding specials tend to do. Instead the images speak for themselves. Viewers can admire the breathtaking scenery without being hit over the head with it. They can see Coco’s mom crying or watch James put on his tie. The little details make this movie what it is. It was never supposed to be anything but a memento for the couple, so it unfolds like a professionally shot home video.

With romance, a fairytale wedding, celebrities, and British accents, there’s not much else this film could do to please me. But, this short film goes above and beyond and also delivers an excellent soundtrack. I don’t know how an 18-minute film can qualify for a discussion of its soundtrack, but somehow this one does. Most noteworthy is the song “Hallelujah” that plays as Coco and James read their vows. James’ words as the chilling song plays in the background still resonate in my mind: “When you laugh, I will laugh. When you cry, I will cry … I promise, Coco, that I will be faithful and I will love you forever.”

If you don’t have enough time to watch the film, the three-minute teaser trailer is worth mentioning. It’s a good summary of the film, and is executed just as beautifully. There is no dialogue in the trailer, just some powerful images from the film set to a beautiful, epic score like something you’d hear in a Lord of the Rings movie. I don’t know why but it reminds me of the Chanel perfume commercial Nicole Kidman did a few years back. The film includes interviews with the couple and audio from throughout the day that you won’t see in the trailer, so I suggest watching both.

The real, heartfelt moments caught on film give Coco and James a happy memento to commemorate one of the most special days in their lives, but also provide fans and other viewers with warm and fuzzy feelings about true love and real-life fairytales.

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