Bridegroom, 2013, USA
Bridegroom is a documentary about Shane Bitney Crone and Thomas Lee Bridegroom. The two men were partners for six years when Tom died in a tragic accident. After Tom’s death, Shane was told by Tom’s family that he wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral.
The documentary heavily develops Shane and Tom’s relationship, and talks about the early lives of both men. We really get a chance to get to know them, and understand just how special their relationship was. While many will be familiar with the fact that Shane was not allowed to go to Tom’s funeral, it was something that wasn’t covered until quite late in the film. It may have been the reason the documentary was made, but I was happy that Tom and Shane’s love and their story was emphasized so heavily. It really gives the final injustice emotional weight.
Bridegroom is a warning – this sort of injustice could happen to any same sex couple who is not able to legally marry. In most of the United States, and in most countries around the world, same sex couples cannot marry, which is a terrible injustice. In this way, the film raises awareness of the immense significance of marriage, and why marriage equality is an important issue. Had Shane and Tom been able to marry, Shane would have had legal control of Tom’s estate, could have planned his funeral, and certainly would have been able to attend his funeral.
Originally, Shane and Tom’s story was told via a YouTube video that was uploaded on the first anniversary of Tom’s death. Bridegroom was funded through Kickstarter and remains the highest funded documentary funded through crowd-funding to date. At the end of the documentary, YouTube comments from the video were shown on-screen. Many of them spoke of how Shane and Tom’s story changed their mind regarding same-sex marriage. I hope that their story continues to change the minds of people who are prejudiced and homophobic, and help them to realize that love is love. How was Shane and Tom’s relationship any different from the relationship between a heterosexual couple? They both loved each other, they built a life together and they supported one another.
I loved Bridegroom. It broke my heart, but it’s an important and timely documentary. It is available on Netflix.