The comedy Cake: A Wedding Story struck me as a very appropriate film to screen at the AFI Dallas festival. Any movie where the mother of the bride agrees that a small wedding is best, but considers a small wedding to mean 450 people, and cannot conceive of any setting other than the country club, gives many of us Southern-raised married women a jolt of recognition, nightmare flashbacks or gratitude and relief that our moms were the exception and not the rule when it came to wedding planning. One of my notes when watching this movie was "I am so glad we did ours [wedding] on our own." If nothing else, Cake: A Wedding Story certainly provides a compelling argument for an elopement: provided both parties know about it ahead of time, that is.
In a sweet opening scene, Felix and Juliet are at a museum admiring Juliet's favorite photos of classic movie-star couples when Felix decides to propose. He has a wonderful plan of elopement that Juliet is starting to weaken toward agreeing upon ... until we hear the Jaws theme and Juliet's mom descends upon them, and we know that all is in vain. Cut to the wedding, which is enormous and elaborate, and Juliet's realization that this is not what she wanted at all. She kicks her mom out of the dressing room, writes Felix a note, and escapes from the mega-wedding madness, entrusting the note to Felix's stoner friend. (Why she didn't call Felix on his cell phone I do not know, but that would have made for a much shorter film.) No one wants to give Felix the "note of doom" even after he finds out that Juliet has run off; what no one realizes is that the note is Juliet asking Felix to meet her at a coffeeshop so they can run away and elope together.