Tribeca Film Festival review: It’s easier to squirm than to understand ‘A Courtship’, but don’t be too quick to judge.

Courtship_Press_1 TribecaWe’ve all seen The Duggar Family on television. Courting is something that has a tendency to be labeled a bit kooky. No kissing, supervised “dates”, and approval needed from the head of the household (which is a man, of course). While this may seem like something right out of the dark ages, for a percentage of the population, this is an increasingly common practice in the conservative Christian faith. In Amy Kohn‘s film, A Courtship, we meet 33 year old Kelly. At 19, she was away at college when she found out her parents were getting a divorce. This caused Kelly much strife and ultimately she loses faith in the world. So Kelly moves to Michigan, becomes a devout Christian, and embarks on a journey of courtship, led by her “spiritual parents” Ron and Dawn Wright. Ron has a website called in which he shares his knowledge on courtship, selling books that help both children and parents, and even recommending a CD called How to Evaluate a Suitor. Even though Kelly had shared kisses as a teenager, since making the decision to find her husband via courting, she is saving her next first kiss for the alter. This is essentially the first rule of courting. Kissing is meant only for a husband and wife. Courtship_Press_2 TribecaRon and Dawn believe that God has called them to find Kelly a husband, which she is 110% on board with. Kelly moves in with The Wrights and Ron meets with potential young men who he thinks might be a good match for Kelly. While on Facebook, Kelly finds a young man named Ross. He lives the courtship lifestyle and truly believes that God has a plan for everything. During the course of Amy Kohn‘s year of filming, we watch Ross, Kelly, Dawn, and the rest of the Wright family interact. Kelly is girlishly hopeful that Ross is the one sent by God. On the flip side of the coin, Kelly’s actual parents, mother Linda and stepfather Bob, think that internet dating might be a better option for their daughter. They try as hard as they can to understand where Kelly is coming from. One of the most touching moments in the film comes when Bob tears up, telling Kelly that if she were to move back to Alabama near the family, he would be her advocate. It’s a beautiful foil, each family with their own faith and views on love and marriage.Courtship_Press_3 Tribeca Ultimately, after speaking with Kohn, I’ve decided that my gut reaction to this film was far too judgmental. I was certain that there was a hidden incident in Kelly’s young past, at college perhaps, that drove her to seek such extreme measures in love and faith. Amy doesn’t there is anything that she is holding back. She is lovely, passionate young woman, who wants nothing more than to be a good wife and mother. You easily fall in love with Kelly as you watch her journey. Who are we to say what is the right way to find who we’re meant to be with. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process, why should courtship be labeled any crazier than “swiping to the left” or getting a quickie divorce? A Courtship is an intriguing look into a lifestyle that may not be for everyone, but definitely works for some. We wish Kelly all the best and hope that she finds true love, sooner rather than later.

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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